Three Exercises That Are Killing Your Back

by | Oct 1, 2015 | Medical

Let’s face it, almost all of us think about toning our bodies and losing a few pounds to give us that boost of confidence.  However, some exercises may be doing more harm than good, especially for those with spinal conditions.  Below are three exercises that may be hurting your back and can result in a herniated disc or other spinal condition.
1. Sit-ups/Crunches
Sit-ups and crunches are one of those exercises that most people believe will give them a flat stomach and rock hard abs.  In actuality, to get a flat stomach all of the muscles of the core need to be engaged together.  These exercises work only a very small group of the core muscles and are ineffective. Furthermore, the repetitive up and down motion of sit-ups and crunches cause the spine to decompress and then compress again rapidly exposing the spinal discs to sheer force.  This sheer force can cause an accelerated degeneration of the fibrous outer walls of the spinal discs resulting in an increased chance for disc herniations.  To work all of the core muscles in a safer way try planks!
2. Torso Twists
Torso twists are another exercise many people use to sculpt their obliques and lose the muffin top. However, twisting your upper body while keeping your lower body in the same position is against the natural biomechanics of the spine. These exercises place a tremendous amount of directional force on the lumbar spine and ligaments and can result in accelerated degeneration of the spinal discs or facet joints. To work your obliques in a safer way try cable chops!
3. Squats
Over the past few years, squats have become one of the most popular exercises used to shape the glutes and legs.  However, the squat places a tremendous amount of force on the lumbar spine and many professional trainers have stopped recommending this exercise altogether.  Squats often cause people to lean forward and round the back to brace the extra weight.  After the all of the weight is loaded onto the back, the body goes from a squatted position to an upright position causing the spine to undertake a significant directional force in only a few seconds.  This type of movement can cause significant injury and degeneration to the spine.
Dr. Anthony Virella is a Board Certified, Fellowship trained Neurological Spine Surgeon with advanced training in the management of complex spinal disorders. He attended medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and is a graduate of the UCLA Neurosurgery Residency Program. Dr. Virella completed his complex spine in-folding Resident Fellowship at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic Foundation with Dr. Edward C. Benzel, M.D. Additional work included a second Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at the UCLA Comprehensive Spine Center. Dr. Virella is a nationally recognized specialist in the field of complex and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and has offices located in Westlake Village and Valencia.
Call at 805.449.0088 to schedule an appointment in Valencia or Westlake Village today or visit

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=3]


Celebrity Waiter 2020

Celebrity Waiter 2020

A Knight of Royals at Bella Vida on February 29 Santa Clarita Magazine is proud to feature the SCV Senior Center’s Celebrity Waiter event. This year’s cover features the King and Queen (Winston and Pansy Greene) of this year’s theme – A Knight of Royals. Winston and...

read more


Santa Clarita Magazine has set a high standard for excellence in advertising for over 29 years. A family owned and operated business, Santa Clarita Magazine has grown with the Santa Clarita Valley since 1990 and become the #1 place to advertise locally.