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Lifting Lessons for Everyday Life

Your personal trainer or fitness instructor is probably a stickler for checking your form when you hoist dumbbells at the gym or do a set of squats under the weight of a barbell. But trainers and instructors can’t be there to make sure you use that same stellar form in everyday life – for example, when you’re scooping up a squirming toddler or struggling to stow carry-on bags in a cramped airplane. Here’s how to play it safe when lifting objects anywhere, anytime.

Activate your core muscles to stabilize yourself and protect your back before you begin to lift (but also during the lift). You can also apply ab stabilization techniques to everyday situations by doing core exercises in various positions. The more you practice stabilizing the core while sitting, standing and lying, the easier it will be for you to use this technique outside the gym.

Lower body
The idea behind safe lifting is to bend your knees and use the large leg muscles rather than rounding your back. Mimic movements you learn at the gym and/or with your trainer (e.g., squatting) when lifting objects at work or at home.

Upper body
Bring objects close to your body before lifting them to help protect your back. Practice this technique using ordinary gym objects such as a medicine ball or single dumbbell. Doing so allows you to get good at handling heavy objects with proper lifting posture.

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