This is why it's more important to remember to lift with your abdominal muscles.
Whenever you lift something, your abs are contracted to stabilize your lumbar spine, which is very prone to injury. You most likely don't realize your belly is getting tight when you're lifting a heavy object.
But your abs would only get so tight without your conscious effort. If you lift something that is just a bit too heavy, you may hurt your lower back because your lumbar spine isn't fully stabilized.
So, when you lift something, contract (or make tight) your abs. This will give your lumbar spine more support, especially if you're in a position where you cannot use your legs to lift a heavy object.
Your abs and lower back muscles make up your CORE. A weak core means lower back pain. A strong core means less to NO back pain.
When your lumbar spine is stabilized, the peripheral nerves that sprout off from your spine are less likely to get pinched or inflamed when you're lifting.
Here are some tips for lifting heavy objects:
- Make your abs tight, but don't "suck them in." Imagine somebody is about to punch you in the stomach.
- Keep your shoulders from dropping. When your shoulders drop towards the floor, you could injure your shoulders when lifting a heavy object. Imagine there are strings attached to your shoulders that are trying to pull them back.
- Don't hunch your back. Imagine your back being so flat that I could put a hot cup of coffee on your back. Your job is to keep your back so flat that the coffee won't spill.