Every year on the first heavy snowfall, thousands of committed citizens dust off the shovel and proceed to perform an intense weightlifting workout in their driveway.
Weight lifting is an excellent form of exercise, with proper progression and practice. The problem with snow-shoveling is that it’s HARD, and nobody trains for it. So, here are some things to know and some tips to prevent injury during this strenuous activity.
Shoveling is tough because you’re positioned in a bent position, then add weight and rotation. Plus, most people will only do it unilaterally on their dominant side, so it’s extra work on only one side.
Avoid injury and improve your shoveling by following these guidelines:
Adjust your body mechanics
- Bend from your hips (push your butt back) rather than from your back
- Pick up smaller amounts with wet, slushy (heavy) snow
- Switch sides frequently to distribute the workload
- Use alternate techniques when possible, like pushing the shovel along for light snow coverings
Monitor your exertion
- If you don’t exercise regularly, jumping into a strenuous activity can be a lot for the cardiovascular system. Give your heart and lungs a break by breaking up a large driveway into multiple shorter sessions of shoveling.
Prepare your body for the snow-shoveling season
- Ball Over Head
- Paloff Press
- Paloff Press with Rotation
- Side Planks
Squats and/or Lunges
- 4 Way Lunges
If you feel unprepared, apprehensive, or have a back injury that tends to be aggravated with bending and twisting motions, it might be a good idea to outsource. Find a neighborhood service or young person who could use the extra cash and has been working on their shoveling skills anyway.