Lifting heavy weights and improper lifting of weights is one of the foremost causes for neck pain or lower back pain. Practicing proper lifting techniques is essential to avoid strain on the neck and back.

Prior to lifting weights, stretch slowly and stop lifting weights if you experience any sharp pain. While lifting weights never bend at the waist. Put one knee on the ground, and use your arms and legs to lift the object up onto the opposite thigh. Stand up. Take the object close to the body while lifting weight and put effort on your legs to get the object off the ground, rather than your lower back.

You will never hear of thigh muscle strain due to lifting weights; that is because the thigh muscles are longer, stronger and more resistant to strain. The muscles and ligaments in the back however are shorter and prone to muscle spasm. Hence, while lifting weights, put one knee on the floor, use your arm strength to raise the object up to your mid-thigh, and then use the power of your legs to stand up. Another approach is to bend both knees in a squatting position, grasp the object keeping fingers underneath it, keep your back straight, and stand up slowly. In either case, strain your leg muscles to generate the lifting force, not back muscles.

Recreational Dos & Don'ts while lifting weights

Dos

  • Do place your feet and knees at least shoulder wide apart while lifting
  • Do squat or lean over with the chest and buttocks sticking out
  • Do take weight off one or both arms if possible
  • Do balance your load on either side if possible, so that both sides are equally stressed
  • Do level the pelvis, lower back and neck in uniform alignment while lifting overhead
  • Do stretch and walk around before or after bending or heavy lifting

Don’ts

  • Don't lift or carry unbalanced and heavy weights
  • Don't lift and bend too quickly
  • Don't lift things overhead with your neck and back bent.
  • Don't tense and arch the neck when lifting
  • Don't lift things when your feet are too close together
  • Don't lift with your knees and hips straight and your lower back rounded
  • Don't lift heavy objects directly following a prolonged period of relaxation
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • American Board of Neurological Surgery
  • American Medical Association
  • The Congress of Neurological Surgeons
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland & Labrador
  • North American Skull Base Society
  • North American Spine Society