The National Institutes of Health report that more than 80 percent of Americans experience low back pain (LBP) at some point. Low back pain can be caused by misalignment of the spine, muscular imbalance, disc issues, or more than likely, a combination of these. Even if you are experiencing some low back pain, that does not necessarily mean that you can’t continue to take your favorite barre class. A large portion of each barre class is dedicated to strengthening your core and glutes. Both of these muscle groups can have a huge impact on improving LBP. These classes are meant to be low impact – let’s keep it that way! 

Here are some simple tips to avoid LBP during barre: 

  • The most important tip is Ask For Help! Barre instructors can always help you find the best and safest modification for you. Talk to your instructor before class to alert them of your condition to get the most out of their training and knowledge.
  • During seat work, if any folded over or all-fours positions are bothering you, modify to an upright, standing position.
  • Modify crunches to a seated position to reduce flexion and stress on discs in your low back. 
  • During seated abs, add a ball beneath low back for extra stability and to ensure you are working your core and not your low back and not your hip flexors. Take two balls at the beginning of class to avoid having to go get an extra during abs if it’s needed. 
  • Planks can be modified by dropping to your knees if you are feeling it in the low back. As with all of class, during planks it’s important to maintain your tuck and draw your navel back to your spine.
  • Stretch properly before and after class. Be sure to do cat-camel, hamstring and figure 4 stretch!
  • Use the mirror to check your form and help with your body awareness.
  • Modify activity to avoid what causes pain.
  • Listen To Your Body! Barre is all about you finding the best workout for YOU and maintaining your mind-body connection. If your lower back is bothering you, take breaks when needed, and find the range of motion and speed that feels most comfortable. A smaller and slower range of motion may be better!
  • And finally, you can get assessed by a chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopedist to make sure barre classes are safe for you!

Information provided by Dr. Jessica Battocletti at Clayton Chiropractic Center. Dr. Jessica also has her Masters in Sports Science and Rehabilitation and has taken over 400 barre classes.