10 Exercises & Lifts You Should NEVER Do If You Want Your Back To Remain Functional

10 Exercises & Lifts You Should NEVER Do If You Want Your Back To Remain Functional



Over the years there’s been a number of different exercise programs that try to appeal to specific audiences. There are kettlebells for grapplers, crossfit, Wendler’s 5-3-1, versions of the 5-3-1 program for grapplers and many different variations.

But while many of these programs appeal to general audiences promising strength gains whether they be functional or brute muscle mass there are some exercises that are more than worth skipping.

That being said it’s unavoidable that at some point you’ll be looking to add on some serious strength if you’re serious about your bjj and maximizing your competitive potential!

What You Need To Lift At Home

Member of the Gracie family working on lifts from home

Some of these exercises might not injure your back directly – but they will contribute to a likelihood of injury long term that may compromise the quality of your life in a meaningful way.

One such exercise if frequently done in both wrestling and bjj – and also in physical education classes through out elementary education.

Exercises to Avoid

The toe touches. There was a study done by sticking a needle into the discs in one’s back as to test how much pressure an exercise is putting on your back – the toe touch scored very high. According to this research it puts an extraordinary amount of pressure on your back. If you have a herniated disc this is particularly problematic.

This is an exercise to avoid if you’ve already got back problems and also not one to put a lot of effort into regardless as to not make yourself more prone to the injuries of the back.

There are far easier ways to stretch the hamstrings without increasing the likelihood of injury to the back.

Here’s lift that aggravates the back in the exact same fashion:

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The goal of it is to strengthen the hamstrings but the mechanics of it stress out L4,L5 and more.

There’s also a wrong way to do the full situp. Sit ups with twists are a particularly nasty combination. Same goes for the variation where your holding a plate and twisting back and forth.

One controversial move that Bob Schrupp & Brad Heineck recommend we avoid is Military presses. Lifting a weight from behind your head, according to them, rotates the shoulder externally putting a lot of stress on the shoulders. In fact even lifting the weight in front of your head often causes an impingement which ends up wearing out the tendon and causing long term issues.

To check out the rest of the exercises to avoid and more press play below.