Daily activities and job duties often require lifting and carrying. There are several different lifting techniques that can be used to pick up objects of different sizes and weights. It is important to choose appropriate lifting methods and use good body mechanics to conserve energy and reduce risk of injury.
The golfer's lifting technique is appropriate for picking up small objects or larger lightweight items that can be held in one hand. The golfer's lift is performed while standing on one leg, requiring a higher level of balance. Heavier objects increase risk of falls with this technique. The golfer's lift is also used when you cannot get close to an object -- for example, reaching into a tall box to retrieve an item from the bottom. This lift is also a good alternative to squatting for people with knee problems.
Perform the golfer's lift with proper technique to maintain balance and avoid injury to your back muscles. Bend forward at your hips and reach your right hand toward the object you are picking up. As you bend, lift your left leg straight out behind you -- maintaining a straight spine throughout the movement. Hold onto a stable surface if available with your left hand to help maintain your balance.
There are several mechanical considerations to take into account before you perform a golfer's lift. Position your body as close as possible to the object before lifting. If you are reaching into a deep bin, step forward until your body is touching the edge of the bin before using a golfer's lift. If the object is heavy, use the golfer's lift technique to first slide the object closer to the edge of the bin before you attempt to lift it. Grasp the edge of the bin with your non-lifting hand to help maintain your balance.
Follow general principles of good body mechanics when using a golfer's lift to reduce risk of injury. Start with a wide base of support to evenly distribute your body weight before you pick your leg up off the floor. Move slowly and keep your spine straight throughout the motion to reduce pressure on your back muscles and spine. Breathe out as you lift the object.
Aubrey Bailey has been writing health-related articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in ADVANCE for Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University at Buffalo, as well as a post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy from Utica College. Dr. Bailey is also a certified hand therapist.