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Unsafe, but popular exercises?

nastiasl's picture
Last seen:
6 years 1 month ago
08/21/2011 - 6:30am
Unsafe, but popular exercises?


I'm getting into paleo fitness, and despite the fact that many exercises and workouts look great, some moves make me pause and think whether they're actually unsafe for the back. Clearly, crunches are first on the list, but here are some more:

squats combined with jumps,

dead lifts,

burpees (especially)

Are these safe? All seem like they're quite hard on the lumbar region.

CerebrallyYours's picture
Last seen:
1 year 3 months ago
02/24/2011 - 9:40am

I do deadlifts but only hinging at the hips. But I'd really like to hear what can be done about burpees, Turkish getups, and some of the other exercises they were doing in kettlebell class before I dropped out. I felt like I was sitting out (or substituting planks) for too many exercises.

charlenehannibal's picture
Last seen:
11 months 2 weeks ago
12/15/2010 - 7:51am

Good questions!

A lot of these exercises can be done with good posture if you know how to modify.  Generally I would say Kettlebell exercises can be wonderful if the back is kept long, the pelvis is tipped forward during the squat and the pelvis refrains from tucking on the way back up.

Burpees would be very challenging for most people to do without tucking the pelvis and rounding the shoudlers.  Jumping back into a plank wouldn't be so problematic, nor would the push up.  Coming from plank to a forward bend is usually the point at which the majority of bodies would hunch and scrunch.  If you lift your buttocks up in the plank (post push up and as you are trying to jump into your forward bend) and keep the shoulders back, it would be possible to do it with good posture in tact.  The other thing to remember is that the knees will likely need to stay bent and the legs slightly expeternally rotated in the forward bend to create a very elongated spine.

Regardless of your exercise choices, the best rule of thumb is to use your Inner Corset to protect your spine during almost any workout.  Also, if the back can retain length and the pelvis can retain an anteverted position, these are ideal.  Lifting heavy objects without bending the knees is also not recommended.

I hope this is helpful to you!



Charlene Hannibal

Gokhale Method Teacher, Palo Alto and San Francisco

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