The Biomechanics of Bending: Saving America’s Spines

Have Americans lost the art of bending? The way we bend can put undue strain on our backs. When picking an article up from the floor, most Americans look down, bend at waist and reach towards the floor. This causes the back to form an unnatural curve like the letter “C” and is commonly referred to as a “Waist Bend.” Waist bending puts stress on the disks in the spine, which can lead to injury and pain.

In many other countries, people bend differently than Americans. This can be seen in photos from around the world. Men and women are bent over performing tasks, but their backs are straight, almost parallel to the ground. This type of bending at the hips is called “Hip Hinging” or “Table Bending.” With table bending, the spine stays in a neutral position allowing the larger hip and leg muscles to support the body’s weight.

To find out more, about the Biomechanics of Bending, listen to the interesting NPR Health News audio segment above or check out the accompanying article on NPR.

How To “Hip Hinge” or “Table Bend”

  1. Place your feet about 12 inches apart.
  2. Keep your back straight.
  3. As you bend your knees, allow your pubic bone to move backward.
  4. Fold over by allowing your pubic bone to slide through your legs, down and back.

Click here for more info and a visual demo.

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