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Study: Lifting Technique Better With Flexed Back

“A flexed-back posture is associated with increased strength and efficiency of the back muscles compared to a lordotic posture. These findings further question the manual handling advice to lift with a lordotic lumbar spine.”

Ok, lifting an object in a study may not be transfererable to deadlifts or strength training in general. Nevertheless, I thought this was interesting as a source of debate. What do you think?

I think we refer to it as braced (or part of being braced) and I’d say it’s super important for moving more weight and staying injury free. Gotta avoid arching though.

EDIT: I read flexed as not relaxed rather than the opposite of extended :laughing:

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Two of the most respected physios in the world discuss this topic and that research article with a prominent spinal biomechanist here:

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Fantastic! I’d never thought this study would attract interest any outside occupational medicine. Do I dare asking if they came to an agreement upon this? (I will give it a listen later)

This is a hotly-debated topic in physiotherapy actually. Stuart McGill might be a highly prominent figure to lifters, but he’s not without his critics… for good reason. Entities such as Barbell Medicine immediately spring to mind.

They did come to an agreement on this:

  • The study provides valid data that people can produce more force from a flexed-spine position
  • The study’s methodology was not suitable to determine whether efficiency increased with a flexed posture due to the limitations in surface EMG
  • This study supports numerous other findings showing that people produce more force in a flexed spine position
  • This study does not mean we should encourage lifter to lift with a flexed spine posture
  • This study does support that we shouldn’t necessarily be afraid of lifting with a flexed spine
  • This study did not report injury risk

To support those conclusions, the group refer to other findings which have shown:

  • Lumbar spinal flexion is unavoidable when lifting from the ground, despite the outward appearance of a neutral spine
  • An actual “neutral spine” position or zone is unlikely to exist
  • “Correcting” spinal posture does not result in a reduced risk of injury

Your reply deserves a special salute! Thank you!


I just thought it was supposed to remain static regardless of posture until the last part of the lift.

But realistically, nobody ever tells you how to lift in a work scenario. :rofl: No one cares how, as long as they don’t have to.

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@j4gga2 is our resident amigo giving out oodles of free advice that he should be charging us for.

We love him.


This is probably why interventions where people are told how to lift result in no change to injuries or lifting technique :thinking:

:pleading_face: thanks guys, happy to help


Right. You can’t measure injuries that Haven’t happened, only the ones that have.