Straight leg/stoop position


  • žHigh compression forces on the lumbar discs
       – Compare 500N force in stooping compared to 340N for squatting!
  • žAll the load is on the spine, which has only small muscles
  • žIncreased force in the spine when the load is held away from the body
  • žDuring flexion/stooping the back muscles are less active, which puts extreme strain on the lumbar ligaments
  • žThis should NOT be done whether you are picking up a pen or a box

The leg lift or deep squat

  • žThe most commonly taught method of low lifting
  • žThe knees and hips need to be almost at maximum bent position, with buttocks close to the ground
  • žThere is less stress on the lumbar spine, ligaments and muscles

However there are limitations:

  • žSignificant stress on the knee joint
  • žPoor stability through the lift action
  • žThe strength and endurance required to extend the knees and hips under load is great
  • žLift is not very adaptable
  • žThere is reduced mechanical effectiveness of the ankle, knee and hip joints

The Semi-squat

The Semi-squat is now widely accepted as a preferred approach to lifting items from low levels as it provides the best stability, power, endurance, vision and adaptability.

Patterns of movement:

  • žSpine is in or close to its normal shape
  • žKnees are moderately bent within mid range
  • žTrunk is inclined forward to grasp load
  • žFeet are apart
  • žShoulders are aligned
  • žLoad is held symmetrically
  • žLoad is held close to the body
  • žHips and knees work smoothly together to lift and lower the load