Biomechanics of Lift and Carry | Who has the Advantage?

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Biomechanics of lift and carry, women lifting men

If you ever frequent yourself with forums such as saradas. One of the most popular questions you will ever read concerning lift and carry is, “are taller women better at lift and carry than smaller women?” Today we address this train of thought, particularly discussing how height may be relevant to each lift. Giving an insight to the advantages or disadvantages of the biomechanics of Lift and Carry.

What is the best height for lift and carry?

There is no definitive answer to this question, the reason is being because there are several variations of lift and carry (fireman lift, cradle carry, piggy back). And, with each lift comes its own set of obstacles to overcome when performing the lift. For instance, there is also two people involved in the lift, unlike traditional strength feats where an obstacle of certain dimensions is lifted. Rarely do the dimensions of that obstacle change in strength feats, meaning that the set up for the lift rarely changes.

Lift and carry however is a whole different ball game. For example a female measuring 5 ft 5 inches tall, could have a client book a lift and carry session measuring 6 ft tall, weighing 185lbs. As you can visualize the client is tall and slim in stature, while the female is much smaller. Due to the client being tall, this is actually not a disadvantage, quiet the opposite in fact. As, when performing a cradle carry and initiating the lift from the floor, with a taller client, this means that the female does not have to bend over as much, due to the extended leg length of the client. This places less load upon the back and the female who should be able to set a strong starting position.

A little of topic but relevant, now imagine the same scenario with a tall female as the lifter and a tall client. The female due to her height will have to bend over further to reach the starting position of the lift. This can have negative effect by placing additional load onto the spine.

In both cases each lifter has be trained in how to load the spine prior to commencing the lift. The first scenario would be a better set up with less risk of injury, however both girls are able to pull of the move successfully.

Challenging circumstances

Now imagine two girls, who have lift and carry sessions booked, both living at either sides of the world. One session wrestler is 6ft 2 inches tall amazon with long arms and legs that seem to go on forever. The other session wrestler is 5ft 4 inches tall, with legs and arms in proportion to her body, but has small hands.

The client in question for both girls measures 5 ft 5 inches tall and weighs 200lbs. Both girls have lifted this weight before in previous sessions, however, the previous client weighing 200lbs was a lot taller.

Can height be an advantage?

Here is when height can become more of a derivative factor in regards to lift and carry. The smaller girl will have the advantage when performing most of the lifts due to her height, meaning that she will not have to bend over or crouch down as low to initiate the lifts. However, remember the client is small and overweight, so the width and circumference of the client is a lot greater than that of the taller slimmer client.

This can cause a serious problem if the session wrestler cannot manage to wrap her arms around the client. This would very likely be the case in the cradle carry, so the taller girl with longer arms would have the advantage here of being able to scoop her client up into her arms. Meanwhile the smaller girl could have difficulty due to the length of her arms and at the same time having smaller hands.

Hopefully now you can see that lift and carry is quite a complex subject. Meaning there is not just one answer fits all, to the question “are taller women better at lift and carry than smaller women?”

Biomechanics of Lift and Carry

If we come away briefly from the topic of lift and carry and look at the traditional deadlift. Just like lift and carry, there is height advantages and disadvantages to performing the traditional deadlift. This time we are referring to an obstacle that cannot increase in size, just weight. Its all about lever length. For example, you have a male this who is 5 ft 8 inches tall with long legs and short arms. His torso is also a little longer in length giving him a long spine.

You would assume that not being tall would have the advantage, however this is not the case. As the lifter has short arms a long torso and long legs. The biomechanics of this lifter would not be advantageous to the traditional deadlift. Meaning he will have to tilt and hinge at the hips more to be able to reach the bar, placing additional load onto the spine.

Each individual had their own advantages and disadvantages

So, what is the ideal biomechanics for the deadlift? A lifter with short legs and long arms is at an advantage, when performing the deadlift. This is because it enables the lifter to reach the bar without having to tilt over as much as the lifter with short arms and long legs. This in turn will keep the torso more upright, placing less load onto spine. This type of set up is ideal for performing the deadlift.

Overall, there are many points to consider when talking about the biomechanics of lift and carry. Particularly when relating to the object / client changing in question. For this reason it would be extremely difficult to say YES to taller or smaller women being better at lift and carry, as this would not be the case.

Each session wrestler faces their own challenges when it comes to lift and carry. Every session comes with its own advantages and disadvantages unique to each lift. With much experience over the years, I am sure many of the girls have it down to a fine art. Knowing what is, or is not realistic to do in a session. One thing for sure though guys, is be sure to always be honest about your weight 😉

3 COMMENTS

  1. As probably one of the larger men involved in lift and carry this is a very good subject. I am 6’2″ and close to 300lbs and have been lifted (mostly shoulder rides) by a variety of women of different sizes,I have had ladies ranging in size from 5′ 1 and 135lbs to 5’10” and 200lbs and have found the technique of both the lifter and liftee play a much bigger part then the pure size of the lifter. Most people being lifted don’t realize how much their balance factors into the success of the actual lift.

    • Hi,

      Interesting point you bring to the table, you are very much so correct in that people’s balance can also effect lifts. Sometimes I find that if the person being lifted leans back two much or sways it can cause you to feel a bit unstable, especially with the shoulder ride!

      Thank You very much for your comment and i hope you enjoyed the article!

      S x

      • I did enjoy this and your other articles on lift and carry, thank you for writing them and I look forward to reading more on this subject from a ladies perspective. This is a topic I could discuss in length but don’t want to hijack your comment section, please feel free to use the email provided if you would like to discuss this or any other topic on lift and carry further.

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