Correct Lifting Technique
Everyone knows that you need to be careful when lifting, but we usually think it only applies to lifting heavy objects. Whilst you are more likely to hurt yourself lifting heavy things, if you are not moving correctly in a controlled manner, it is possible to injure your back lifting a pencil!
It is all about keeping your spine in a strong, stable posture. This happens when the spine is in a straight, or neutral, position. It is definitely not when it is bent forward or twisting. In fact if you bend forward and twist at the same time, you have just put your spine in it’s weakest position. Try lifting like that and a back injury is just around the corner!
So what is good lifting technique. Well, think of someone who lifts for a living, and cannot afford any injury time. That would be a weight lifter! Suprise! If you look at their technique you will know the best way to lift anything, from a shoe on the floor to a loaded barbell.
The four keys to correct lifting are:-
1. Bending your legs, NOT YOUR BACK. All the strength when lifting should be coming from your legs.
2. Maintaining the normal spinal curvature. That is, keeping your low back arched, or extended, back. The best way to think of this is to hold your head up and ’stick your butt out!’ As soon as you start to bend forward from your waist the spinal muscles will take the load. This is bad because those muscles are just not strong enough.
3. Do not twist or rotate. Keep square on to whatever it is your are lifting. The more you twist, the weaker your back will be.
4. Keep it close. Hold the object your are lifting as close to your body as possible. The further away you hold it, the more likely you are to injure yourself. For every foot you hold something out from your body, you multiply the strain on your spine by 10 times!
That’s all there is to proper lifting technique for bad backs. Get as close as you can, keep it straight in front of you, bend your legs to lower yourself, keep your head up and your back as straight as you can. Remember those Olympic weightlifters, and stick your butt right out! Try to lift like a crane, not a forklift.