If you do not lift a heavy object properly, you may suffer a serious injury, particularly to your back. More man-hours are lost in industry because of accidents resulting from faulty handling of heavy objects than from any other cause. Similar accidents occur when exercisers use the wrong technique to lift weights. An electronic strain gauge can be used to compare the stress imposed on the back during different activities. The most stressful activity is lifting with the knees straight. The strain on the back is reduced considerably if the body is correctly positioned during the lift. To minimize the risk of injury, it is important to lift objects in a controlled manner, with the minimum of effort and the maximum efficiency and skill.• Stand with your feet about a hips' width apart; this should be a comfortable and stable position from which to make a lift.• For most weight-lifting exercises, point your toes forwards, but if you intend carrying an object to a new location, point the toes in the direction in which you want to go.• Lower your body by slowly bending your knees.• Make full use of your leg muscles and other large muscle groups when lifting an object.• Make full use of momentum to produce a smooth, controlled lift; avoid snatched or jerky movements.• Keep your back straight, but not stiffly vertical, throughout the lift. Avoid bending your back because this can impose unnecessary strain on the lower back and abdomen.• Tuck your chin in during the lift. This helps to keep your back straight by shortening the sternocleidomastoid muscles (large muscles at the front of the neck that lock the upper region of the spine, reducing the tendency for the buttocks to move out of alignment).• Ensure you have a broad, even grip on the object by using the full palmed surface of your hands and fingers. Do not interlock your fingers; this can be dangerous because the pressure of heavy weights may prevent you from unlocking your fingers making it difficult to get rid of the load in an emergency.• When lifting a heavy weight, keep your arms as close as possible to the centre of your body. Keep your elbows tucked in; do not allow them to wing outwards as this imposes unnecessary strain on your shoulders and may cause you to lean backwards.• Use both sides of your body. Avoid regularly lifting or carrying weights on one side of your body. This imposes unilateral strains which can upset a number of body processes and impose mechanical strains which can damage the joints, particularly those in the spine and hips.
• Stand with your feet about a hips' width apart; this should be a comfortable and stable position from which to make a lift.
• For most weight-lifting exercises, point your toes forwards, but if you intend carrying an object to a new location, point the toes in the direction in which you want to go.
• Lower your body by slowly bending your knees.