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8 Rules for Lifting a Heavy Box

Isabella Blake | Jun 18, 2020

Moving a heavy box is an important skill for any able-bodied person to have. It’s a necessity when moving when putting things in storage, or even when picking up a heavy package from your front porch.

While the process of moving a heavy box is easy, it’s also easy to hurt yourself if you do it improperly or make a mistake. Here are eight rules you should always follow when you have to lift a heavy box.

  1. Clear a path between the box and where you need to put it. This could be from the moving truck into your new home or into storage, or just from the front door to your living room. You will want to avoid tripping on anything left in that path, and as you carry a heavy box, you won’t be able to look at the floor.
  2. If possible, have an idea of how much the box weighs before you move it. If you packed it or know what’s in it, this should be easy enough.
  3. When it’s time to lift the box, straddle the front of it. Keep your legs apart and feet planted. You want your center of gravity and that of the box to be close. Squat down, keeping your back straight. Your legs will do the lifting. Grip the bottom of the box tightly.
  4. Again: lift with your legs! We really can’t repeat that enough. Your legs are stronger than your arms and back. Once you’re squatting and have a firm grip on the box, either with its handles or from the bottom, stand up straight.
  5. Hold the box at about waist level, and against your body. Don’t bend your arms too much. You may need to bend them slightly, but they should be mostly straight. 
  6. Your legs will do more than just the lifting, they’ll also do the turning. You want to keep your back straight. Do not twist your body. When you need to turn, do so in one spot, then proceed forward.
  7. Walk slowly, with smooth steps. Sudden movements can harm your body when you’re carrying something heavy. You can damage muscles, connective tissues, and bones.
  8. Ready to see the box down? Follow the same methodology you did to lift it but in reverse. Squat, set the box on the ground or another box, let go and step away.

Once you’ve lifted a few boxes this way, you’ll start to get the hang of it. However, it’s critical to stay focused even when you’re used to the process. Maintain awareness of what your body is doing. If you don’t have the strength to lift heavy boxes safely, get help from friends and family, or hire movers.

Unsure if your helpers know how to lift properly? That’s all right. Ask them, and show them this article to make certain. Finally, if you or anyone helping you gets hurt while lifting, make sure you, or they, see a doctor.