Lift Properly and Be Mindful – Use What You Learn In The Gym In Real Life

I was having a chat with an old, old friend – Terry Wong – who is a physiotherapist who does Occupational Health and Safety (OH+S). In general, I have to say, most OH+S advice that is doled out is pretty unpractical and only makes sense theoretically…and even then I usually don’t agree with it. Terry  is different. His mindset is very practical and the advice that he gives is refreshing based on common-sense and experience. Here are my thoughts on 2 common OH+S Issues…and how you should be in the workplace using lessons from the gym.

1. Lifting. When we lift, we want the bar path to keep going vertically and basically remain over the knot of our shoelaces, which is where the centre of the arch of the foot usually is. This makes sense and results in the best lifts. We deadlift, clean and snatch this way…so why don’t we pick things up this way? I always advise people to learn how to deadlift properly. If you have ever had to pick up a bulky object (not a small 30cmx30cm or 1′ x 1′ box), you will realise that when they teach you must squat to pick up a load, and keep and upright back, the weight is out past your feet. You would never deadlift that way…why would you lift that way? Keep your back straight, bend from the hips and knees, take the load in your hamstrings and gluts and get going – makes much more sense to me!

2. Sitting and standing. When we set in the front rack, our coaches are in our ears…ribs down, back straight, no “banana-backs”, etc etc. Add weight to the shoulders like that is like sitting at a desk with your arms in front working for a long time. The weight of your arms is not like having 100kg on the shoulders but it kinda is because after a while, the weight of your shoulders and arms will cause you to lose position…it just takes longer than 100kg will. So don’t sit back in the chair so your tummy is in front of your chest. Take a photo – if you are leaning back and then someone hands you a barbell, would you be happy to press from your sitting position? NO! In the same way, use a back rest to REST. Take a phone call? Rest for 5mins. Set a timer to make you change positions every 20mins. The research is in and static sitting is BAD for you!

Let me know of some strange or even stupid suggestions you have had from OH+S trainers!

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About Antony Lo
Antony Lo is an APA Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist based in Sydney. His website is www.MyPhysios.com.au. He specializes in the management, treatment and prevention of pain and dysfunction, particularly of the pelvis and ribcage. His sub-specialties include Crossfit and Exercise Performance Optimization, Ante-Natal and Post-Natal Care and difficult cases that have failed treatment elsewhere.

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