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Stretching Guide for Lifting

Physical Therapy in Harrison and Rogers for stretching when lifting

Lifting injuries account for many of the injuries we see at Spine and Sports so any sort of lifting should be taken seriously. Stretching ahead of the lifting task is useful when you know you will be negotiating a heavy load or doing repetitive lifting.

Lifting injuries account for many of the injuries we see at Spine and Sports so any sort of lifting should be taken seriously. Stretching ahead of the lifting task is useful when you know you will be negotiating a heavy load or doing repetitive lifting.  In cases of everyday activities such as lifting your groceries from the car or picking up your children, it is not always feasible to stretch before you lift, but a regular daily stretching routine can assist your body to manage these loads on a daily basis.  A regular stretching routine can help you avoid a lifting injury by minimizing muscle imbalances and preparing your muscles to take the load.  The following stretching program is designed for people who do not have any current injuries or individual stretching needs.  If you have an injury, or a specific mechanical imbalance that may be inhibiting your ability to lift, your Spine and Sports Physical Therapist can design a stretching program more specific for you.

When is the Best Time to Stretch?

When your muscles are warm and relaxed!  If you know you will be doing a large amount of lifting, such as for your job or for a house move, you should stretch after you have done a general body warm up of about 5-10 minutes. A brisk walk around your workplace, house or the yard to get the heart rate and body temperature up can do the trick.  

Dynamic stretches are used prior to lifting and are essential in preparing your muscles for the quick movements required to bend, lift and move your load.   Static stretches, on the other hand, are more useful to improve your overall flexibility and are most effectively done after you have finished your lifting tasks such as at the end of your work day or at the end of your move.

Rules for Dynamic Stretching:

Warm up your body first, then stretch while your muscles are still warm and do not let your body cool down before engaging in the task at hand.

Move through your range of movement, keeping control of the movement with your muscles.  Do not allow momentum to control the movement by "flinging" or "throwing" your body parts around.

You may feel light resistance in your muscles, but you should never feel pain during a stretch.
Start with slow, low intensity movements, and gradually progress to full-speed movements through range of motion. Complete these motions for several repetitions (10-15 times.)

Rules for Static Stretching:

Be sure to stretch while the muscles are still warm (soon after your activity).

Slowly take your muscles to the end of their range.  You will feel slight resistance in the muscle, but you should never feel pain during a stretch.

Hold the stretch in a static position.  Do not bounce.

Maintain each stretch for 20-30 seconds.  Repeat each stretch 3-4 times.

Essential Stretches for Lifting:

These muscles are the key muscles used when lifting.  Don't forget to stretch both sides. The stretching program shown below will take about 10-12 minutes to complete.

Dynamic Stretches

Neck Stretches

Lumbar Spine Rotations:
Squat


Arm Swings:
Lunges
Wrist Circles
Static Stretches

Lumbar Extension Stretch

Neck Stretch
Forearm Flexion and Extension
Buttocks Stretch
Hamstring Stretch











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