Back saving tips – repetitive lifting

I had to be a brick layer's labourer today, so I took a few minutes to film some tips on how to take care of your back.



Back saving tips:

  1. Use a lunge position so you can transfer your weight easily and widen your base of support
  2. Bend from your hips, not your back - the hip and leg muscles are far bigger and stronger than your back muscles
  3. Switch sides regularly to share the load around
  4. Keep your back straight when bending and lifting
  5. Try not to reach out too far with a load in your hands - it increases the torque (force and strain) on your back significantly.

4 Responses

  1. Thanks for this helpful post Antony! Some time ago I had to pick up lots of tree sections (a massive eucalypt) which were quite awkward, some rounding of the back was unavoidable – The really big ones we had two people to pick up but the many lighter sections we picked up on our own. Just wondering what the best way to lift is, given you have to bring it to your body in order to grip it?

    1. Mate, it is hard, no doubt. Strongmen athletes lift heavy concrete stones off the ground and they use a rounded back. It isn’t the rounding of the back that bothers me in lifting…it is the loading up of the back as the main bearer of load that seems to be the problem.

      The difference is all in the set up. When you do a heavy deadlift, nearly every coach will tell you to tak tension on the bar, load your legs and then lift. This makes sense to me because your hips and legs have the largest and strongest muscles. When you see a back start to curve under load, that is weakness in the back unable to hold the position you want.

      So long as you can maintain the load under control, with the legs loaded first, I believe that the back won’t be at risk as much as if you loaded the back first through rounding before bending your knees.

      It is hard to describe with words…apologies for my clumsy attempts here. In the video above, the ‘bad’ positions I show are where the back is rounded and the load is NOT taken in my hips.

      Thanks for the reply 🙂

  2. Thanks Antony, on a related note I often see people having problems squatting properly – back rounding, heels lifting off the ground, knees collapsing inward or all three.. Have you made any videos on squat progressions?

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