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Keep your back straight? No!

Posted by Trevor Wagland on 20 February 2014 | 0 Comments

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Bend your legs, back straight?

The old adage related to what most people see as ‘good manual handling technique’ is a somewhat outdated view. Yes, using the leg muscles in favour over the upper body and back muscles is definitely the case but unless the back is in the neutral position, you can still be causing damage to the back whilst believing that you are doing the ‘correct’ technique.

Neutral back is adopted by engaging the transversus abdominus (core strength muscles) and rotating the pelvis into its neutral position. This is done by pushing the tailbone down towards the floor whilst pulling the belly button in toward the spine. The correct amount of curvature for the lumbar region (Lordotic curve) is when you can only slide your fingers but not your full hand into the space when your back is against a wall. This is a loose rule that applies to most people but not everybody.

Your upper back is in the neutral position when your shoulders are over your hip bones and this is achieved by gently lifting the breastbone which will roll the shoulders back into position. None of these movements should be strained.

Also when you crouch to the object you must avoid over-crouching. This is identified when the front leg bends beyond the horizontal to the ground position. Over crouching will put excessive strain on the knees.

All this is all well and good but unless you are taught this correctly by an experienced trainer it is very easy to fall into poor habit.

So, bend the legs? Yes, but back straight? No, keep it neutral.