Last week I taught you the #1 most important thing you need to be doing while lifting. If you missed it, check out the 2 minute video. In the next few blog posts I’m going to explain 3 of the most important things you should avoid at all costs while lifting. Lifting is the #1 source of firefighter injuries so understanding this stuff is really important.
3 of the most important things you should avoid at all costs while lifting
#1 Reaching. For every 10 centimeter increase in the distance from you, the stress placed on your spine while lifting something increases exponentially. Think about how small 10 centimeters is!
Think about a time when you used a lever system to lift something. The further away the object (blue square), the more force applied to the fulcrum (the triangle). In your body, your spine is the fulcrum!
So in a situation like the one depicted below, this firefighter needs to scoot closer to his “patient.” Making this minor change makes a huge difference in the damaging forces he places on his spine and thus his potential for injuring his back both during the movement and later on.
Here’s a story to help you remember to avoid reaching. A firefighter once told me that he injured his back carrying a large turtle out of a fire. Naturally, he didn’t want to cuddle with the snapping turtle, so he straightened his arms, carrying the heavy thing far from his face, placing too much stress on his spine!
Stay tuned to learn the 2nd and 3rd most important things you should avoid at all costs while lifting.
In the comments below, tell me: what experiences have you had with back injuries? Any stories like the turtle story?!
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