If you attempt to lift something heavy without proper form, you risk getting one bummer-of-an-injury. Acute injuries can come with an array of painful symptoms, and—what’s worse—these symptoms could develop into a more serious, chronic condition. Keep in mind that the following information isn’t a substitute for medical advice. If you have any medical concerns, contact a healthcare professional before attempting any heavy lifting. Here are four things to avoid when you’re looking to get swole—er, lift something heavy.
1. Don’t Bend
The first rule of lifting heavy things is don’t ever talk about lifting heavy things. Wait—no—that’s fight club. The first rule of lifting heavy things is to always bend your knees and lift with your legs. That way, you’ll avoid putting stress on your back and spine. But while bending your knees in preparation of your lift is totally fine, you should not bend over—arching your back—to reach for the item you’re attempting to move. Instead, you should engage your core, bend your knees, keep your spine straight, and slowly straighten your legs. Furthermore, you should lift your chin—slightly. A good rule of thumb: keep your gaze a few feet in front of you to ensure you aren’t rounding and straining your spine.
2. Don’t Twist
Keep your feet directly underneath your hips as you bend your knees to lift. Your entire body should be aligned—with your feet, hips, and torso facing the object you’re preparing to lift. Furthermore, make sure you’ve cleared a path to carry the item to its new home. When it comes time to lift your heavy item, make sure you have enough room to lift, move, and then place the item in its final destination while maintaining proper form.
3. Don’t Strain
If you find something is simply too heavy to lift, phone a friend. “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” jokes aside, it’s a good idea to call a friend and have him or her help you if you’re straining to lift something. And while you’re at it, make sure your friend also uses proper form to help you with your lifting escapades.
4. Don’t Raise the Roof (Too High)
Here’s the deal: You shouldn’t ever try to lift heavy objects above shoulder height. You might be wondering why I would warn against this practice. Well, when you lift an item above shoulder height, you place excess stress on your arms, shoulders, and upper back. If the item is too heavy, you also risk dropping said heavy thing right on top of yourself. If you’re not an injury thrill-seeker, I’m sure dropping things is something you’d like to avoid.
When you have to lift something heavy, keep the above tips in mind to minimize your risk of injury. Happy heavy lifting!