Proper Lifting Technique

Continuing with our theme of posture awareness this month I wanted to address a common problem that I see with my patients, which is proper lifting technique. We need to be aware of our posture in all of our daily activities not just sitting and standing.

Lifting heavy objects is one of the most common causes of workplace injuries according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of the injuries the occur as a result of cumulative trauma or overexertion. By practicing proper lifting technique we are decreasing the amount of trauma on the body and decreasing the likelihood of overexertion by using proper body mechanics we increase efficiency in our efforts.

When evaluating lifting technique there are four regions of the body that we need focus on: feet/lower extremities, pelvis, torso and the head.

When bending over or lifting focus on keeping your head over your feet. Imagine stacking each one of the regions of the body on top of one another like blocks. This will create a stable foundation which will be safer and more efficient.

Below are the things to focus on in each body region before and during the lift.

  1. Feet/Lower extremities
    • Feet planted firmly, shoulder width apart
    • Bend at the knees
    • Life with your legs
  2. Pelvis
    • Tuck you pelvis
    • Engage the core
    • Carry the load as close to your center of gravity as possible
  3. Torso
    • Maintain a neutral spine. No hunching or arching of the back.
    • Keep shoulders back and down. Think about putting the tips of your shoulder blades in your back pockets.
  4. Head
    • Look straight ahead. Don’t let your gaze wander down.
    • Make sure that your head is centered over your shoulders.
    During the course of the lift keep your core active by bringing your belly button towards the spine. Practicing this “posture” while lifting and bending will create better habits, will become second nature over time.