Behind the Curve

Got back pain? It could be because you’re not bending over properly.

While in Liberia, journalist Michaeleen Doucleff noticed that women bent over flat-backed and parallel to the ground when gardening. This “table bending” approach, she learned, is the result of “hip hinging,” a method of engaging the leg muscles to bend over that protects the spine. Americans, especially those with tight hamstrings, tend to bend at the stomach, which curves the spine and puts pressure on discs—causing pain or even slippage over time.

But it’s not too late to learn how to table—the article contains a handy GIF of proper hip hinging technique.

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