If you have ever felt any pain in your lower back while doing ab workouts, you are not alone. Many people experience this, and it can be very frustrating. It is important to understand why your back hurts when you do ab workouts so that you can find a solution that will keep your back healthy and happy.
A body requires a steady diet and exercise to be healthy. One of the exercises to consider is abdominal workouts. These workouts help strengthen the muscle around the spine and enhance body posture.
However, one might wonder why your back hurts when you do ab workouts. Experiencing this pain means there is a problem within the back part of the body. In fact, it is a warning sign.
That way, knowing the causes of the issue is necessary for the sake of good health. Continue reading to learn the reasons why.
The Role of Abdominal Wall
Before doing any abdominal exercises, understanding the role of the abdominal wall is very important. Typically, the abdominal wall helps prevent spinal extension. When strong enough, the pelvis tends to be pulled into a proper position. This helps avoid an anterior pelvic tilt.
For some people, anterior pelvic tilt can be visible during daily movements.
If a person cannot assume great alignment regularly, it becomes impossible to challenge their abdominal wall with the plank. This is because it makes them feel tremendous tension on their lumbar spine.
At times, people fail to tilt their pelvis forward. However, in the case of weak abdominals, the spinal alignment finds another alternative to compensate. When this happens, the outcomes are an over-emphasized arm in the lumbar spine.
4 Reasons Abdominal Exercises Cause Back Pain
Abdominal workouts are meant to benefit the body. However, at times, these workouts can cause back pain. Typically, back pain occurs due to developing hypermobile segments in the lumbar spine.
Nevertheless, what exactly causes hypermobility?
Ab Exercise Is Re-Injuring the Back
Abs workouts like planks, sit-ups, or leg lifts hurt the back if they do not enhance joint stability. Having a painful back means a problem, and please do not overlook and continue with the workout.
Back pains are a result of hypermobile segments development in the lumbar spine. Typically, hypermobility means the joints are moving super-fast.
In addition, increased motion can be associated with a lack of muscle and ligamentous stability. This leads to shearing of the spinal joints that can lead to a chronic re-injury cycle.
Where there is a repetitive re-injury, the outcomes are wear and tear of the spinal segments. These workouts have benefits on the body, but in this case, they are not.
Typically, tightness around the hips or the thoracic spine can hinder the lower back. For example, having short hamstring biceps femoris leads to a lot of struggle in performing a leg raise without excessive lumbar spine movement.
Having low thoracic spine mobility is quite challenging. This is because the lumbar spine might assume an over-emphasized arc to make up for the poor positioning of the upper back.
The Exercise is Too Tough
Ab workout is not simple. When doing it, feeling the tension in the lower back is common. Nevertheless, when done correctly and still experiencing pain, the chances of progressing too quickly are high.
In this case, it is helpful to hold the plank for too long or perform fewer leg raises repetitions. For the leg raises to suit capacity, consider altering the technique. The best way to depressurize the lower back is by assuming a slight bend in the knees.
Having strong and flexible muscles can also boost your strength and fitness in general.
Are you experiencing back pain or weak pelvic muscles? Start training with these best gym equipment for core strength.
A Poorly Structured Lifting Regime
Poor workout regimes, unlimited resources, and highly qualified gym staff should be a one-time thing in the online trainers’ world. However, many gym-goers still neglect the most important lifts.
Typically, enhancing the simple movement patterns like hinging actions, squats, and loaded carries need to be the foundation of any lifting program. This guarantees correct muscular balance, and when the alignment is back, back pain happens to be inevitable.
How to Stop Back Pain
Before initiating a fitness program, it is advisable to visit a physician. This helps understand your back history. The decision to progress with ab workouts is dependent on the physician. The following measures help reduce or stop bark pain resulting from abdominal activities.
Differentiate between Pain and Tension
When the lower back feels a sharp and shooting pain, stopping the exercises once may be a perfect solution. The pain might be a sign of injury or not. Typically, a dull pain takes place in the musculature surrounding the lumbar spine.
Even though this is acceptable, nobody wants to have the pain too big. This mainly happens when you do not feel the challenge of the workouts on the abdominals. After the first ab workout, break reps into two significant sets and modify them based on your capabilities.
The Leg Raise
Lowering the repetition range of leg raises is crucial if they cause the lower back to hurt. Beginners can start with three starts of six repetitions. Otherwise, one can opt for an eccentric leg raise that is a modified version.
This version involves keeping the shoulder blades off the ground to guarantee lumbar spine stability. Here, consider keeping the knees on the way up while the legs straighten on the way down.
During this drill, many people feel more challenged on the abdominals. If they keep their legs straight throughout the exercise, the thighs burn before the abs. After all, it is necessary to practice this eccentric leg raise. However, the shoulder blades and the back of the head should be against the ground. Doing this challenges the abdominals to correctly align the lumbar spine.
Watch below how to perform eccentric leg raises.
Experiencing deep pain in the lower back indicates a problem when performing the plank. Identifying the problem can be done by having a partner take a photo of the plank from the side.
You can limit the time to practice the exercise if the correct position is not a big deal. Practicing plank for 30 seconds without back means a good starting point.
Thus, if you can manage that, it is possible to practice three sets of 30 seconds, two of them a week and four weeks before progressing.
At times, you may feel pain during the exercise. In this case, practice the plank with arms on a higher platform like a bench. Afterward, you can progress with the plank workout.
Following the technique correctly guarantees no back pain again.
As time passes, it becomes possible to perform the plank with arms on the ground for a long time of like one minute. Professional fitness service providers find it impossible to practice the plank for above one minute.
To strengthen the abdominals, consider the EnterSports Ab Roller and Wheel Kit.
5 Abs Exercises That Will Not Hurt Your Back
Reactivating an old injury or causing a new one is something nobody wishes for. One of the right ways to prevent lower back pain is core training. However, it has to be done correctly.
The truth is that abs exercise places stress on the lower back and the spine. For example, crunches and sit-ups activate the hip flexors, and a person with lower back pain has tight hip flexors.
Therefore, sit-ups and crunches are not recommended whenever you have lower back problems. In case of a history of lower back pain, some of the safe abs exercises to consider are as follows.
The Bird Dog
This exercise effectively targets the ab and core muscles without placing excess strain on the back. To do this exercise:
- Position the hand and knees with the shoulder width apart.
- Afterward, lift one arm off the floor while at the same time lifting the opposite arm out in front.
- It is advisable to hold the arm and leg as straight as possible for the body to form a straight line.
- Maintain the position for around ten seconds and slowly return it to the starting position.
- Lastly, alternate the leg and arms used initially and repeat the session.
To do a bird dog for beginners, check out this YouTube video.
Planks strengthen the abs and muscles in the core, whose role is to support the spine. When done excellently, the spine is in a neutral position. These exercises help stabilize the muscles in the back part of the body.
Doing planks on regular basis help prevent future lower back pain. Nevertheless, when pain results in the process, it is advisable to stop doing it immediately. Performing planks incorrectly can cause back pains.
For example, arching the lower or mid-back can result in this. A person who has a history of lower back pain cannot take form for granted.
The role of front planks is to work on the muscles in the front and back of the pelvis. Otherwise, the side planks target the obliques. This is done by holding the position as long as possible without letting the hips to sag.
Front and side planks are safe for the back, provided done correctly. When firmly done, obliques help stabilize the pelvis and spine.
These are abdominal exercises that target abs and core muscles without putting strain on the back. To do this exercise:
- Lie on a workout mat with the heels flat on the floor while the knees bent.
- Then, raise the hips upward while squeezing the buttocks together. Stopping only occurs when the hips, knees, and shoulders are straight.
- Hold the position isometrically for about 10 seconds and slowly return to the beginning position.
- Finally, repeat this 10 to 15 times carefully to arch the back while doing this movement.
For more bridge workouts, watch them below.
- The role of these exercises is strengthening the abdominal muscles and stabilizing the core muscles without straining the lower back. To do this work out:
- Lie on an exercise mat with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor. Pushing the back against the mat.
- Tighten the abdominal muscles by tilting the pelvis upward and holding it for 10 seconds. It is advisable to repeat this ten to fifteen times.
Watch how to a pelvic while sitting.
Knees to Chest
Instead of leg raises, consider the knee to chest as the best abdominal workouts. Performing it requires lying on a mat with the knees bent while firmly planting the two feet on the floor.
After, slowly raise one knee toward the chest while keeping the other leg in place. For better results, hold this position for 30 seconds.
Also, the lower back should be kept flat against the floor in the entire movement.
Ab Workouts to Avoid Lower Back Pain
There are some abs workouts to avoid when suffering from lower back pain. They include those that primarily target the hip flexors. Typically, pulling on the hip muscles strains the spine and lower back.
A sit-up is one of the worst exercises to do while having lower back pain. In addition, it is necessary to avoid crunches as they aggravate lower back pain by involving spinal flexion. If the back pain is severe, avoid all workouts involving twisting the waist and spine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my back hurt when I do ab workouts?
The main reason for back pain during abs workouts is the wrong posture and the overuse of back muscles. To avoid this, it is always recommended that you try to concentrate on your core and not just focus on doing crunches. This way, you will make your back muscles stronger and avoid any kind of injury.
How can I work out my abs without hurting my back?
The best way to avoid hurting your back during abs workouts is to concentrate on your core and not overuse back muscles. You should also try to do proper breathing while doing the workout so that you will be able to focus on your core and make it stronger.
How long should abs workout be?
Well, it all depends on your purpose. If you seek to get a flat stomach, you should work out for at least 1 hour a day. This is more than enough to get the results that you desire. Taking more time will not help in any way, and hence, it is better to do this workout for 1 hour and concentrate on the exercise and not on the time.
Do squats work abs?
Yes. Squats are one of the best exercises that can be done to get a flat stomach. This is because it helps in making your core muscles stronger and firmer. Squats also help burn unwanted fat, which is another good reason to include them in your abs workout plan.
Is it better to do abs workouts in the morning or night?
It is always better to do abs workout in the morning. This is because when you do it in the morning, your body will burn fatter throughout the day, and you will get a flat stomach faster. In addition to this, it is also beneficial to do abs workout in the morning as it helps in increasing your metabolism rate. However, there is no harm in doing night abs exercises.
This article highlights all reasons your back hurts when you do ab workouts. Besides, it outlined some of the best exercises you can do to prevent back pain. Even though stopping a workout might be the right solution to consider, quitting is only advocated when the pain becomes severe.
The lower spine is made up of vertebrae bones attached to one another with disk-shaped cushions called “intervertebral disks.” These are the ones that are responsible for supporting the weight of your upper body. However, if these disks bulge or herniate because of too much pressure, it could result in lower back pain during an ab workout.
It is important to maintain proper form when doing any exercise that involves the core. This includes exercises that target the abs, including crunches, planks, and sit-ups. Proper form is key to preventing injury.