Why You Hurt Your Back Doing Core

So often injuries in the gym stem from the best of intentions.


You have a beach vacation coming up so you set out to reveal that glorious six pack that has been hiding in the off-season. You jump on a diet that’s worked for you in the past, throw on your headphones and get to work rocking on some core training.


You throw an all-out assault on your core with the best ammo you got! I’m talking russian twists, planks, v-ups, cable crunches, and leg lifts. You leave the gym drenched and feeling accomplished.


You roll out of bed the next morning and “ahhhhh” yup there it is. Some solid soreness from yesterday’s session reminding you of exactly where your obliques are. But then as you’re walking around in the morning you start to feel a little pain and tightness in your low back. You remember feeling it a little in your back during those leg lifts, but you powered through. Next thing you know all of your motivation and hard work from those first few days of getting after it in the gym are sidelined with back pain.


Whether it happens from one all-out assault or even just one core move all by itself, the story is a common one. It’s easy to overdo it with core training (and working out in general) but if you’re reading this and thinking about yourself then don’t worry. You are definitely not alone.




Keep in mind that excessive core work is not at all necessary in revealing those shapely abs you have. If you don’t believe me then check out my man Josh Matthew’s blog to see him shredded like lettuce (with minimal direct core work). We could (and should) also write an article all on it’s own about the importance of nutrition, sleep, and full body compound strength training movements for lowering body composition, but for right now just wanted to make mention.  


Don’t get me wrong, core training is still very beneficial. The right moves can actually work to help prevent back issues, not to mention shape that washboard how you want it to look once your bodyfat is low enough to see them. Then there’s the functional and performance benefits of core training for everything from tennis to running.  


So why do people get hurt training core and how to we do our best to avoid it?




Without getting to “sciency” you can see from the image above that there are a lot of muscles attaching to our hips (also known as pelvis) in addition to our traditional core muscles. This image doesn’t even include some of the bigger muscles like your glutes, quad, and hamstrings. Think of it as a bunch of cables pulling in all directions that can pull the hips in (or out) of position.


This is amazing because it allows for a lot of complicated movements, but it also means for many of us that we aren’t great at controlling or limiting unwanted movement in this area when we get into doing exercises and daily movements. (i.e. core exercises). Tack on our injuries and poor daily work positions and our body isn’t happy.


There are times when we do and don’t want the hips to remain stable so in an effort to keep it simple, I have brought it down to just ONE EXERCISE that you need to be doing to minimize your risk of injury when it comes to a lot of traditional core training moves.  


Check out this short video and then keep reading!



This is the kind of in-depth stuff we get to work with 1-on-1 clients on every day so it definitely takes some coaching and practice to learn how to “get rid” of the arch in the low back while on the ground. This is also known as a pelvic tuck. This is a killer place to start for anyone dealing with or wanting to prevent back issues when it comes to working out.


This area of the body can receive a lot of stress especially with exercises like leg lifts and v-ups in your core training routine, so make it a priority to not only include in preparation for your core workouts, but throw into your routine any day of the week!


The added benefit you’ll find is that it will also help to keep you in good positions with more compound moves like deadlifts and squats so you get a massive bang for your buck by adding this to your arsenal.


This one video may not be the magical cure all but it sets the foundation for us to continue to explore the hips (yikes) so get out there and put it to use. Then keep an eye out for more variations and evolution of this conversation on our social media videos and upcoming blogs!



Joe Drake



P.S. Have questions about this stuff or want to come in and walk through these types of exercises with a Coach? Want to go through a more thorough assessment to help you build the right plan? Click Here to contact us or you can message me directly at joe@gravityandoxygen.com


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