Picking up groceries or heavy boxes without aggravating your back should be no trouble if you work on improving core stability, hip mobility, and lower body strength. When you're lacking any of these, though, the teeny tiny muscles of your lower back (called erector spinae, because they're responsible for holding your spine erect) fire up, which is a bad thing because they simply are not strong enough to do heavy lifting. Then, you pay the painful price!

Here's why these three functions are the building blocks for healthy lifting, plus three exercises that will give you the foundation to pick up anything without killing your back. 

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