Picking up stuff: why it’s important. So summer time is HERE! For those that live in Southern California, we are going to enjoy the beautiful sun from here on out. With that in mind, you know you are going to be more active. Just so something doesn’t hinder you from getting out there, let’s just keep thing in mind; picking up objects can hurt us, if done incorrectly. As trainers, we’ve heard it way too much. “I hurt my back picking up my luggage.” “My back went out when I picked up groceries.” Sound familiar? Yes, it is common. Sometimes its the common things we do throughout the day that can injure us. So let’s make sure this DOESN’T happen to you. First off, don’t lift with your back like the picture below:

DEFINITELY not like this

Secondly, use your HIPS. The glutes (aka: buns, booty, money maker, whatever you want to call it) are meant to support the lumbar spine. So USE it! I cannot stress how much people rely on their low back muscles rather than the glutes. Just look at the size of them. The low back muscles are TINY compared the glutes. To engage the glutes, simply hinge from the hips (meaning, dropping them as you lower yourself) when you pick up any objects. When the hips and knees DON’T bend, then that’s where the back is most vulnerable.

Lastly, make sure the object is CLOSE to you. The further away the object, the more leaning you will be doing. Think of it as a deadlift. During the deadlift, you are keeping the barbell or weight close to the body. This ensures that the hamstrings and glutes are being engaged. When this exercise is done wrong, your back gets more active. Another example is when picking up a baby or a child. Those kids don’t get any lighter, so make sure when they are crawling away and you are ready to pick him/her up, be close to him/her. So the key is to keep the resistance close to your body because you are stronger.

So there you have it; the key points when picking us stuff. Remember, its the simple things that really make a difference. It can be as simple as lifting groceries from the floor wrong or gardening that’ll throw your back out. Don’t let this happen to you. So make sure to engage those hips, so you can stay active! Hope you liked this week’s blog. Stay tuned for more next week…………..Kei

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