At some point most people will have undertaken a heavy lifting course, though it is easy to slip into bad habits.
A desire to get the job done can often override the knowledge of how to do it safely, but poor lifting technique can have long term chronic effects as well as short term pain. There are actually only six steps to lifting correctly so it’s not rocket science. Indeed a lot of it is common sense.
1) Size up the load
Before you attempt to lift anything check it out properly. Try moving it from side to side to gauge it’s weight if it is not stamped on the box. Be realistic about whether you can lift it by yourself or need help. Just because you’re lifting properly it doesn’t mean you can suddenly lift double the weight you usually would. Being honest and realistic can actually save you a lot of time later.
2) Stand strong
It is tricky to lift even the lightest load if you don’t have a stable base. Feet should be shoulder width apart to ensure the best possible balance. Prior to lifting stand with one foot slightly in front of the other.
3) Straighten your back
Keep your back as straight and upright as you can. Your back should always be perpendicular to the ground and not horizontal as you prepare to lift.
4) Bend from the knees and not the waist
Keeping your back straight slowly lower yourself using your legs which will give you a stronger support. Again, as in point 3, keep your back as straight as possible all the way down.
5) Lift with your legs and not your back
There’s a reason some jobs are called backbreaking and lifting can be one of them done incorrectly. Your leg muscles are far stronger than the ones in your back so use them and it will make lifting the load much easier. Tighten your core stomach muscles as you lift and use them for additional support.
6) Keep it close
Carry the load as close to your body as possible. If you must turn then turn with your feet first and let your body follow rather than twisting your body from the waist.