The Deadlift and Moving Furniture
The deadlift is perhaps the most used lifting technique in every day life… especially if every day life consists of moving furniture in Gainesville, FL. It engages nearly every muscle in the body and is one of the most beneficial exercises to gaining overall body strength. Many people are often concerned with hurting their backs if they are moving furniture. Insurance companies hate to insure movers for this exact reason.
However, if practiced correctly, the deadlift can actually prevent injuries, both inside and outside of the moving industry.
This article goes into detail on how 2 College Brothers, Inc, a moving company in Gainesville, FL, trains its movers on the importance of the deadlift, and utilizes tried and true techniques to ensure safety on every move. The techniques listed below are contributed with assistance from the certified personal trainers at Body By Boris, a gym in Gainesville, FL.
It is important to limber up. Blood should be flowing to all parts of the body (well most parts… but that’s an article for another time). Get a quick jog in, or if you want to work on coordination, try jumping rope. After you activate your muscles, get a 5 to 10 minute stretch in:
Core: Having a limber and strong core is crucial to safety when moving furniture. Take some time to strengthen your core and stretch it before and after the lift. This includes your abs, obliques, lower back, and stabilizing muscles. Here are some suggested techniques:
- Cobra Stretch:
- Lie face down on the floor, place both palms on the floor to your sides, and lift your head and chest up like a cobra, keeping your toes pointed away and your quads on the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat 3 times.
- Seated Trunk Rotation:
- Sit on the floor or mat with one leg extended and the other crossed over at about 90 degrees. Place the elbow opposite of the bent leg on the outside of the bent knee. Twist. Hold for 20 seconds, and switch sides and repeat.
Legs and hips: Your legs and hips will be primary muscle groups utilized during the deadlift and when moving heavy furniture. It is important to adequately warm these up. Stretches include:
- Lying Hamstring Stretch:
- Lie flat on your back, with one leg extended. Grasp the other leg and slowly pull it towards the body. Rope or bands are helpful here. Pull slightly harder for 15 seconds, switch and repeat.
- Lying Quad Stretch
- Lie flat on your back with one leg extended, bend your other leg back with your foot extending towards your buttocks. Grab your foot with the corresponding hand and pull. Hold for 15 seconds, switch repeat.
- Spiderman Stretch
- Get into a lunge position with right leg in front of the left. Place left hand on the floor for stability, and right hand on the foot. Push right leg out with your right elbow. Keep your head and your chest up. You should position yourself so you feel the stretch in your outer hips. Push for 5-10 seconds, release, then push a little deeper for 5-10 seconds.
Upper Body: Your upper body will be activated in addition to the core and lower body. So you must stretch this as well. Some useful stretches include:
- Lateral Trunk Flexion
- Stand tall, and reach for the sky with one hand. Tilt the torso the opposite direction, keeping the body facing forward. Hold 10 seconds and repeat.
- Bicep and Pectoralis Extension
- Grab onto a wall or post with one hand standing upright. Slowly twist, so that you feel tension in your biceps and chest muscles. Inch farther and farther until for about 20 seconds. Switch arms.
Now that you are properly warmed up, you are ready to approach the heavy furniture that needs to be moved. For consistency, let’s say the item we will be moving is a couch. However, these techniques apply to moving boxes, dressers, beds, and just about any other heavy item.
- Approach the couch with feet shoulder width apart. Keep the spine straight, but tilt it approximately 45 degrees towards thecouch. Assume a half squat position, with the thighs bent at about a 45 degree angle, keeping your buttocks back. Grab the sides of the couch, slightly wrapping your arms around it for support (you may have to tilt the couch from side to side to get your hands in a solid gripping position).
- Once you are in position to move the couch, tighten every muscle in your body. Clench your glutes, abs, arms and back. Visualize you are trying to pinch a penny between your glutes and shoulder blades. This should result in a “pre-loading the couch” situation, where the couch is almost floating off of the ground, but not yet lifted. The reason for this is because maintaining muscle tension from the onset will provide more strength to the mover, as well as keep the activated muscles safe. Think of a rope, if you have pre-existing tension on it, you can pull heavier objects. But if you jerk it to pull something heavy, you are much more likely to snap it!
- Communicate with your partner. Count down to three before lifting the couch. Failure to do this could result in injury or damage to the couch from dropping it.
- After you have counted to three, simultaneously come up, keeping your back straight, and muscles locked. Move your body as one unit, thrusting your hips forward and bringing your spine to an erect position.
- As you walk with the couch, communicate to your partner as to any steps or obstacles that may be in the way, as they likely won’t be able to see what you can see.
- Once you reach the destination, set the couch down slowly, following a reverse order of the lift up. Keep back straight and in unison with the bending of the hips and knees, while still communicating with your partner and counting down.
Congratulations! You just safely moved a couch! Now don’t forget to stretch again! This is a commonly over looked practice, but so crucial to safety. Post move stretching is a must to keep your muscles from tightening up, especially if you are moving furniture everyday. Remember a flexible mover is a strong and safe mover!
Moving furniture is actually a great total body workout if you do it correctly. You can even burn 400 to 600 calories per hour!
Practice this technique in the gym with a barbell, or at home with lighter objects until the proper moving form becomes second nature. Gloves, back braces, or arm straps may be used if you prefer more stability. Moving furniture is actually a great total body workout if you do it correctly. You can even burn 400 to 600 calories per hour!
Our movers in Gainesville enjoy all the perks of being fit, especially in the Florida climate where they can show it off! And best of all, when you are a mover for 2 College Brothers, you essentially get paid to work out! What more could a college student ask for? So, what are you waiting for? Make moves!
Wade Swikle started out in the moving business while a student at the University of Florida, graduating with a Bachelor’s in Telecommunication and a Master’s in Entrepreneurship, before becoming president of 2 College Brothers.