If you have ever moved furniture or filled boxes, whether it be on your own or helping a friend, you know that it can be a very physical endeavour. In fact, many people throw out their back when moving, mainly because the furniture and other items are so heavy, but perhaps more importantly, they can also be tremendously awkward. Sometimes, it’s simply too difficult to maintain good lower back posture.
You may have heard old sayings about lifting technique like “lift with your legs”, “don’t carry as much and take more trips”, etc, but in reality, these tips can be impractical, especially considering the awkward design of lots of furniture. Moreover, moving typically involves lots of work, and regardless of how heavy things are, lots of repetitive lifting. It only takes a little bit of fatigue and a quick lapse in proper form to throw out your back and be laid up for days, sometimes with longer term problems continuing down the road.
While moving straps aren’t necessarily a cure-all, they are certainly worth considering if you are planning to move or to help someone move. Given the expenses that go with moving, such as a cube van, storage, food, cleaning, etc, you can still get a good pair of shoulder straps for moving without adding much at all to your budget. Aside from the affordability, they are effective enough that most moving companies will require their employees to wear moving straps at work, as they will drastically reduce the risk of injury, especially over the long term.
In this article, we will provide our picks for the best shoulder moving straps currently available, showing you a few different options that we think may be worth the consideration. Again, they are not guaranteed to keep you injury-free, but they certainly help reduce the load and torque on your spine and back muscles, which is one of the biggest things you can do to avoid lower back pain from moving.
The Shoulder Dolly two-person moving straps are one of the most popular choices for those who want to save their backs while moving furniture or other heavy, awkward objects. The straps go around your shoulder and lower back with a buckle hanging down in front of you. Another person opposite to you will have the same set-up, and you can run a strap between the two of you, which will ultimately be placed under the large object you are moving.
One thing we really like about these straps, and most straps that are out there, is that you can keep your arms and hands totally unconstrained, allowing you to guide, position, and even add a bit of lift to the object. The load is divided between two people, and having the straps around your shoulder with the force of the object pulling almost straight down will allow you to use your legs and keep your back nice and straight. By eliminating the need to reach your arms under the object and lifting from a deep squat, you minimize the lever arm from your lower back, which is highly effective in reducing the torque on your spine. You will still need to use your core muscles for stability, but your lower back muscles won’t need to work against huge resistance to actually pick up the object.
Overall, these straps are very well reviewed by customers, they are simple enough that really anyone can use them, yet they are still optimal in their design and effective in reducing the stress on your back. Compared to a lot of other popular straps, these Shoulder Dolly straps are a little more expensive, but still a very cheap price to pay when it comes to saving your health. For example, I was able to find these on Amazon for under $50, but I’m guessing that the price may fluctuate with time. In any case, I think they’re totally worth the slightly higher cost.
These moving straps are very similar to the Shoulder Dolly straps that we reviewed above. They are also a two-person moving system; however, instead of strapping around your shoulders, they actually go around your forearms. There are pros and cons to this type of design.
The pros: It’s a much more simple design, they are less than half the price of the Shoulder Dolly straps, and they can also reduce the stress on your lower back when moving furniture. In fact, the company states that they can make objects feel 66% lighter.
The cons: You are no longer hands-free, as the straps go around your forearms, and they don’t limit the amount of torque on your back to the same degree as the Shoulder Dolly straps, albeit they are still way better than not using straps at all. Also, if you want a strap that will extent between each person’s strapping system (like the Shoulder Dolly ones above), you will need to get that separately, but many customers have noted that they usually don’t find that necessary. I personally can’t provide any useful comment on that.
Overall, these are great straps that are highly affordable. They’re worth it for a single move, and for any straps, they’re always worth keeping around for anytime you need to move your stuff or help someone else move. While they don’t offer the same level of ergonomic ability as the first ones we highlighted, they still make it significantly easier to move heavy awkward objects around, even when going up an incline or a set of stairs. As a bonus, they come in a lot of different color schemes, so you can be fashionable while you move. I personally don’t care at all about the color, but to each their own.
These shoulder moving straps are very similar tot he Shoulder Dolly moving straps that we highlighted at the very top of this page. They work by the same mechanism: strapping around the shoulder and wrapping down around your lower back to meet at the buckles hanging down in front. The only noticeable difference in design is that these straps have two buckles in front, as opposed to one buckle in the middle where the straps come together. We won’t necessarily think this is either good or bad, but it does add one more step to the process.
On the other hand, for what is essentially the exact same design, you can get these straps for significantly cheaper than the Shoulder Dolly moving straps. Furthermore, you can often find deals where the company includes two pairs of gloves and a storage bag as well. As for the long term durability of these shoulder moving straps, we simply haven’t had the means to test them against the Shoulder Dolly straps at this point in time.
In case you’re worried about how to put them on, especially since there are two buckles instead of one, the company provides a detailed and easy-to-understand instruction manual. We have also provided a brief rundown of how to put on the straps below. Once you get them on properly the first time, it’s pretty easy to do again without even needing to look at the manual. The polyester fabric is strong, and appears to be durable, and they added a nice touch with extra long shoulder padding, which can really come in handy over the course of a full day of moving.
Overall, I would say these moving straps hold excellent value, and while the design of the Shoulder Dolly straps may be slightly more efficient, these will still be highly effective in getting the job done. The hold a big advantage over the forearm straps in that these will allow you to have your arms and hands more free to move, which can also make moving boxes and furniture over the course of the day way easier on you and your back.
If you are thinking ahead of ways you can save your back while moving heavy objects, then you are already on the right track to improving or maintaining your back health. While proper posture is always key, these types of straps offer a simple way to drastically reduce the load and torque on your back, while still allowing you to get on with your day and get the move over with. The above options can all be quite beneficial, and which moving straps you consider to be the best will depend on your personal preferences, as well as any pre-existing injuries. For example, if you have shoulder problems, it may be better to go with forearm straps. On the other hand, if you have arm problems, then it may be better to go with the shoulder moving straps to keep your arms and hands free to excessive force. At the end of the day, we are confident you will be able to find a solution that works, just make sure that you still practice proper lifting technique and posture!
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