How to lift safely and spare your back and your knees.

Updated: Dec 11, 2018

The common advice we hear today is to lift with your leg muscles. Research now shows that this is no longer wise advice as it can eventually lead to knee problems.

(Refer to Dr. Stuart McGill, The Back Mechanic)


To come down:

- Take legs wider

- Pull your shoulder blades down from ears so you feel your back stiffen

- Chest up

- Draw in your abdominals

- Squat, let hips drop down

To come up:

- Keep the shoulders blades down and abdominals in

- Lift the chest

- Unfold at the hips as you lift the chest and straighten your legs.


When done correctly in this way there is no pain in the knees and your spine is well supported; lifting is easier. AND you are strengthening your back muscles

- The action of stiffening the front and back provides support for the spinal column.

- When you unfold at the hips as opposed to using your legs, you are using the largest muscles in your body, the gluteal muscles.

- You save wear and tear in the knees.


Another option is use the golfer's technique of lifting one leg to pick up a light object. (See image below)

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Spinal Health & Functional Aging

For personal coaching on proper body mechanics and posture contact Joanne for a private yoga therapy session. Book an appointment online.


I have extensive training beyond that of a Registered Yoga teacher to qualify me to work therapeutically to guide people safely with health conditions.  As with any exercise program, please consult a physician to make sure that it is safe and appropriate for you. None of the information on this page is medical advice.
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Joanne works from her home studio in Thornbury, or by video conferencing  by appointment times only .

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