How To Lift Weights Correctly? Scientists Are Not Sure If The Back Must Be Straight

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How To Lift Weights Correctly? Scientists Are Not Sure If The Back Must Be Straight
How To Lift Weights Correctly? Scientists Are Not Sure If The Back Must Be Straight

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How to lift weights correctly? Scientists are not sure if the back must be straight

Lifting weights is a major risk factor for low back pain. There is a strong belief that a bent back while lifting may increase the risk of this problem, but new research has found no evidence for this. Let's remember how to properly lift heavy things.

How to lift weights correctly? Scientists are not sure if the back must be straight
How to lift weights correctly? Scientists are not sure if the back must be straight

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Lifting weights is a major risk factor for low back pain. There is a strong belief that a bent back when lifting heavy objects may increase the risk of this problem, but a new Australian study published in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy found no evidence for this.

“Health and safety professionals, medical practitioners, and gym instructors advise avoiding arched back lifts and instead insist that the safest way to lift is with a straight back,” said Peter O'Sullivan, co-author research.

Scientists noted that the introduction of such rules for lifting weights was not accompanied by a decrease in the prevalence of lower back injuries and chronic pain in it.

Their review analyzes all available studies on this topic (12 articles with 697 participants). They wanted to find out if a bent back when lifting weights is a risk factor for lower back pain compared to a straight back.

In the studies reviewed, participants lifted objects weighing between 10 grams (ballpoint pen) to 12 kg. Scientists found no evidence of an increased risk of low back pain when lifting with a bent back. At the same time, they noted the high importance of other risk factors - multiple lifting of loads in case of fatigue, deterioration in mental and physical health, and overweight.

However, lack of evidence does not automatically mean that lifting heavy objects with a bent back is safe. In addition, studies in which participants lifted weights over 12 kg simply do not exist. The reviewers believe that further research is needed to better understand risk factors.

Lifting heavy objects is one of the leading causes of workplace injuries, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, with over 36% of them being shoulder and back injuries. The right way to lift and carry heavy loads can help prevent these injuries and avoid back pain.

The British Health Service provides the following weight lifting guidelines.

The first step is to plan the lift - where the load will be placed, how heavy or awkward it is, can it be broken down into smaller pieces, is there any equipment that can be used (handcart or lift). If the load does not have a good handle, it should be placed in a container with handles or a secure handle should be made.

Then it is necessary to clear the path, and also take into account the presence of slippery areas, ledges, stairs and other uneven surfaces, closed doors.

Shoes should fit snugly to the foot and not have high heels, clothes should not hinder movement. Use personal protective equipment if necessary (grip gloves and steel toe boots).

Adjust the position of the load before lifting. Place the load in the desired position. For lifting to a significant height (from floor to shoulder height), it is optimal to be able to place a load on a table or bench halfway to change the grip.

When lifting, keep the weight as close to your waist as possible to relieve pressure on your back. The heaviest side of the load should be closer to your body. If the load is difficult to reach, try moving it towards you before trying to lift it.

Take a stable position. In the event that the weight is on the ground, to maintain balance, one leg should be extended slightly forward. Move your legs to maintain a stable body position while lifting.

Ensure a good grip on the load. Leaning the load closer to your body will provide a stronger, stronger grip for lifting than holding it with just your hands.

Do not bend your back when lifting. A slight flexion of the back, hips, and knees at the start of the lift is preferable to a full bend or full squat. It is dangerous to unbend the legs before straightening the back: this makes the back even more bent.

Avoid twisting or twisting your body, especially with a bent back. Keep your shoulders straight with the same direction as your hips. If you want to turn around, do it with your whole body using your legs.

Look ahead and move smoothly. Keep your head above the load, look in front of you. Do not make sudden movements or grabbing the load, as this can make it difficult to maintain control and increase the risk of injury.

Know your limits. Do not lift or support weight that you can easily handle. There is a difference between what can be lifted and what can be safely lifted.

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