Exercising with a Lower Back Injury

There follow a list of exercises that will be of benefit to a GENERAL lower back injury. Each links to a full description. These should be completed daily and should not cause pain or discomfort. Please note the exercises are general in nature and you may need specific prescription based on your unique injury.

Treatment:

Prevention of Recurrence:

The Range of Motion Pre- and Post- Exercise Routine is a seven step model with specific movement preparation, movement therapy (individualised fault eradication) and recovery. You can find this resource here.

Range of Motion Movement Therapy identifies faults with common movements, determines the underlying musculo-skeletal issues causing these faults and corrects them. Movement Therapy works to release restricting structures (primarily through PNF) and activate inhibited structures to solve any musculo-skeletal imbalance which causes lack of technique and efficiency.

Specific to the lower back, therapy for movement (specific to your faulty movement patterns) will involve some or all of the following:

Injury alternatives allow you to maintain the required stimulus of a movement without aggravating the injury. The best alternatives are at the top of the list. Work your way down the list to find the first alternative that doesn't cause aggravation. Movements are listed in alphabetical order.

Air Squat

  • Walking lunge.
  • Partial depth air squat (no loss of neutral).
  • Step up.
  • Backward walking sled drag.

Back Squat

  • Box squat.
  • Front Squat.
  • Back rack walking lunge.
  • Backward walking sled drag.

Bench Press

  • No change

Box Jump

  • Low box jump.
  • Vertical leap.
  • Broad jump.
  • Kettlebell swing.
  • Air squat.
  • See options for air squat.

Burpee

  • Step up and down burpees.
  • Step up and down burpees with no jump.
  • Step up and down burpees with no jump or push-up.
  • Wall ball.
  • See options for wall ball.

Clean

  • Power clean into front squat.
  • Hang clean (squat).
  • Hang clean (squat) from power position)
  • Power clean.
  • Hang power clean.
  • Hang power clean from power position.
  • High box jump.
  • See options for box jump.

Clean (squat) and Jerk

  • See options for clean and options for jerk.

Cycling

  • Cycling with more upright torso.

Deadlift

  • Deadlifts off pins/blocks (as low as possible without pain).
  • Good mornings.
  • Forwards heavy walking sled drag.
  • Eccentric hamstring lower.
  • Gluteal bridge.

Dip

  • No change.

Double-under/skipping

  • No change.

Front Squat

  • Front rack walking lunge.
  • Weighted step up.
  • Backward heavy walking sled drag.

HSPU

  • Strict HSPU.
  • Strict press.
  • Seated strict press.
  • Push-up.

Kettlebell Swing

  • Russian swing.
  • Jumping good morning.
  • Box jump.
  • Forwards heavy walking sled drag.
  • Gluteal bridge.

Lunge

  • Partial depth lunge.
  • Single leg step-up.

Muscle-up

  • No change.

Overhead Squat

  • Overhead walking lunge.
  • Overhead step-up.
  • Front squat.
  • See options for front squat.

Pistol

  • Single leg sit to stand.
  • Walking lunge.
  • See options for lunge.

Power Clean

  • Hang power clean.
  • Hang power clean from power position.
  • Deadlift.
  • See options for deadlift.

Power Clean and Jerk

  • See options for power clean and options for shoulder to overhead.

Power Snatch

  • Hang power snatch.
  • Hang power snatch from power position.
  • Power clean.
  • See options for power clean. 

Pull-up

  • Strict pull-up.

Push-up

  • No change.

Ring Row

  • No change.

Rope Climb

  • No change.

Rowing

  • Rowing with shorter seat slide.
  • Rowing with arms only.

Running

  • No change

Shoulder to Overhead

  • Push-jerk.
  • Push-press.
  • Strict press.
  • Seated strict press.
  • Bench press.

Sit-up

  • Bridge/plank.

Snatch

  • Power snatch into overhead squat.
  • Hang snatch (squat).
  • Hang snatch (squat) from power position
  • Power snatch.
  • Hang power snatch.
  • Hang power snatch from power position.
  • High box jump.
  • See options for box jump.

Swimming

  • Pull buoy.

Turkish Get-up

  • Avoid is aggravates or do non-aggravating part only.

Thruster

  • See options for front squat and options for shoulder to overhead.

Toes to Bar

  • Bridge/plank.

Wall Ball

  • See options for front squat and options for shoulder to overhead.
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Dan Williams's picture

Dan Williams

Dan Williams is the Founder and Director of Range of Motion. He is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Exercise Scientist with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science. Dan is a CrossFit Coach (at CF Games Level) and four time CrossFit Regionals Athlete.