what exercises to avoid with bulging discs

What Exercises to Avoid With Bulging Discs?

Lower back pains are very common and if you suffer from bulging discs, you should be very careful with the exercises and should absolutely avoid some exercises that might increase the pain and worsen the condition. So, let’s discuss some exercises that you should avoid with bulging discs.

What Is Bulging Disc?

Bulging discs can be excruciating. It is a condition of your spine where your intervertebral disc is ruptured or bulged. You can get bulging discs by lifting heavy weights, putting pressure on the back, or due to strenuous exercises. When you have a bulging disc, it puts pressure on the nerves causing pain. Normally you get a bulged or slipped disc at the back or neck and when you have it, you should be careful with the exercises you do. 

What Exercises To Avoid With Bulging Discs?

When you have bulging discs, you should avoid all the exercises that put pressure and strain on your back and spine. 

1- Standing Hamstring Exercise

Hamstring exercises are normally done by runners and athletes. These exercises are not good for your back when you have a bulging disc because, in these hamstring exercises, you need to bend forward while stretching which worsens the pain. So, you should avoid these exercises with bulging discs. 

2- Leg Lifting

Leg lifting exercises are not good for people with bulging or herniated discs because it puts a lot of pressure on the lower abs and spine. This exercise involves your legs, hips, thighs, and lower back which is not suitable for a bulging disc.

3- Situps

Situps are generally difficult to perform if you have pain in your disc. In situps, your lower back is bowed outwards which causes more stress, pressure, and pain in your bulging disc in the lower area causing significant damage. So situps should be avoided with bulging discs.

4- Squats

Squats need to be avoided with bulging discs because when you do squats, you need to lean forward and lower your body which puts tremendous pressure on the spine causing intense pain in the lumbar region.

5- Deadlifts

Deadlifts are strenuous exercises that put a lot of stress on the spine and if performed incorrectly cause the tearing of muscle ligaments. 

6- Leg Press

Leg press exercise involves the person moving forward at the waist. In a leg press, a person lies straight and pushes up or out against the weight which puts pressure on the waist.

7- Cycling

Biking and cycling are exercises that involve the person hunching forward which is not good for the bulging disc. All the exercises, that involve forward motions should be avoided with bulging discs. 

8- Straight Leg Raises

The straight leg raises puts a lot of strain on your spine that increases the already existing pain of bulging discs. This exercise with straight legs puts more pressure on the spine than with bent legs. So, it should be avoided if you have bulging discs. 

What Exercises To Do With Bulging Discs?

There are some exercises that are relatively safe to do with bulging discs. These are:

1- Cobra Stretch

Cobra stretch is a safe backbend exercise that can be done with bulging discs. You can do it by lying and bringing your knees together. Keep your hips on the floor while you move on your elbows and keep this position for 15 seconds. 

2- Glutes Bridges

These are safe and effective exercises for the lower body that works by strengthening the hamstrings and glutes. You can do it by lying straight and bending your knees. Now move by lifting your hips off the floor until your knees, shoulders, and hips make a straight line.

3- Heel Taps

These abdominal exercises stabilize the spine. You can perform these exercises carefully with bulging discs. You can do it by lying straight and bending your knees while your legs make 90 degrees. Move and lower one heel toward the floor meanwhile tightening abdominal muscles.

4- Reverse Crunches

Reverse crunches are the opposite of standard crunches and action on the rectus abdominis. This exercise takes the strain off your spine and neck. You can do reverse crunches by lying straight, bending, and lifting your knees close to your chest.

5- Spinal Decompression- Bar hang-ups 

Spinal decompression exercise is safe and effective for bulging discs. You can do it by using any bar that you can hang with. Start by holding the bar and hanging for 15- 30 seconds and you can perform 3-4 sets. 


If you have a bulging or herniated disc, you should avoid all exercises that involve putting too much strain and pressure on your lower back and spine. Some exercises that you should avoid include standing hamstring exercises, leg lifts, deadlifts, leg presses, sit-ups, squats, cycling, and straight leg raises. Instead, you can do some gentle exercises like cobra stretch, glutes bridges, heel taps, reverse crunches, and some spinal decompression exercises. 


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