tips for avoiding back pain when weight lifting

3 Tips to Prevent Back Pain While Weight Lifting

Anybody who has experienced back pain knows how much it can affect your daily life. It can be particularly frustrating dealing with back pain when trying to work towards fitness goals.

If you’re dealing with post-exercise back pain, you’ll be relieved to know that there are steps you can take to both reduce existing pain, and prevent it from happening in the future. Here are some specific tips you can keep in mind to prevent back pain from exercise, as well as tips for choosing weight lifting belts.

1. Use the Valsalva manoeuvre

If you’re not familiar with this term, don’t be intimidated! This is a simple trick that anybody can utilize to strengthen their lifting technique. Basically, the Valsalva¬†manoeuvre is holding your breath to put pressure on and stabilise the spine.

Exhale during the lift, and inhale when you’re lowering the weight to the ground. If you experience dizziness or feel lightheaded using this manoeuvre, avoid using it or try using lighter weights.

2. Focus on strengthening the surrounding muscles

You want to be sure that you’re equalising the energy placed on the spine by targeting muscles such as the obliques, rectus and psoas muscles within the abdomen, transversus, and the paraspinals.

You can balance the force on the spinal cord by working the opposing muscles. This is important in many ways, but especially because you want to make sure everything is equalised while you are building up your core strength. Check out our article on ab training.

3. Avoid certain exercises if you have existing pain

If you suffer from back pain resulting from degenerative discs or another health issues, you want to avoid any weight lifting that increases the axial load, or weight in line with the spinal cord. So, avoid doing deadlifts with a lot of weight, any type of lunge that puts weight onto your shoulders, military presses, and seated leg presses.

It’s also wise to avoid supplementing your weight lifting with running, as all of that can be too much for the back. It’s important to listen to your body!


Surprisingly, weight lifting is actually a great activity for those who suffer from chronic back pain. Many people assume that lifting heavy weights will automatically strain them, but that’s not necessarily true.

Strengthening the muscles in your back and core with proper weight lifting techniques allows the spine to move the best possible way, reducing strain and promoting posture. If you want to keep your back and joints healthy, try and maintain a balanced, well-rounded weight-lifting programme.

Related: 7 Squat Mistakes That Are Slowly Destroying Your Body

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