How to Move Furniture Without Hurting Your Back
There is nothing better than lying on the couch and proudly staring at the new home you just moved into. That is, unless you are lying on the couch because you strained your back when moving furniture. If you are not used to lifting heavy objects (and even if you do), it is quite easy to break down when trying to get your bed or sofa back into place. You bend, lift, twist, roll and crack! Lightning strikes your spine and makes you fall for the rest of the day. Or maybe in the next six months.
It should not be. You can move your furniture and live so that you can walk straight the next day with just a few simple tricks. So we turned to physical therapists and certified strength and conditioning therapists Michael Lau, Craig Lindell, and Arash Magsoudi, a.k.a. The Prehab Guys, for advice . (By the way, Prehab is the work you do to prevent injury.) And we spoke with another board certified strength and conditioning professional, Anders Warner, who is also the co-author of The Low Back Fix .
Here’s what they advise.
“Bring the object as close to your body as possible,” the guys at Prehab told me. “Without going into biomechanics: the closer to you the center of mass of the object, the shorter the lever arm. The short lever arm means you need less torque to lift the object. “
Don’t bend over at the waist
Instead, lower yourself by bending your knees and hips, the guys at Prehab say, and keep your back as straight as possible when lowering and lifting.
Stand directly in front of the object
Don’t just look it in the eye, more or less . In fact, press your shoulders and feet against the object. “Lifting an object that is directly in front of you, not to the side, prevents unwanted spinal compensation and allows your body to make the best use of your glutes and quads for energy,” the guys at Prehab told us. By the way, your glutes are the muscles of your glutes. And the quads are on the front of the thighs.
Don’t look up
“Want to keep your back and knees when moving the sofa?” says Varner. Stop looking up. When looking up, your neck is stretched, i.e., the neck is stretched out at an uncomfortable angle. “Your spine is strongest when it is in a neutral position,” adds Varner. “This means your chin is up, your eyes are in front, your ribs are down, and your buttocks are slightly clenched.” This position Warner considers the basis for reducing injuries.
Lift with your feet
“We humans are strong,” the guys at Prehab say, “so use all your great leg muscles instead of relying solely on your back.” If you are not used to lifting your legs, remember to keep your back straight while lifting.
Breathe your movement
Aside from the classic advice to “raise your legs,” the secret to getting up safely, according to Varner, is how you breathe. “Taking a deep breath through the nose through the belly creates tension in the deep core muscles,” he says. “These core muscles strengthen and protect the lower spine. A solid core means you can move heavier objects further, safer and more efficiently. “
When in doubt, stick your ass out
Okay, one more, just because I love this phrase by biomechanist and author Kate Bowman. As she demonstrates in the video above, a bulging butt allows you to use your legs instead of your back when lifting.