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Disease & Conditions >>> Back Pain Articles & News

Beware Of This Exercise That Destroys Your Lower Back

By: Matt Furey
Best Selling Author of "Combat Conditioning"

A couple weeks ago I took my son, Frank, to the pool for a schwim (that's how he pronounces it). While there I saw my neighbor, Bob, and we began to rap.

Bob's had back pain for quite some time, well over a year. He tells me that he thinks some of the exercises he does in the gym may be contributing to it. "What exercises would those be?" I asked.

"Well, I do deadlifts," he said.

"Oooh, I see," I cringed.

"I know, they're probably not good for me," said Bob.

"PROBABLY not???" I replied. "Why, if I was drinking coffee right now I'd spit it up. You're literally doing the worst thing you can do to your back."

"You think so?"

"I know so. Dude, you're in pain. You've been hobbling around since I met you. And you're doing dead lifts? You're not insane, are you?"

Bob laughed. "No, I'm not - but you never know." Then he asked me why deadlifts are so bad for you.

"Because the leverage on them is mechanically all wrong. Even when you know the proper technique, it doesn't matter. It still throws your lower back out. Sure, deadlifts can make you stronger - but not in the long run. In the long run they cripple you."

"That's how I feel right now," said Bob.

"Look, about 80% of Americans will have a job-related lower back injury. That's eighty percent. This means that eight out of ten people, if they were to do deadlifts, are already at a disadvantage."

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"I never thought of it that way," Bob replied.

"And the other twenty percent, they're going to have lower back pain if they do deadlifts. I rank them as the WORST exercise for your lower back."

"What do you recommend as the best?" Bob asked.

"I recommend the bridge. And if you're not physically capable of doing the bridge just yet, start by lying across one of those Swedish balls. Do that at first and once your back starts to regain flexibility, then you can move on to bridging on the floor."

The good news is that Bob took my advice. He started bridging across the ball - then later from the floor. Within a few days his back pain was gone.

Thinking he was "home free" he went back to the gym to check on his deadlifts. Two hours later he pulled his back while pumping gas.

He had to wait several days before he could move enough to even get on the ball to bridge. But, once again, within a few days of doing so, he was out of pain. So far he hasn't gone in for a "deadlift relapse" - er, checkup - and I'm hoping it stays that way.

Always remember, the bench press destroys the shoulder and deadlifts ruin the lower back. In the future I'll tell you about other weight lifting/ training exercises you'll want to avoid.

Copyright, Gold Medal Publications, Inc 2004


Editor's Note:

Matt's neighbor isn't the only person who eliminated back pain following his program of Combat Conditioning. Almost every day he gets testimonials from others who say the same thing. To find out what they're doing, Go Here

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Copyright © 2004 Bob Cairns. All rights reserved.