Many bodybuilders during their workouts feel the pain in their lower back. Some feel that pain results from a poor choice of exercises, while others simply get it for one reason or the other.

The question is, should you be working out with back pain? There is a way. All you have to do is change how you do some exercises or simply replace them with other exercises that will work the same muscle group without hurting your lower back.

Professional athletes that have ten or more years of experience at some point conclude that there are some exercises they will have to give up on due to the pain in certain joints and body parts.

You can often hear them saying how they have to give up on rowing exercises in a bent position due to the pain in the lower back or bench press due to the pain in the shoulders.

There are some changes that you can implement in your workout to avoid pain during certain exercises. We will tell you about a few tricks that might help you continue doing your favorite exercises without the pain.

bodybuilder holding his hand on lower back that is in pain

Tips To Help You Avoid The Pain

What you should do to minimize or completely avoid the pain in your exercises is to implement small changes that might seem insignificant to you at first, but you will realize how helpful they really are once you try them.

For example, when you are doing squats, all you need to do is stop looking up for the pain to go away.

If you are looking up, then you are increasing the arch that the lower part of your back is making while all the weights transfer to the part of the ribs that are not supposed to be exposed to that kind of weight.

It is much better than you are looking down; this can help you transfer the weight to an adequate part of the spine. Also, do not do the exercise called twist (twisting the upper body to the side) nor use the machines for the torso because that will expose the discs between ribs to too big of pressure and that will weaken the outer wall of the disc and doing so it will cause pain.

If you are still feeling the pain even after trying this, try with frontal squats. If not, even this helps try the machine for back squats.

Does this elimination process sound familiar to you? If all of these options are out of the question and not helpful at all, it is time that you rest from squats between four and six weeks and then try again, but this time with lower weights.

Maybe all you need to do is to let the inflammation heal. If you already have back problems, maybe you should swap the squats for leg press at the angle of 45 degrees.

Make sure you do not raise the knees too close to your body. You do not want the pelvis to lift from the seat since that can expose your lower back to additional pressure.

Don’t do vertical leg press if you are experiencing lower back pain since it can induce or make worse back pain.

If you like rowing with a bent back, try doing in, so you pull the bar towards the lower belly instead of towards the chest since that will help you minimize the pain you are feeling in the lower back.

However, while rowing with the bar, it is much harder controlling its position, so this exercise is very often eliminated from the workout program.

Many people much better control rowing with the rope, though if you want to do this, you need to lower the weight, so you don’t repeatedly put pressure on your back with too heavy weights.

If none of these machines work for you and you still keep experiencing pain, try rowing with dumbbells. We would always recommend dumbbells rather than machines, but this is one situation where machines might actually be better for you.

If you keep changing the grip’s width while doing pull-downs, your workouts will be much more diverse if you also use dumbbells and rowing machines.

In case you can no longer do squats, rowing, or deadlift, maybe you can still do lateral extensions. The machine for lateral extensions is usually at an angle of 45 degrees.

Lift the upper body all the way until your spine is straightened but do not bend. If you can do this exercise without experiencing any pain, you can still train your back muscles and gluteus quite well.

However, if this exercise makes you feel uncomfortable, you need to try using some other machine. Most of the gyms have several different machines for your lower back workout.

You need to remember that you need to have strong back muscles and strong abdominal muscles to protect your spine.


These are just a few tips that can help you avoid back pain while doing your workouts. In case you try all the tips we gave you, and the pain is still there, you should consider completely excluding those exercises from your workout program or simply taking a short break from them until the inflammation calms down.

If the pain persists, then the problem is much bigger than a bad position during the exercises, and you should go and see the specialist.