Dumping a Wheelbarrow without Injuring Your Back

1
Use Your Wheelbarrow with Good Body Mechanics

A girl is being wheeled around in a wheelbarrow.
A girl is being wheeled around in a wheelbarrow. redheadpictures/Cultura/Getty Images

 No matter what you're carting around in a wheelbarrow, using good body mechanics is a must.  Slide on for step by step instructions on how to use this piece of gardening equipment without straining your neck or back.

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Bend Down

Bend down to grasp the weight of the wheelbarrow from underneath.
Bend down to grasp the weight of the wheelbarrow from underneath. (c) Anne Asher 2007 Licensed to About.com

When your garden wheelbarrow is loaded with soil or other contents, and it is time to dump it out, play it smart by bending from the hips and knees before you lift. Don't use your spine for this. When you bend from the hips, you have the advantage of using very strong muscles to lift the load. By comparison, back muscles are much weaker; the structures of the spine is vulnerable to strain and injury.

Bending down will allow you to pick up the wheelbarrow from underneath, which is more efficient and will give you more leverage.

3
Switch Your Grip

An underhand grip will help avoid strain.
An underhand grip will help avoid strain. (c) Anne Asher 2007 Licensed to About.com

Now switch to an underhand grip. This will help you avoid wrist, arm, shoulder and neck strain when lifting the weight of the wheelbarrow straight up.

4
Begin to Straighten Up

(c) Anne Asher 2007 Licensed to About.com

Because you've bent from your hips and knees to lift the wheelbarrow, you now have the power of those muscles on your side. Begin to straighten your legs.

5
Empty the Wheelbarrow

Keeping a long spine when you bring the wheelbarrow all the way up will help avoid back strain.
Keeping a long spine when you bring the wheelbarrow all the way up will help avoid back strain. (c) Anne Asher 2007 Licensed to About.com

To empty the wheelbarrow, straighten all the way. Lean your weight forward onto your front leg. Keep a nice long line from your head, through your spine down to the very bottom (your coccyx bone). A long spine will help protect your back from injury and strain.

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Prevent Back Injury When You Use a Wheelbarrow - The Key

Representation of a potentially overloadable wheelbarrow.
Representation of a potentially overloadable wheelbarrow. Don Nichols/E+/Getty Images

The most important rule for saving your back when using wheelbarrows may be something you would prefer to ignore, but please don't: Do not overload the wheelbarrow. Overloading makes pushing harder, can cause you to strain your hips, and to lose your balance.

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