September 2, 2017

Crossfit Workouts To Do When Your Back Hurts

If you’ve recently tweaked your back, probably by some sort of heavy olympic lifting which was most likely deadlifts, but you still want to continue your training there are still workouts you can do.  
If your body was just sore you would probably push through it no problem knowing that it’s nothing serious since you’re sore everyday anyway, but when it’s the back, specifically lower back that is sore, we tend to treat it differently and for good reason. If your lower back is feeling weak then pretty much everything else is affected which is why it’s a good idea to focus on other body parts for a few days until your back heals up.
While you wait for your back focus on your weaknesses and work on strengthening your posterior chain through accessory work. You can do this after your training or between sets, just try to get it in alongside your wods.


Strengthening the core

If you have a strong posterior core and overall core your performance will go up all around, whether it’s weightlifting, metcons, or skills.
You should be doing reverse hypers every day to rehab and strengthen that posterior chain if you have one at your gym, you don’t have to go super heavy but pick medium weight and do something like 4×10 or 5×12. Whenever I hurt my back I do them immediately and the reverse hyper has worked so well for me that I now use it everyday regardless.

Back extensions aka hip extensions are also a great exercise to do to build that lower back and the benefits that come with them will carry over to all of your other lifts. You should be shooting for around 3-4 sets of 25 reps with no weight.
You should also decompress the back by doing a 1 minute static hold on the pullup bar. It seems like it does nothing, but once you try it you will definitely feel it helping. I first learned this from an article by StrongLifts.
Below are a few workouts you can do to train around that tweaked back. Substitute some of the movements as you see fit to work on your weaknesses. Personally I don’t use the barbell when my back is hurting, but if you feel comfortable go for it.

Strict HSPU

15/12/9/6/3 reps
1:00/:45/:30/:15 rest
(Recovery days are a great time to build up your raw strength by doing strict movements. Strict weighted pullups and bench press are also great options.)


Burpees over the bar
Chest-To-Bar pullups
(Both of these movements are mainstays in the Opens so its a good idea to work on them often. Burpees shouldn’t hurt your back too bad, but if they do, substitute them for something like pushups.)

5 rounds

Max bodyweight bench
Max reps strict pullups
Rest 3:00 between rounds
(I got this one from Ben Bergeron, I follow a lot of his CompTrain programming and this was a great workout.)

5 Rounds

60 Cal row (Shoot for 2:00-2:30)
3:00 rest between rounds
(This is a good interval workout to do first thing when you get in the gym, it will warm you up and get your heart rate going without stressing your body too much. You’ll learn your pace during this and will be able to apply it to your next wod. Also works well with assault bike.)


7 ring muscle ups unbroken
50 double unders
(This is all about working on your muscle ups, the double unders are just there to get in your way and get you breathing a little bit.)


15 ring dips
15 toes-to-bar
(Ring dips are a movement that not a lot of people do in their training, but I think they are going to catch a lot of people off guard in the next couple of opens like the dumbbell did in 2017.)

Sled Pushes

Increasing weights 200m
(Sled pushes are awesome in the way that they allow you to still build hamstring and overall leg and core strength without having to squat while your back hurts.They also help relieve some of that back pain in my experience.)

These are just a few workouts you can try, there’s thousands of other options and combos you can make, but these are just some templates that I personally like in my recovery training. If you liked or tried any of these or have any workouts or tips of your own, please comment them below.
Austin Heaton (