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How to lift heavy boxes without getting hurt

© Copyright 2022 Artwork by Cordi Neckermann

It’s that time of the year again. School is about to start and as a mum my attention goes to my kids wardrobe. Getting rid of all the stuff that is too small and making space for the new sizes. Every year this involves moving a heavy box full of old clothes and this year it happened. The box was particularly heavy and my poor husband put his back out moving it. No matter how severe an injury in the lower back, it is always super painful. And worst of all, it could have been easily prevented.

Lifting with your legs

You’ve probably heard it a million times. Lift with the strength of your legs, not the lower back. Instead of rounding the back we should bend at the hips in a proper squat so we can use the strength of our quads to lift. That is the right technique. But why is it so hard to remember? Why does bending at the hips and lowering the belly towards the thighs feel so unnatural?

Flexing it right

The hip flexors or Iliopsoas muscles connect the spine and hips with the thigh bone.

Our hip flexors usually don’t get much love and attention. Prolonged sitting or driving and even activities like running or cycling can lead to tight hip flexors. This tightness makes it uncomfortable to lower into a healthy squat so instead we round the lower spine forward and risk injury when lifting heavy. The stress of the lift goes right towards the spine and can cause serious injury.

The key in a correct squat is the positioning of the hips so the spinal column can stay in an upright position. In order to correctly position the hips we need to know what it feels like when the hips are balanced and code it into our bodies. Like a dancer learning choreography, moving into a squat when picking up something heavy needs to happen without thinking. And how does a dancer learn choreography? Practicing the same moves over and over again and constantly checking for proper alignment and form.

How to best practice proper alignment

Learning the proper alignment to keep your hips and spinal column in a healthy position when squatting is easiest with a personal trainer or yoga teacher. Just a few sessions can give you a good idea of what it feels like to move into the correct alignment. Once you know what the correct alignment feels like you can practice in a group settings or even at home online taking yoga or pilates classes.

By improving your posture you might even discover that you get less lower back pains and even feel more confident.

If you feel inspired to learn how to properly squat and to improve your overall posture to avoid injuries I would love to hear form you. I teach one-to-one yoga lessons in the London, Hampstead area. Find out more about me here.

To inquire about classes send me an email here.

Love your body and keep moving,

Cordi x

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