We’ve all heard the popular phrase “Lift with your legs and bend with your knees.” That’s how we prevent injury right? Not so fast. While this may sound good in theory, there are better ways to bend and lift to preserve the health of your knees and spine.
The low back and knees are not well suited for repetitive loaded bending. Luckily, our hips are designed perfectly to handle heavy loads and tolerate frequent bending.
Unlock the Potential of your Hips
The hip hinge is a key movement pattern to help you lift safely. Think of your hip joint like a teeter-totter. As your hips sink backward, your upper body will shift forward. Your hip becomes the center point of the teeter-totter.
You can start practicing this “hinging” pattern with the help of a simple kitchen chair. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, about three to six inches in front of the chair. Drive your bottom backward towards the chair and lean your upper body forwards. Your back will remain straight as your chest leans forward and hips glide back toward the chair. In the video below you can work through progressions to make sure you have mastered this simple lifting technique.
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you’re comfortable sitting and standing using this strategy, you should apply it to lifting. When you’re lifting something from the floor, bend at your hips and knees to evenly distribute the load. Keep the object as close to your body as possible. Set up your feet so they are surrounding your target and lift with a straight back.
For a step by step guide to master the hip hinge, check out the video below!
If your dealing with an injury from lifting, click below to schedule your free discovery visit with a physical therapist.