Why Your Tailbone Hurts During Situps & How to Prevent It

Ever found yourself wincing in pain during a set of sit-ups, wondering why your tailbone seems to be protesting so loudly? You’re not alone. Tailbone pain during sit-ups can throw a wrench in your workout routine, leaving you puzzled and sore.

It turns out, the cause of this discomfort isn’t as mysterious as it might seem. Factors like your tailbone’s shape and length play a significant role, and unfortunately, our anatomy isn’t something we can easily change. But don’t worry, I’ve got some insights and tips to share that might just make your next workout session a bit more comfortable.

Common Causes of Tailbone Pain During Sit-Ups

Pre-existing Tailbone Injuries

One of the most straightforward reasons my tailbone hurts during sit-ups is due to pre-existing injuries. Whether it’s a result of a fall, prolonged sitting on hard surfaces, or previous workouts, these injuries can flare up with direct pressure. Coccydynia, a condition that specifically causes pain in the coccyx or tailbone area, exacerbates discomfort during exercises like sit-ups. If I’ve ever experienced bruising, swelling, or sharp pains in my tailbone area before, sit-ups may remind me of these old injuries all too well.

Poor Exercise Form

I’ve learned that poor form during sit-ups can be a major culprit for tailbone discomfort. When not performing sit-ups correctly, I might end up putting unnecessary pressure on my tailbone instead of engaging my core muscles adequately. This incorrect form not only diminishes the effectiveness of the workout but also risks injury to my spine’s base.

Inadequate Cushioning

Sometimes, the issue lies in the surface on which I choose to exercise. Doing sit-ups on hard surfaces without proper cushioning spells trouble for my tailbone. General fitness mats usually range from 1 to 1.5 centimeters in thickness, offering far more protection than yoga-style mats, which might only be 1 to 3 millimeters thick. I’ve found that using denser Pilates mats, boasting up to 2 centimeters in thickness, or doubling up thin mats can make a huge difference in comfort levels.


Overtraining is another potential reason for tailbone pain. I’ve noticed that packing too many sit-ups into my workout routine without adequate rest days in between can put excessive stress on my coccyx. This overuse can lead to inflammation and pain, making it essential for me to listen to my body and allow enough recovery time.

Muscle Imbalances

Lastly, muscle imbalances can lead to tailbone pain during sit-ups. If I have weak core muscles or tight hip flexors, my body compensates by incorrectly distributing weight and pressure during the exercise. This imbalance can put undue stress on my tailbone, causing discomfort or pain. Strengthening my core and ensuring I have a balanced workout regimen helps mitigate this issue.

How to Prevent Tailbone Pain During Sit-Ups

Experiencing tailbone pain during sit-ups can really put a damper on my enthusiasm for working out. Thankfully, I’ve learned that there are several strategies I can use to minimize or even prevent this discomfort. Let me share a few tips that have worked wonders for me.

Proper Sit-Up Form

First things first, perfecting my sit-up form has been critical. I make sure my back is flat on the ground before I begin, and I pay close attention to engaging my core throughout the movement. Tucking in my chin slightly helps me focus on using my abdominal muscles rather than pushing through my neck or back. It’s also vital that I avoid jerking or using momentum to pull myself up, as this can put unnecessary pressure on my tailbone.

Using Appropriate Equipment or Padding

I’ve discovered that not all gym mats are made the same. Using the right kind of padding can be a game-changer. I’ve learned to opt for general fitness mats that are about 1 to 1.5 centimeters thick or even go for a denser Pilates mat, boasting up to 2 centimeters in thickness. These options provide the cushioning needed to protect my tailbone. If I end up with thinner mats, I’ve found that folding one in half or piling a couple together can create a much more comfortable surface for my sit-ups.

Gradual Progression in Intensity

Rushing into a high-intensity routine was a mistake I made early on. I’ve learned that gradually increasing the intensity of my workouts allows my body to adjust properly, reducing the risk of tailbone pain and other injuries. Starting with a lower number of sit-ups and slowly working my way up as my strength and endurance improve has been key to maintaining a pain-free exercise routine.

Incorporating Alternative Exercises

Lastly, I’ve realized that it’s okay to switch things up and incorporate alternative exercises that don’t aggravate my tailbone. Exercises like planks, bridges, and even some pilates moves have been excellent alternatives that allow me to strengthen my core without putting undue pressure on my tailbone. These exercises have been instrumental in keeping my workouts varied and effective, all while keeping tailbone pain at bay.

By focusing on proper form, using the right equipment, progressing gradually, and mixing in alternative exercises, I’ve been able to significantly reduce the incidence of tailbone pain during my sit-ups. It’s been a journey of trial and improvement, but well worth the effort for the comfort and effectiveness it’s brought to my workouts.

When to Seek Medical Advice

When you’re working out, experiencing a little soreness afterward is pretty normal. But if the pain in your tailbone becomes a regular companion during or after your sit-ups, it might be time to seek some advice from a healthcare professional. Here’s how to tell when your tailbone pain is out of the ordinary and needs a second look.

Chronic or Persistent Pain

If I’ve noticed that my tailbone pain isn’t just a one-off but persists for weeks or even worsens over time, it’s definitely a signal to seek medical advice. Chronic pain could indicate that there’s more going on than just typical workout soreness. It could be an underlying issue that needs addressing—maybe it’s an inflammation, an unrecognized injury, or even a more serious condition affecting the coccyx.

Severe or Debilitating Pain

When the pain goes from annoying to can’t-ignore-this-anymore, I know it’s serious. If my tailbone pain is so severe that it interferes with my daily activities—like making it hard to sit for long periods, affecting my mobility, or interrupting my sleep—it’s time to book that doctor’s appointment. Severe pain could mean a significant injury or condition that requires immediate attention.

Recent Trauma or Injury

Falling on my tailbone or experiencing a direct blow to the area during contact sports or accidents can definitely lead to significant pain and discomfort. It’s crucial I don’t brush off any recent trauma or injury as ‘it’ll heal on its own’, especially if the pain is sharp or persists beyond a few days. Getting a professional assessment could help mitigate any serious damage and advise on the best recovery plan.

History of Tailbone Issues

For those of us who’ve had tailbone issues in the past, it’s especially important to be vigilant. Recurrent pain in the tailbone region might be the recurrence of a previous condition or the development of a new issue. Even if I think I know the drill from the last time I had issues, I understand it’s wise to get a checkup. Tailbone pain can be complex, and what worked before might not be the best approach this time.

Tailbone Pain Relief and Management

When it comes to dealing with tailbone pain, specifically when it flares up after doing sit-ups, I’ve found several strategies that offer some relief and help manage the discomfort. It’s not just about pushing through the pain; rather, it’s about smartly adapting and finding ways to alleviate it.

Home Remedies and Self-Care Tips

First off, I can’t stress enough the importance of listening to your body. If your tailbone screams for mercy during sit-ups, take a step back and assess. One of the simplest yet effective remedies I’ve come to rely on is applying ice or a cold pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes every couple of hours. This helps reduce inflammation and numbs the pain, offering a temporary respite.

Another remedy I’ve discovered is the strategic use of padding. Investing in a doughnut-shaped pillow or a seat cushion designed specifically for tailbone pain can be a game-changer. It helps distribute my weight more evenly and takes pressure off my coccyx when sitting, especially right after a workout that’s triggered pain.

Adjustments to my daily activities also play a crucial part in managing tailbone discomfort. I’ve had to learn the hard way but making sure to stand up and stretch regularly during long periods of sitting can significantly impact how my tailbone feels at the end of the day. It’s all about avoiding prolonged pressure on that sensitive spot.

Incorporating gentle stretching and yoga into my routine has offered another layer of relief. Specific poses that stretch and strengthen the lower back, hips, and abdominal muscles help in reducing the strain on my tailbone. I’ve found that poses like the piriformis stretch, cat-cow, and child’s pose not only alleviate tailbone pain but also enhance my overall flexibility and core strength, which is vital for doing sit-ups without injury.

I’ve learned that patience and consistent application of these self-care tips gradually lessen the severity and frequency of my tailbone pain. While these practices don’t offer an instant cure, they undoubtedly provide a foundation for managing and reducing discomfort, allowing me to continue my workout routines with minimal setbacks.


So there you have it—tailbone pain doesn’t have to be the end of your fitness journey. With the right approach to form, equipment, and intensity, you can keep doing sit-ups without the discomfort. And if pain does sneak up on you, remember the relief strategies I’ve shared. Whether it’s applying a cold pack, using a special cushion, adjusting your daily activities, or stretching, there’s a lot you can do to manage and alleviate that pain. Let’s not let a sore tailbone keep us from reaching our fitness goals. Here’s to pain-free workouts and a stronger core!

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What are some effective strategies to prevent tailbone pain during sit-ups?

To prevent tailbone pain during sit-ups, ensure you’re using proper form and engage your core muscles effectively. Utilize appropriate padding, like a yoga mat, to cushion your tailbone. Additionally, gradually increase the intensity of your workouts to avoid overexertion.

Is it safe to exercise with tailbone pain?

Yes, it is safe to exercise with tailbone pain, provided you choose low-impact exercises and avoid movements that exacerbate the pain. Focus on gentle stretching, yoga, and core strengthening exercises. Always listen to your body, and stop any activity that causes discomfort.

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