The WORST Core Exercises To Do After Spinal Surgery (or in general)

When it comes to core exercises after a spinal surgery such a Fusion, Discectomy, or Laminectomy (or any corrective surgery for that matter) there are a number of exercises you need to stay away from especially early on in your recovery.

Most people I speak to who are coming off of major spinal surgery (after being released by their trusted provider) usually have a lot of questions when it comes to what exercises they should do like:

==> What are the best core exercises to do after surgery?

==> What are the safest core exercises to do after surgery?

==> What core exercises should I stay away from after surgery and/or will these core exercises cause more pain or damage?

In this video, I am going to cover 4 core exercises you should not do after spinal surgery as well as some bonus resources (below) that will point you towards some great exercises that are safe for you!

If you haven’t seen it yet here is a great video covering the top 10 Core Exercises safe for Spinal Fusions (these are perfect for anyone who have been operated on).

In the video above you will find some of my favorite core exercises, you can follow and adjust to fit your specific needs.

SO what are your goals with exercise? Build more confidence in your spine? Get out of pain? Regain strength after recovery?

Let me know in the comment section below!

Thanks for checking it out!


10 thoughts on “Core Exercises After Spinal Surgery – DON’T DO THESE EXERCISES

  1. I had spinal fusion on my L5 and S1. I haven’t started physical therapy yet, however, I would like to be proactive and fine out what I can do at home until I start physical therapy.

    1. Hey Lupe, When the surgery is so fresh it’s best to stick to what your doc suggests. Now if they give you the clear to do light activity then come back and let me know and I can point you in the right direction.

  2. As I carefully navigate the first weeks after a C7-T1 fusion (ACDF), trying to behave, I’m using this forced down time to research how I will begin recovery and get back to conditioning. I know PT is next, I’ve got a strong knowledge base for a layperson. BUT HERE IS THE PROBLEM: I row. I’m a rowing addict. I LOVE my C2 erg more than most people I know. My goal was to make our club’s Masters program this past spring and I was on target. My other goal is a definite long term goal. I am going to row an ocean. Throwing a curveball in here – I’m also considered disabled because my hearing and vestibular organs on the left side were surgically removed. Life is a science experiment. No one believed I would ever be at the high level of functioning I fought for because medically, it just shouldn’t be possible. Now, this procedure – which I feel has already been successful because the screaming burning pain is gone, I have sensation in my arms again, and I’m gaining fine motor control every week. I’m trying to learn how to adjust my approach, my expectations. No one can tell me when I can get back on the erg. No one. I know rowers who have had fusions; they enjoy the rec level and do fine. I was training to hug the monster, not just lily dip down the Cuyahoga river once a week in the warm seasons.

    Can you help me here? Can you share anything about the impact/cautions about rowing with cervical/thoracic fusion? Some well meaning individuals freak because they think rowing is an upper body focused activity, when in fact the power is in the drive of the legs. Yes, the whole body works, but there is very little head movement if you’ve got a good technique. I apologize for the length but somebody saved your page on pinterest and now I’m on the hunt.

    Peace and all good,

  3. So would you recommend avoiding lateral/oblique exercises and pilates moves like bicycle crunches, throwing medicine balls with rotation etc?

    Also would you include pilates table top and its variations along with any straight leg raise variations (eg scissors) as ones to avoid)?

    I have had a fusion (and am a happy subscriber to your program!).

  4. This is awesome. Thank you!
    Large herniated disc. No surgery but started in January 9 weeks of physical therapy and traction. Then Covid shut my PT place down. Been religious about doing the exercises they’ve prescribed. (Some trunk rotation ones too which just f me up so I don’t do these.. ). Getting stronger. About 60 percent better since January. I still can’t walk very far but the pain is more manageable and I don’t take drugs. I will totally incorporate these exercises you’ve shown here and am excited to start.
    Is there a safe way to do a downward dog? My lower back is soooo tight and looking for a safe way to stretch it. I will do what you have in the video too. Thanks so much for doing this!! Especially now more than ever as people can’t get to their physical therapy places (at least here in Illinois ). Take care. Be safe. Have a great day!

    1. Hey Laurie,

      Thanks for your comment! Keep listening to your body and pushing to get stronger! You will have ups and downs and that is totally fine! It’s all apart of the process.


  5. Brilliant as always. Even without having had surgery, I eliminated all lumbar flexion exercises to help overcome low back pain.

    And for what it’s worth, plank twists seem to be a staple in the new wave of HIIT classes. I’ve noticed them popping up pretty frequently the last couple of years.

    1. Hey Andrew,

      Thanks for the comment! I appreciate your response and you are so right. There will always be more and difficult variations to staple exercises that work just as good and will allow you to train longer in life.


  6. I had spinal fusion and before the surgery I used to the Russian Twist, but since the operation I have not done it, so thank you for reinforcing the change. While I was in therapy I was given the Wood chopper as a twisting exercise. is this appropriate ?

    thank you

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