Forearm Moving Straps vs. Shoulder Moving Straps: Which Is Best for Gals on the Go?
If you’re a woman who lives alone or with roommates, you have specific needs when you move. You probably need more help than the average bro lugging bulky items like furniture, mattresses and boxes full of books. I’m not saying you’re a dainty lady who can’t lift her own stuff; as a woman who bounced around to a new place every year in my twenties, I’ve lifted my fair share of thrift-shop furniture up and down countless staircases. But a little extra help never hurts.
That’s why the My Move team wanted to find moving tools that can help women with the most grueling part of a move: lifting and carrying. We bought two kinds of moving straps—forearm moving straps and shoulder moving straps—and conducted a test here at our office to see which ones were easier to use by two fit (but by no means bodybuilding) women.
Walk Like an Egyptian: The Science of Moving Straps
First, let’s understand the science behind moving straps. Moving straps employ leverage to make the items you’re carrying seem lighter. The lever is one of six simple machines identified by Renaissance scientists, along with the wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, wedge and screw. The straps, acting as levers, amplify input force to provide greater output force. The ancient Egyptians used fulcrum levers to move and uplift obelisks weighing more than 100 tons. Ladies, if a lever could lift a 100-ton obelisk, one just might lift your shoe collection!
We found two similar but different moving straps for sale online: those that rest on your forearms and those that are worn like a harness on your shoulders and around your back.
Test 1: Forearm Moving Straps
I ordered the Forearm Forklift® by Above All forearm moving straps from Amazon.com for $19.73 plus shipping and handling; of course I opted for the pink breast-cancer awareness model. Nicole and I, with help from our photographer, Jessica, laid out the two straps underneath a couch according to the instructions. We inserted our hands into the loops until the straps fit on our forearms. When we lifted, both from our knees and slightly from our backs, our first reaction was, “Wow that’s easy!” We walked to the other end of the yard, and while the couch was easy to lift, by the time we arrived to our destination my forearms were showing signs of soreness.
Then we positioned the straps crosswise underneath the couch (per the instructions) and tipped the couch onto its side to demonstrate what we’d have to do to get the couch up a narrow three-story walkup, like my home in Boston’s South End. Because of the uneven distribution of weight—that’s me in the yellow, below, struggling with the heavier side of the couch, while Nicole looks so darn cute supporting the lighter side—this was no easy task. This position was awkward; I don’t recommend attempting it unless you have Super-Woman strength. I almost got a kink in my neck.
Test 2: Shoulder Moving Straps
Our shoulder moving straps, also ordered on Amazon.com, are made by Shoulder Dolly and cost $39.99 plus shipping and handling. They come with two harnesses, two buckles and a wide strap that goes underneath the object being moved.
Once we mounted the harnesses over our shoulders, we placed the wide strap under the couch and inserted the ends through our respective silver buckles, adjusting the length to a comfortable tug.
We lifted at the knees up and back, instantly noticing the difference of our center of gravity with these moving straps versus that while using the forearm straps: it was higher and backward, compared to our having to slightly lean forward and over with the forearm straps. We discovered the Baby Björn of moving straps.
The shoulder moving straps were more comfortable than the forearm straps and made lifting and walking much easier. You can balance the object on the thick strap using your hands to guide and correct it. For a short time I was able to use no hands! Walking was easier, too, because my knees weren’t hitting the couch. It was easier to use the strength of my core rather than my weaker forearms. We were even able to pick Jessica up while she sat on the couch!
The shoulder moving straps were the clear winner.
Moving Straps: The Bottom Line
The takeaway from this experiment is that forearm moving straps are better than using nothing for your move, but shoulder straps really make moving heavy and awkward items a lot easier. Like with the forearm moving straps, you’ll need to corral a roommate, girlfriend or even a handsome neighbor to help you move your stuff. But once you do, the shoulder moving straps make it much easier on your back and arms to lift and carry your stuff. They’re well worth the extra $20!