Research Backs Up The Safest Way To Lift And Carry


If you’ve ever had to move, you already know it’s a real pain.

But could it actually be more of a pain than you realized?

Apart from the disgruntled hassle of packing all your stuff into cardboard boxes, moving all of of your worldly treasures from your old house to the new one will inevitably give way to strained muscles and following-morning aches and stiffness.

However, even the most driven DIY-ers would be best served to learn a couple back-keeping lessons from the experts the next time they endure a large relocation process, says one recent study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting.

The Research

In the study, researchers had a total of 10 men carry heavy loads that was equal to 20 percent of each participant’s body weight– and they had to continue carrying the load while walking on a treadmill.

Participants carried the loads on their backs (like professional movers do) and then in front of them too (like amateur movers often do) while electrodes were attached to their arm, back, neck, shoulder, and abdominal muscles to measure muscle activity during each test. What the researchers found was that carrying heavy loads on the back decreased back-muscle activity by more than 50 percent, and activity in the shoulder and neck muscles was also lowered (but not by a significant amount).


The next time you’re in for the long haul of a big move, try to save your back by just putting the loads behind you. “There’s no question that if you have a load and can fix it behind you over your shoulders, and not in front, it anatomically puts less strain on your back,” says Jon Schriner, DO, medical director of the Michigan Center for Athletic Medicine as well as an activist in the American College of Sports Medicine.


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Janet McKnight

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