Walk into a loading dock at any department store, hospital or industrial factory and you are going to see- maybe in plain sight or maybe laying next to the garbage- a sign that resembles the following:
Caution: Use Proper Lifting Mechanics
I probably hear something similar to the following quote 3-4 times a week while lifting decent sized plastic bins… “Kyle, lift with your legs bud!”, people say as I throw one bin on top of another.
Ok, first things first…
1) Take a look at the picture above. How many people do you know that have proper mobility in their hips to get their ass that low? Do you? Most people don’t, so right away you’re putting yourself in a sketchy body position. You’ll compensate big time to get that object off the floor.
2) Lifting with the legs isn’t enough. It’s all about technique. Lifting the object by hinging your hips and driving your butt to the floor in an effort to primarily use your legs during the grunt of the lift is ideal. Also, we deadlift barbells with massive loads in the gym… Your back muscles are highly involved in that process, so don’t forget that having the back muscles helping out is a good thing, just don’t make them the only thing taking on the brunt of the load. You’re moving a heavy object from a resting position on the floor to waist height (or higher). You’ve got to pressurize your torso region to help protect your spine during the grind of the lift.
3) Lifting odd-shaped objects is… well… odd. The rules of lifting still apply to lifting odd objects. Stay rigid, pressurize your torso to help protect your spine as I mentioned above, etc. However, lifting something other than a designated weight training tool is awkward at best.
4) Thankfully, most people who are probably lifting heavy stuff like the picture above are probably doing it for a living. The reason that I say thankfully is because these people are probably conditioned to lifting heavy odd shaped objects, but more importantly they probably aren’t sitting in a chair all day. You’ll hear me preach about how sitting is wrecking our posture and ability to move (it’s also unavoidable with our occupations), our metabolism, etc. It’s horrible and unavoidable in today’s working world. Take a person that sits all day and ask them to lift a 75lb-85lb box and you might have just dealt the camel the final straw (if you know what I mean).
5) Programmed resistance training and attention to movement quality will protect our bodies from injury and aid in performance, even it that performance is lifting a heavy box off of the floor. This is the foundational thought process behind establishing and enhancing strength, power, mobility and stability in your training sessions. Physical preparedness is everything.
You’ll never appreciate your ability to move more than you will once you DO NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO MOVE.
You gotta lift with your legs! haha…