Work Life: How To Maintain Your Back Health

Barbering looks easy to the casual observer. You just stand in the same spot and talk to people all day.

Photo Credit: Scott Webb

Well, it is a much harder job than most people realize. It is quite exhausting especially in a busy shop with little time to get off of your feet, and really there are many jobs in which people find themselves standing all day and it can take its toll.

Barbers for example, almost always finish their careers with bad knees, wrists and of course, backs. All that standing in one spot looks easy but it is really bad on your knees and back.

In this article, we will go over the ways to keep your back healthy and strong so you can work as long as you want, or retire still intact.


Get mats


Shoes with nice cushioned soles are great but the real hero is going to be your mat. If you’ve ever seen rubber gym flooring, then you know the type of mat I am talking about. 

These mats will support your weight and distribute it so there is less pressure on your lower back. They also feel comfortable. There is a huge difference between standing on a hard floor and standing on one of these rubber mats. 

Your back is not the only beneficiary. You’ll also feel less fatigue in your feet and knees.


Replace your mattress


The right mattress is vitally important for people who work on their feet all day like barbers, bartenders and cooks. 

The wrong mattress can actually make it harder to keep your back in good shape. Get a mattress that will conform to your body’s contours while still resisting enough to give you support.

Your spine should be in perfect alignment no matter what your preferred sleep position. The right mattress firmness is a matter of personal preference, but usually, medium-firm is good for a bad back. 


Keep your chair the right height


Your chair should be at a height where the clients head is about even with your line of sight. You shouldn’t have to ever bend over when you are cutting hair.

Bending over a lot during the day will cause your back to be strained and end up causing problems. Barbers chairs are adjustable so lift your shorter clients up. 

At the same time, your taller clients will have you stretching your arms up to cut their hair. This may not strain your back so much, but it does cause fatigue. 


Do the right exercises


Having good core strength is essential for keeping your back healthy as a barber. TO strengthen it, you’ll need to do exercises that are suited for that.

The plank is one of the best exercises to build up your core. It is especially good for those that don’t have a ton of mobility. Just rest on your forearms and then stretch out as straight as you can and keep yourself up on your toes until you resemble a plank.

Yoga is also a great idea because the stretching will keep your spine aligned and will keep you much more limber in the short and long term.


So no matter what job you have, if it involves a lot of standing, make sure you take care of yourself and make your work environment as comfortable as possible, after all, it’s the only body you get.

Mark Munroe is the Creator and EIC of ADDICTED. He's ADDICTED to great travel, amazing food, better grooming & probably a whole lot more!