Today, I want to share with you the basic ergonomics, useful when carrying your instrument, the schoolbag or any load. Yes, the protagonist of this article is going to be your back, which will support the structure of your body throughout your life.

In fact, carrying weight without control causes problems in bones, ligaments and muscles… not only of your back, but also of your feet, which are the last ones holding your body. Let’s start!

These are the five basic ideas not to overload your back:

1. Always both straps

Always use the two straps of your case or backpack/bag/case. If you only hang one, you will be the ideal candidate for muscle contractures, back pain or tingling and feeling of ‘sleeping muscles’.

2. The neck is what suffers the most

A key that helped me a lot personally was that the shoulders are designed to withstand weight, but the neck is not.
Sometimes cellists move the straps of the case a little upwards, because of the shape of the instrument, with which the weight is diverted to the neck. This fact creates contractures.
I have also learned that women tend to have smaller shoulders, so we have to watch the weight distribution much more.

3. Carry 15% of your weight

Maybe you’re wondering how much weight your shoulders can support: ideally, 10% -15% of our own weight. For example, if you weigh 65kg, your nature will allow you to transport from 6.5 to 9.75kg.

4. Hold your chest and waist

The straps must be wide, padded and strong enough. Adjust them to fit them on the back, but not so tense that they prevent the contact in the lower back, so they overload the shoulders. Starting at 5kg of load, use straps at chest and waist.

5. Lumbar and lower back

The case should not be too high (preventing the contact with your lumbar area) or too low (so that it rests on the prominence of the buttocks, and avoids contact with the back). Make sure the base of the case is in the upper part of the buttocks (thus transferring the weight to the pelvis).

The inside is (also) important

It is important to know the design of the case on the outside, but also on the inside.

  • The base of the case should be slightly inclined and sturdy, to ensure that the weight is distributed correctly. Place the major weights near the back and symmetrically.
  • You must have different compartments to sort the interior, so that it does not move, or moves anything inside. Apart from that it is uncomfortable to hear continuous strokes, it is dangerous if you carry an instrument.
  • The backrest should be padded or semi-soft and adaptable to your back. The padding should always be breathable.

Few more highlights for children

Children are still in development, so they have to be very careful when carrying instruments or school bags. These are some useful additional guidelines for them:

The backpack should not stand out on the sides of his/her back. Oval top bags are better than the square ones. This fact will help them develop their shoulders correctly.

They are always running and playing, so it is better that their backpacks do not have cords or accessories that hang, to avoid accidents. In addition, it is a good idea to wear a reflective accessory on the outside, so they can be easily seen in winter.

Finally, I would suggest you to help them check every day what they carry in their school bags or musical cases, so that they load just what they need.

I want you to keep this in mind

These are the key points of this post:

  1. Hold the case in contact with your lower back (never above) and with the upper part of your buttocks (never below)
  2. Use the fasteners on the chest and waist to move the load closer to your body
  3. Hold tight your instrument inside, and better if it does not exceed 15% of the total weight of your body

The main source of information for this study is the Healthy Back project. This project was aimed at designing the best possible school bag for children, with the help of doctors. I show you an article if you want to know more. And remember, sport and rest help us live better :)