Slide show: Proper lifting techniques
Start in a safe position
Before you lift a heavy object, think through your task. Decide where you're going to place the object and how you'll get it there. If an object is too heavy to lift safely, ask someone to help you or make several trips carrying lighter weight.
When lifting an object from the floor, stand as close to the object as possible. Then kneel, resting one knee on the floor. Don't lift from a standing position with your waist bent or your knees locked.
Maintain the natural curve in your lower back
With one knee resting on the floor, tighten your core muscles — including the muscles in your abdomen, back and pelvis — and lift the object between your legs. Maintain the natural curve in your lower back, and don't hold your breath. Be careful to hold the object close to your body. Rest the object on your knee as you prepare to stand.
Use your legs
As you stand, maintain the natural curve in your lower back and keep your core muscles tight. Use your leg muscles — not your back — to lift the object. Don't twist when lifting. Step to the side if you need to turn.
Squatting instead of kneeling
As another option, squat rather than kneel to lift an object from the floor. Stand as close to the object as possible, positioning it between your knees as you squat. Keep your feet parallel, as shown here, or stagger one foot ahead of the other. It might help to tilt one edge of the box up to ensure a firm hold.
Let your legs do the work
As you stand, be careful to hold the object close to your body. Maintain the natural curve in your lower back, and keep your core muscles tight. Use your leg muscles — not your back — to lift the object.
When you're standing and ready to move, continue holding the object close to your body to decrease the strain on your lower back. Keep your core muscles tight. Turn by pivoting your feet, not your back.
Last Updated May 3, 2016