Proper Body Mechanics for Truck Drivers

2 big rigs

After a few years driving a truck every day, you may start feeling like you’ve been hit by one. Let’s face it, exercise, stretching, and physical activity is pretty limited when you’re in a cab for 14 hours a day. Feeling stiff and tight or living with a constant ache in your back and shoulders doesn’t have to be your reality. With a little information about posture and body mechanics, you can feel better than you have in years. Check out these tips.

Sitting Without Pain

Since most of what you’re doing is sitting, it’s important to do it in a way that doesn’t leave you sore at the end of a long day.

  • Keep your feet straight and parallel. Your right foot should be straight in line with the gas pedal, and your left foot should be forward (not back towards your seat causing your knee to drop).
  • Take your wallet out of your back pocket. Put it in your console instead. This will take pressure of your glutes and hips.
  • Sit all the way back in the seat. Your butt should fit snugly against the groove.
  • Improve your posture by squeezing your shoulder blades together, taking a deep breath, and releasing. You’ll automatically be sitting up straighter.

Watch this video by Apex Logistics to see what this looks like.

Lifting Correctly

When it’s finally time to load or unload your haul, make sure you’re lifting correctly to avoid injuries.

  • When lifting overhead, don’t let your shoulders creep up to your ears. Keep them down.
  • When pushing a load, keep your shoulders level and bend your legs.
  • Use the proper lifting method: stand close to the item, feet apart, toes out. Squat and lift with your back and shoulders straight, not hunched over.
  • Let your legs do most of the work when you pick something up.
  • When something is overhead, use a stool or ladder to reach it.
  • For heavier objects, work in two-person teams
  • Carry long objects on your shoulder.

Standing with Good Posture

Once you get out of the cab, after a long day or for a quick stop, take a few seconds to realign your body and maintain good posture. It’s very similar to what you do in the truck.

  • Stand up straight with feet parallel, not quite hip-width apart.
  • Squeeze your glutes and angle your hips forward.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades back and together.
  • Take a deep breath and exhale.

You’ll notice you’re automatically standing a little taller and any pressure on your back should be lessened.

It’s easy to overlook your physical health when the miles are rolling by and you’re worried about making your delivery time. With just a few adjustments, you can decrease the amount of pain you feel after a long day and prevent most of the injuries common to other long-term drivers.

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