If you have low back pain and even have radiating symptoms from the lumbar spine, you need to FIRST take care of that before getting into all the other strengthening or cardio exercise for weight loss. Remember all mechanical problems in the back have a directional nature–i.e. while some movements make it better, some make it worse. If you get into all kinds of exercises indiscriminately, you can potentially worsen your underlying back problem. Many people take yoga and Pilates when they have disc herniation, and they end up not being able to even walk after their exercise.
AFTER the back problem is correctly identified with persistent progress, all radiating symptoms should be centralized in the lumbar region, and the low back pain becomes more and more infrequent. Then with proper instructions and precautions, you can gradually begin strengthening exercise, such as core training and Pilates, for injury prevention, as well as your cardio workout for weight loss.
Remember, there is a time for everything!
Written by Irene Acevedo, PT, MS, Cert MDT for Core Rehabilitation and Spine Center