When you think about training the core, what are the first exercises that spring to mind? Sit-ups? Planks? Russian Twists? These exercises can cause a normal person without regular bouts of back pain to suffer. Training the core is so important in resolving back pain, so in today’s article we’re going to be talking about the importance of the core, better exercises you can do, as well as common mistakes we make in the gym and why we make them.

How Does The Core Help Back Pain?

Your core muscles essentially form a corset around your midsection, to give stability to the lower back and protect your spine. A lot of people end up losing competence in their core muscles due to inactivity, this is affecting more and more people as we spend an increasing amount of time during the day sitting down and not being very active. If you have a habit of not sitting with good posture, your spine can deviate from its natural alignment as your ligaments stretch. Deviations in your spinal alignment, including problems such as scoliosis, can get worse over time because gravity is constantly pushing your weight down. The role of your core is to help your body to resist this, providing extra support to the area of the body that load bears the most. The lower back itself relies on a combination of its skeletal structure, which is why the structures are slightly bigger in the lower back than in the neck for example, and muscular support to function correctly. This is also why a lot of people feel comfortable using lumbar supports, because it sucks everything in and makes you feel more stable. However, these supports do the job that your core should be doing, and so should be avoided at all costs.

Common Mistakes People Make When Training The Core

As we mentioned previously, a lot of people think of crunches, russian twists and endless planking when it comes to training the core. However, if you have back pain then it’s likely you’ll find these exercises painful. If exercises are not enjoyable for you to do or cause you more pain, it’s quite likely you’ll lose the motivation to do them very quickly. The reason why these exercises are problematic for back pain is that they involve flexion based movements, meaning that you’re often in a slightly bent over position. Flexion movements put a lot of pressure on the lower back, which is something you’ll want to avoid if you’ve got an injury down there as it’s likely to make it a lot worse. Straight planks can also put a lot of strain on the spine, as when you’re challenging the core you can feel the pressure bearing down. So what exercises are better?

Join The Back In Shape Program

A full protocol to support you get out of back pain in the short term and then rehab safely and effectively to deal with the issue for the long term.

Functional Core Training For Back Pain

If you haven’t visited our membership area already, we have a step-by-step guide for relieving back pain. This involves some mistakes you might be making throughout the day at home, stretches you can do when you’re first addressing back pain to ease discomfort, as well as things you can do to relieve it. You can sign up for free at www.backinshapeapp.com, so do check this out if you’re looking for a simple guide to follow.

Exercises like crunches and russian twists aren’t movements we ordinarily do on a daily basis. There is a school of thought that function fitness is going to be more beneficial, as it is supportive of how you use your body in real life. Exercises instead like squats and lunges challenge multiple areas of the body, including the core, and are transferable exercises you can do on a daily basis to help you with those everyday tasks. While performing these exercises, you’ll be bracing the core to protect your spine, which can get you in the habit of doing this when you’re incorporating these movements in everyday life. A lot of people tend to bend over forwards at the waist in order to do things like load the dishwasher, pop some clothes in the washing machine, or put their socks or shoes on in the morning. Getting into the habit instead of squatting or lunging down to do these things enables you to preserve that natural curve in the lower back as you get closer to the ground. If you’ve never done these kinds of exercises before or your back pain is very painful, we do more so advise you go ahead and sign up to the membership area for free, to understand what order you should be doing things to help your back, as well as learning how to engage your core – this is a very simple technique but even some bodybuilders don’t learn it and so never challenge the deeper core muscles that protect your spine. If those muscles are more dynamic, they will be able to jump in to protect your spine if you were to slip on a curb or on ice for example.

We hope you’ve found today’s article helpful! The importance of strengthening your core in order to prevent back pain cannot be understated, so if you do have back pain do make sure to check out the membership area so you can get started with the stretches and exercises we recommend today. If you have any questions about this topic, or about your own case, do make sure to check out our live videos that we’re hosting every weekday during lockdown. During these videos we cover any requested topics from our audience and answer any questions you have during a Q&A. These we’re hosting on our YouTube and Facebook channels, so do make sure to check them out.

Contact Us.

Email Us


Call Us

0203 947 32 22

Clinic Address

4 Cavendish Square, London, W1g 0PG.