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Lift With Your Legs…NOT Your Back

How many of us have been told to lift with our legs, NOT with our backs. I would venture to guess a good majority of everyone reading this. Now, how many of us actually follow through with this recommendation. Many of you perhaps don’t, but I don’t think it is because you really don’t want to. It may be for the simple reason you were never taught correctly or you just get busy or in a hurry. […]
As humans, we should be able to bend at the waist to pick up a spoon that fell on the floor. If it so happens that you “throw your back out” while doing such a simple movement, it means there is some serious deconditioning or vulnerability in the spine. On the other hand, if we want to move a laundry basket, lawn fertilizer or a box from point A to point B then there is a proper way of getting that job done.

First, you want to stand near the object, as we want to keep it close to our body. Next you should bend the knees until you are the same height as the object. Keep your spine neutral, which means there should not be any bends in it. The chest stays upright, no collapsing, and there should be no pulling in the low back. As you begin to lift or stand this object from the floor, keep your midline braced and tight. This will prevent the collapsing of the chest and spine.

Lifting with your legs is a little deceptive, because your thigh and buttock/hip muscles are fairly large and should do most of the work. However, in a non-ideal situation, it’s possible to tighten your back muscles to prevent you from pulling toward the ground as the object pulls you in that direction. This can create the start of some significant back spasm if your muscles were not prepared for the load.

Watch the videos for full demonstration and subtle nuances of lifting when objects are slightly elevated vs.when they are on the ground.

Have a great week,

Dr. Marc Fondino, DC




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