Body Mechanics Basics

Body mechanics involves the utilization of correct muscles to complete a task safely and efficiently, without undue strain of any muscle or joint. Some principles of good body mechanics include:

Maintain a stable center of gravity

The center of gravity is the theoretical point around which one’s body weight is evenly distributed. It shifts with each movement, and is also affected by lifting or carrying loads. Generally speaking, a woman’s center of gravity when standing is in her pelvis, and is slightly lower than a man’s center of gravity. Center of gravity is important because it affects balance and stability.

To maintain a stable center of gravity – which allows you to minimize the risk of injury – be sure to:

  • Keep your back straight
  • Bend at the knees and hips, not the waist
  • Keep your center of gravity low to increase your stability
  • If you are lifting or carrying something, keep it close to your body and as close as possible to your body’s natural center of gravity.
Hold close to bodyCenter of gravityWide stance

Maintain a wide base of support

  • Keep your feet apart (a wide, scissored stance)
  • Place one foot slightly ahead of the other
  • Flex your knees to absorb jolts

Maintain the line of gravity (an imaginary vertical line extending from your center of gravity down into the Earth)

  • Keep your back straight
  • Turn or pivot with your feet, rather than twisting at the waist. This is especially important while lifting!

Keep your elbows tucked in close to your body

Good posture

Maintain proper body alignment (good posture)

  • Tuck in your buttocks
  • Pull your abdomen in and up
  • Keep your back flat
  • Keep your head up
  • Keep your chin in
  • Keep your weight toward and supported on the outside of your feet



Keep your joints in a neutral (non-bent) position

Straight wrist

Use of a Motus T grip on the end of a hoe