Find smart fitness so you don't end up on the couch

The majority of people at some point in their life will have lower back pain. I’ve worked with dozens of people who have pushed through rigorous exercise programs, only to find that their lower back pain is forcing them to rest and rehab.

Instead of winding up with lower back pain, or other musculoskeletal injuries, it’s incredibly important to find a safe and effective fitness routine. All of our movement classes are programmed for core activation and smart movement to reduce the risk for lower back pain. We also have specialists on site who offer muscle and mobility testing to help you prehab before you have to rehab. The truth is that working out with tight, weak, and/or unstable muscles (and we all have them), will eventually lead to pain or injury if we aren’t careful.

Check out our movement classes here (we offer virtual classes in you don’t live in Raleigh, NC). In the meantime, if you’ve ever had issues with your lower back, avoid these six exercises below. The risk is greater than the reward.

6 Exercises to Avoid for Lower Back Pain


6 inches: This is a core exercise that puts a ton of pressure on your lower back. There are tons of variations of this one, so be mindful when it sneaks into a fitness class. If you feel your lower back arch away from the floor, this is a huge sign that this exercise is straining your lower back and not doing much for your core. You can modify by lifting your legs closer to the ceiling or bending your knees.


Squats below 90 degrees: When you are doing squats for a strength exercise, it’s best to keep your knees at 90 degrees and up. Dropping below 90 creates spinal flexion which mimics a seated position. It’s possible that your lower back is bothering you due to the way you are sitting, or how much you are sitting. Therefore, stay at 90 degrees or above to play it safe.


Crunches and sit-ups: These movements also create spinal flexion and can compress the spine. There are plenty of other awesome core exercises, so you should be fine ditching a basic crunch.


Forward fold: You don’t have to totally avoid forward folding, but if you are doing yoga daily with forward folds, this could be irritating your back. Be sure to take some days off and add in spinal extension exercises to strengthen your back.


Overhead presses: If your core isn’t activated on an overhead press, the stress goes right into the lower back. It’s crucial to do core warm-up exercises to get it “turned on,” so to speak, to ensure you are absorbing the weight in your whole torso. If your lower back is bothering you, skip this exercise for now.

Burpees: Oh, the burpee. I wrote about burpees in this other blog post "5 Reasons Your Workout Could Be Hurting You," but I’ll say it again. Burpees create too much risk for the lower back. Again, with tons and tons of other exercises, you should be fine skipping this one too. Do you feel like you’re doing the same exercises over and over again? Check out Tidal Movement- we like to shake things up.

Are you in need of core strengthening and exercises to get out of lower back pain? Contact us. We provide one on one sessions in this area of specialty. If it is outside of our scope of practice, we will refer you out.


  1. Linda Riggins on May 16, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Excellent info!
    The ongoing education is as beneficial as the classes.
    I just made 58 years…
    I want to increase my hope that it is not too late for me to understand and experience wellness.
    I have grown in confidence about moving my body and I like parts of my body on some days.

    • Brit Guerin on May 16, 2020 at 12:09 pm

      We are so glad that the education is just as helpful as the classes! We want to make sure people not only get a good workout, but also learn about the way their body moves and connect to it. You are doing a phenomenal job and we can’t wait to see you in class soon!