Remember to Hinge

Ever pick up something heavy and throw your back out?

The simple technique of “hinging” can help prevent the next painful tweak.

Hinging requires a person to keep their stomach braced and bend at the hips…not the back. Bending at the hips allows the individual to better utilize their glutes (specifically the gluteus maximus, also known as the butt) to stand back up.  When bending through the back, it is less likely the glutes will be utilized and instead, the lower back extensors will be recruited.  The low back muscles are designed more as postural muscles which maintain the natural curves of the spine–they weren’t made to withstand heavy lifting.  Therefore, the glutes should be the muscle of choice when standing back up (extending the hips).  They are a much larger muscle mass and capable of handling heavier loads and repetitive bending and extending.  Due to poor posture, bad mechanics, and sometimes laziness, people now have a tendency to round their backs when bending over.  While this doesn’t seem like a big deal at the time, all of these poor movements add up over a period of time (weeks, months, years).  The body becomes wired to now load the postural muscles of the low back and forget how to use the more effective glutes.  So, now when it is time to pick up something heavy (a child, a box when moving, or laundry basket), the lower back muscles are utilized, causing the back to “tweak”.

Article by Drew Emanuelson, a licensed personal trainer and exercise rehab specialist at Fusion Gym. He received his B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

For more information about how to minimize your back pain, contact Goodyear Health Center/Fusion Gym in Glendale, Wisconsin. (414) 332-6001. Our licensed personal trainers, physical therapists, massage specialists, and pain doctors work together to detect, treat, and rehab pain all under one roof. In network with most major insurance, medicare, and Workers Compensation Insurance.