Shovel Pain Free This Winter

As another winter season sets in here at the New Jersey shore (Bradley Beach), I see more and more people walking around the gym like there crippled because they hurt there back  shoveling  snow.

I am going to give you my top 4  shoveling  secrets today. These secrets are not just limited to snow, they apply to dirt, sand, and gravel as well. Furthermore, you never know when you are going to get snow as it snowed for the first time in 25 years in Las Vegas of all places.

1.) Don’t forget to warm up

Just as I do with every single client before a training session or a boot-camp class, perform a proper warm up that raises core temperature, excites the Central Nervous System, and stretches tight areas. The most common injuries I see are low back and shoulders and this is usually due to overly tight hips and chest.

Exercise#1- Reverse lunges (reach way back, chest up)

Exercise#2- Jumping jacks 3 ways (overhead, middle, low)

Exercise#3- 10 x push ups

Exercise#4- 10x squats

Exercise#5- Hip rolls (lay down face up knees together and let them fall to ground on both sides)

2.) Use a split stance when  shoveling 

The most common complaint of most people when  shoveling  is a sore/tight lower back. This usually is caused by tight hips causing too much flexion in the low back which leads to spasms and then possibly herniated discs. The warm up listed above will help. Also, try to split your stance with one foot forward, instead of keeping parallel feet. Make sure to alternate feet every so often and work both sides.

3.) Face your toes in the Direction that your  shoveling 

Even though you now have a split stance, the combination of back extension with rotation ( shovel  toss over shoulder) can leave you susceptible to injury. Minimize spinal rotation by pointing toes in the direction that your  shoveling .

4.)  Shovel  to both sides

Don’t just  shovel  to your strong side! By doing an equal amount to both sides, you are going a long way in preventing over use injuries and preventing the muscular and flexibility imbalances that are common place from  shoveling !

These tips will go a long way in preventing nagging injuries this time of year. Although its not fun to get hurt  shoveling , this type of injury is usually a sign being overweight, weak, and de-conditioned.