Printer-friendly version

Pull your Suitcase (or Cello case) Better

Kayleigh Miller

Written by
Published: January 10, 2015 at 3:59 PM [UTC]

So I spent a little extra time in an airport last week, and in between walking laps for fun (when my flight was delayed), I watched people carry their belongings. Some push their rolling suitcases, some drag their bags, some push on carts, but one thing that worries me is how your shoulder is involved in PULLING a bag on wheels (This includes cello cases and other rolling objects). Last month I covered how carrying things (cases, purses,etc,) affects us, so let's look at how pulling things can affect us. Basically, you can pull with the palm of your hand facing forward (shoulder externally rotated) or thumb towards your hip, palm facing back (shoulder internally rotated).

Now theoretically, all movements of the shoulder are valid, but given our habits of poor posture, and internally rotated shoulders, most of us should not be pulling weight in internal rotation. Musicians already are prone to nerve impingement and other maladies, simply from overuse, misuse, and abuse, but we don't think about how we carry our instruments that often. Pulling your case with your shoulder externally rotated is the most stable and supported position for the shoulder. Period. That means thumbs out to the sides, palms forward. Sustained pulling in internal rotation, especially when coupled with misalignment and shoulder shrugging = possible pain in the shoulder and neck.
best way to carry
It sounds super simple and almost silly to bring up, but this above image shows a good way to pull a case with the shoulder in external rotation. I realize this is perhaps one of the least popular topics to discuss, but quite practical, seeing as most people in airports are juggling a suitcase, a cell phone, a small child, a purse, and a bag of food. Trust me, you don't want to be googling the question "I hurt myself pulling a suitcase (or carrying a handbag). " (There's not a lot of resources for that, by the way). Notice that this couple, with their matching orange lego suitcases, have different pulling techniques.
The woman on the left is pulling in internal rotation, and the person on the right is pulling in external rotation. They both have purses/crossbody bags, so who's going to have a happier shoulder at the end of the travel day? Person on the right, for the win! Try both positions the next time you travel (or pull your case) and see how each positions affects your strength, your posture, and your ability to pull.

You might also like:

Posted on January 12, 2015 at 8:42 PM
i ABSOLUTELY positively can't stand the completely unergonomic yet over-styled crap out there.

It isn't binary actually. There are infinite other angles between these two but the equipment is ill-equipped to give that option.

Good of you to bring the subject up!

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

ARIA International Summer Academy

Austin Chamber Music Center Coltman Competition

Metzler Violin Shop

Bein & Company

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

String Masters

Bobelock Cases

Things 4 Strings LLC



Sleepy Puppy Press

Jargar Strings

J.R. Judd Violins, LLC

Southwest Strings

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine