Imagine that you dropped your keys on the ground. You reach down and pick them up. How did your body move?
Well, hopefully you remembered one of my more recent posts, and you pictured yourself protecting your back as you bent over.
Don’t be fooled because the keys are light weight that you can “cheat” by rounding your back and bending at your waist. This puts undue strain on the ligaments, muscles, and discs of your back leading to injury.
Do you really have to waste all that energy sticking out your derrière and squatting down just to pick up your keys? The answer is no.
So, how do you protect your back without out extending too much energy to pick up small or lightweight objects?
Have you ever heard of the golfer’s lift? Yes this is a real term and lifting technique. Have you seen how golfers bend over to get their golf ball out of the hole?
Most of them do not squat down. They bend at the hip, keeping one leg straight and the other leg swings up in the air behind them for leverage as their trunk leans forward. This keeps the spine straight and uses momentum to do the lift.
This lift is a good alternative to squatting for people with knee problems or for those whose legs are too weak to squat down and get back up. However, this technique does take some balance. So if your balance is not too good then I do not recommend you attempt this method of lifting.
The Golfer’s Lift Technique:
1) Start the lift by bracing yourself with one arm on a table, wall, or other fixed surface.
2) Keep your back straight, bend at the hips as lean your trunk forward and reach the other arm towards the object you are picking up
3) Allow your opposite leg to rise up straight out behind you. The weight of the leg will counterbalance the weight of your upper body.
4) Grasp the object firmly.
5) Prepare to lift by looking forward.
6) Push down with your hand on the fixed surface to facilitate your trunk to lift upright and your leg to lower to the ground. Keep your back straight and breath out as you rise up.
Now imagine yourself getting items out of the trunk of your car or out of a deep bin. You have to reach down and bend over to get the items. Are you keeping your spine straight? If both feet are close together on the ground then your spine is not straight as you are bending.
The golfer’s lift is a great way to get those items out or your car or bin and protect your back at the same time.
Depending how far down you have to lean with your trunk to reach the object, the back leg that rises up may not have to go up that high or even totally rise up off the ground, but the leg should still be out behind you. Placing one leg out behind you should facilitate the bending from your hips and not the waist keeping the spine straight to decrease strain on your back.
So, to get the groceries out of your trunk, first get as close as you can to the car, one hand stabilizes on the trunk of the car, then bend over as you do for the golfer’s lift, allowing one leg to rise up behind you, slide the grocery bag as close to you as possible before picking up the grocery bag.
You do not have to be on the golf course to use the golfer’s lift. You can make the golfer’s lift a part of your everyday life and decrease the strain and stress on your back.
Happy Day! Here’s to Helping Your Body Move Confidently and Safely Throughout Life.