Flip Your Script

John J. Schessler, Wellness Coach/Personal Trainer

Body Mechanics & Lifting

Are you a back pain sufferer? Join the club! Over 80% of the population will experience some form of back pain in their lifetime. If you don’t address it early on, it can lead to more serious issues later on in life. Most back problems can be attributed to bad body mechanics because we either aren’t educated on proper ways of protecting our backs or just go through our day without thinking how certain movements will affect us in the long run. The more we understand body mechanics, hopefully we’ll be able to protect our backs from further discomfort and injury.

Principles of Body Mechanics

Body mechanics involves coordinated efforts of muscles, bones and the nervous system to help to maintain balance, posture and alignment of our bodies.

I. Types of Lifts

  1. Golfers Lift – used to puck up lightweight objects off the ground.
  2. Deep Squat Lift – used for heavier objects only requiring 1 person.
  3. Traditional Lift – used for medium weights such as children, backpacks, etc.

Guidelines for Lifts

We’ve all heard the adage “Lift with you legs, not your back” and most of us have enough knowledge of our own autonomy to know what we can lift and what we can’t. However, I’m the kind of guy who lives by the fact of the more knowledge you have about a problem, the better off you’ll be able to solve it or find a way to deal with it. Below are some basic guidelines to keep in mind whether you’re lifting a light or heavy load.

  1. Test the weight of the object before lifting.
  2. Move load close to your body before lifting.
  3. Make sure your feet are in a wide stance.
  4. Bend your knees to squat/lunge, if possible.
  5. Lift with your legs, not your back!
  6. Ensure a neutral spine during the entire lift.
  7. Ask for help.

Some of the things that you want to avoid when lifting are:

  1. Lift with your body in a rotated position.
  2. Lift from an imbalanced position.
  3. Twisting of your body while lifting.

Regardless if you have chronic back pain or not, following these simple tools to help you lift better. If you are experiencing persistent back pain, please consult your doctor to see about a referral to a Physical Therapist in your area as soon as possible. Back health is important for lifelong living without pain!

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John Schessler is a Personal Trainer, Writer, Actor and Host of the podcast, ‘Flip Your Script’ on Apple itunes who operates from Pittsburgh, PA. He is an accomplished personal trainer/sports injury & orthopedics specialist with over 10 years of fitness and physical therapy experience. If you have any questions or feedback about the blog, I’d love to hear from you! Send all emails to: j.schessler@pghwellnesscoach.com

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