New findings published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy suggest that neither lifting with a straight or bent back resulted in a higher chance of injury.
“There is no evidence that lifting with a flexed or round back increases your risk of back pain,” said Professor Peter O’Sullivan, who co-led the study.
But researchers stress that their paper doesn't mean one form is safer than another. Rather, there is not enough evidence to suggest that lifting with a straight back is more risk-free.
There is a caveat however: studies have not been done on lifting weights heavier than 12 kilograms.
Other experts aren't surprised with the verdict.
“We have known this for decades. The emphasis on keeping the back straight is a bit of a dogma that’s lasted through the ages. It’s like the idea you should sit bolt upright at a computer – that’s not true either,” says David Hall, a work safety expert and spokesman for the Australian Physiotherapy Association, speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald.
While the results are comforting, this certainly isn't a licence to stray away from good form in the quest to shift more tin. Isolating muscles without recruiting your back will help deliver more gains.