Updated: Jan 7, 2021
THERE IS CURRENTLY NO HARD EVIDENCE (IN HUMAN SUBJECTS) DIRECTLY SUPPORTING THAT CERTAIN LIFTING TECHNIQUES (FOR LIFTS FROM THE FLOOR) ARE SUPERIOR TO OTHERS FOR REDUCING THE RISK OF INJURY OR LIKELIHOOD OF PAIN.
...or that certain techniques can prevent injury, as it's impossible to completely prevent anything
THE MAJORITY OF DATA BEING USED TO SUPPORT LIFTING WITH CERTAIN TECHNIQUES TENDS TO COME FROM IN VITRO STUDIES WHICH AREN'T VERY TRANSFERABLE TO HUMANS.
In vitro: (meaning: in the glass) studies performed with microorganisms, cells, or biological molecules outside their normal biological context. "Test-tube experiments", these studies are traditionally done in labware such as test tubes, flasks, or Petri dishes.
SUCH AS THIS ONE HERE BY MCGILL & CALLAGHAN USING A JIG TO APPLY FORCES TO PIG CERVICAL VERTEBRAE:
KEY TAKEAWAY: YOU ARE NOT A DEAD PIG IN A JIG.
NO DIFFERENCE IN RISK BETWEEN SQUATTING DOWN OR STOOPING (BENDING OVER) WHEN PICKING UP OBJECTS FROM THE FLOOR.
EDUCATION ON 'SAFE' LIFTING TECHNIQUE DOESN'T PREVENT BACK PAIN.
A NEUTRAL SPINE ISN'T MORE PROTECTIVE THAN A FLEXED SPINE.
IN FACT, THESE RESEARCHERS FOUND FLEXION TO BE SUPERIOR FOR PRESSURE TOLERANCE.
PEOPLE WITH BACK PAIN TEND TO REPORT SQUATTING TO LIFT RATHER THAN STOOPING WHICH IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT WE MIGHT EXPECT.
NO ONE POSITION IS INHERENTLY HARMFUL. THE BENEFITS OF MOVEMENT VASTLY OUTWEIGH THE RISKS.
Let's encourage more people to exercise regularly and lift weights rather than spark fear around movement or foster technique hyper-vigilance.
1/ Straker, Leon M. ‘A Review of Research on Techniques for Lifting Lowlying Objects: 2. Evidence for a Correct Technique’. 1 Jan. 2003 : 83 – 96. Print.
2/ Straker, L., 2003. Evidence to support using squat, semi-squat and stoop techniques to lift low-lying objects. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 31(3), pp.149-160.
3/ Wade, K., Robertson, P., Thambyah, A. and Broom, N., 2014. How Healthy Discs Herniate: a biomechanical and microstructural study investigating the combined effects of compression rate and flexion. Spine, 39(13), pp.1018-1028.
4/ Sowah, D., Boyko, R., Antle, D., Miller, L., Zakhary, M. and Straube, S., 2018. Occupational interventions for the prevention of back pain: Overview of systematic reviews. Journal of Safety Research, 66, pp.39-59
5/ Veres, S., Robertson, P. and Broom, N., 2010. ISSLS Prize Winner: How Loading Rate Influences Disc Failure Mechanics. Spine, 35(21), pp.1897- 1908.
6/ Callaghan, J. and McGill, S., 2001. Intervertebral disc herniation: studies on a porcine model exposed to highly repetitive flexion/extension motion with compressive force. Clinical Biomechanics, 16(1), pp.28-37.
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