Physical jobs such as builders, warehouse staff or delivery drivers, can be very demanding, requiring staff to lift heavy loads repeatedly throughout the day. Most medium and large companies will have manual handling training to help staff use good lifting technique, which is important in preventing injuries. However, it can also be beneficial to do some extra training in the gym once or twice per week, strengthening exercises to develop strength and muscle that makes work lifting easier.
Being stronger is good for the rest of us as well! Here are 4 exercises that will help you to stay safe and strong on the job or when lifting anything heavy at home.
You’ve probably all heard the mantra, “lift with your legs”. While there’s a bit more to it than that, it’s certainly very useful to have strong thigh and hip muscles. We sometimes refer to these as your big “engines” – the muscles that should do most of the work.
There are many variations of the squat – you can use a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells or even just your bodyweight.
The deadlift is sometimes known as the sister exercise of the squat. It will work many of the same muscles but in a slightly different way – and also help you to develop a strong grip.
We usually perform deadlifts with a barbell but there are other variations involving dumbbells. As you can see, the deadlift is similar to some of the movements that manual workers might do every day. This could include activities such as picking up a box or a wheelbarrow.
As strengthening exercises, the deadlift and the squat are two of the heavier exercises you can do in the gym which strengthen the legs, core and lower back. Maintaining stability in the core and back is vitally important to protect the spine and one of the simplest exercises to develop this is the plank.
There are many variants on the blank and as you master the basic plank we encourage you to explore different angles such as the side plank, and to challenge to yourself such as lifting one leg or arm in the air.
Hopefully this article has given you some ideas of what strengthening exercises you can do in the gym to build strength, which can be very useful in assisting your lifting technique at work and in daily life. Good form is of course vital with any exercise, so if you’re not sure on anything then contact one of our therapists or trainers to advise.