How To Protect Your Core When Picking Things Up

Mom and Daughter Picking Things Up

One truth of parenting…you are always picking things up!

The way you pick things up can either help, or hurt, your core strength, back health, and diastasis recti healing.

In this post, I’m sharing simple movement tips to protect your core (and back) when picking things up.

The Way You Move Impacts Your Core Health

Many women struggle with ongoing core weakness after birth. If you have an ongoing abdominal separation (diastasis recti), the connective tissue that connects the two sides of the abdominals will also be weak.

Poor movement patterns (e.g. movements that squash the belly) can keep the core weak, cause back pain, and prevent a diastasis from healing.

Conversely, improving your daily movement patterns can create and reinforce core strength and healing.

So, let’s make sure you are picking up #allthethings in the best way possible.

Three Movement Strategies For Picking Things Up

Movement Strategy 1: The Hip Hinge

This tip is for when you are picking things up from tables, counters, and lower surfaces.

Don’t try to use this movement for picking things up off the floor. Very few people are able to maintain proper alignment while hinging all the way to reach the ground!

Hip Hinge

To perform the hip hinge:

  • Picture a bar in front of your hip joints.
  • Soften your knees slightly
  • As you bend, imagine hinging your upper body over the bar.
  • Maintain a straight back, and allow your glutes and hamstrings to stretch just a bit.
  • Only go as far as you can maintain a straight back. If your low back starts rounding, you’ve hit your limit!

This movement protects the core, strengthens the glutes and back, and gently stretches the hamstrings…all while keeping your core healthy and safe!

Movement Strategy 2: The Hinge/Squat Combo

For picking one or two items up off the floor, try the hinge/squat combo.

Hinge/Squat Combo

To perform this movement:

  • Follow the steps above to begin the hip hinge.
  • When you get to a point where you find your back rounding, or the backs of the legs can’t stretch any further, begin adding in the squat movement.
  • Shift your weight toward your heels as you bend the knees deeply.
  • Send the butt back in space and don’t let your knees come forward of the toes.

    This movement strengthens the back and glutes, while keeping the core safe.

    Movement Strategy 3: Drop Down To Kneeling

    If you have a lot of things to pick up off the floor, try dropping down to kneeling.


    To perform this movement:

    • Simply take one knee then the other down to the floor.
    • As you pick items up, try to use the hip hinge techniques with the upper body.
    • It can be helpful to use a laundry basket to help you gather all the items.
    • Once all are gathered, grab the basket and stand up one leg at a time.

      Follow these tips and your core will be healthier, your back happier, and you will feel less exhausted at the end of the day.

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