Expert shares worst exercises for your back

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- There are three common exercises that we've all done over the years but now we've been told they are bad for your back. Dr. Richard Lehman from the U.S. Center for Sports Medicine in Kirkwood explains.

Toe touches, conventional sit ups and leg raises are three exercises that are terrible for your back. According to Dr. Lehman, everyone does them but they are dangerous.

Avoid: Toe Touches

Exercise is good for low back pain -- but not all exercises are beneficial. Any mild discomfort felt at the start of these exercises should disappear as muscles become stronger. But if pain is more than mild and lasts more than 15 minutes during exercise, patients should stop exercising and contact a doctor. Some exercises may aggravate pain. Standing toe touches, for example, put greater stress on the disks and ligaments in your spine. They can also overstretch lower back muscles and hamstrings.

Try: Partial Crunches

Some exercises can aggravate back pain and should be avoided when you have acute low back pain. Partial crunches can help strengthen your back and stomach muscles. Lie with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross arms over your chest or put hands behind your neck. Tighten stomach muscles and raise your shoulders off the floor.  Breathe out as you raise your shoulders. Don't lead with your elbows or use arms to pull your neck off the floor. Hold for a second, then slowly lower back down. Repeat 8 to 12 times. Proper form prevents excessive stress on your low back. Your feet, tailbone, and lower back should remain in contact with the
mat at all times.

Avoid: Sit-ups

Although you might think sit-ups can strengthen your core or abdominal muscles, most people tend to use muscles in the hips when doing sit-ups. Sit-ups may also put a lot of pressure on the discs in your spine.

  • Try: Hamstring Stretches
  • Avoid: Leg Lifts
  • Try: Wall Sits
  • Try: Press-up Back Extensions
  • Try: Bird Dog
  • Try: Knee to Chest
  • Try: Pelvic Tilts
  • Try: Bridging
  • Try: Lifting Weights May Help
  • Try: Aerobic Exercise
  • Try: Some Pilates Moves

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