You didn't think you were going to get out of this winter without having to shovel some snow did you?
Before you get started here's a few tips that can keep you from becoming a statistic...
Every year there are thousands of back, shoulder, and knee injuries caused by shoveling, or caused by improper or inefficient shoveling.
Injuries are one thing but shoveling also causes over 100 deaths every year. Most of those actually could have been prevented..
Here's how I suggest you get some serious work done while keeping yourself out of the ER...
1) It seems silly but do a proper Warm-Up!
2) Use Intraworkout Resets to improve efficiency, mobility, and strength
3) Use a 1:1 work to rest ratio
4) Use proper form
Proper warm up...
A proper warm is one that adequately prepares you for the task ahead. In this case and generally it should be multiplanar and dynamic, because shoveling works in all three planes of motion, through all joint angles, and requires specifically a lot of hip mobility, shoulder mobility, and rotation power from the hips and upper back.
Before you go out and tackle your driveway do this:
- Neck Circles x 10 each direction (limited range of motion in the neck can show up as pain in the shoulders and elbows) work the neck!
- Arm Circles x 10 forward and 10 backward
- Alternating Toe Touches x 10 each side
- Hip Circles x 10 each way
- Air Squats x 10
- Lunges x 10 each Side
- Lateral Lunges x 10
At Underground Athlete we swear by intraworkout resets, but they don't have to be abandoned just because you're not in the gym. Intraworkout resets are just a light exercise used in between sets of a more taxing exercise with the purpose of activating or mobilizing body parts or movements that will help make the exercise easier. Here are a couple intraworkout resets you could use that would help your shoveling..
Take a time out while your shoveling and throw these into the wintry mix...
I like to make shoveling actually count as one of my workouts so I warm up and then do the first couple of minutes HiiT style with a 1:1 Ration. Do this by shoveling hard for 60 seconds and then rest for 60 seconds. Do 5-10 rounds this way. Next maintain a heart rate of 120-150bpm as you tackle the rest. This is what's called cardiac output. This threshold training followed by cardiac output is a great way increase fatty acid mobilization and oxidation.. ie wake up fat and get rid of it.
Who doesn't want to get rid of fat and get rid of snow at the same time??
You've heard it before I'm sure, "use your legs." Maybe a better thing to say is "don't round your back." Most people get lazy and move things just as the sit... relaxed with a rounded back. Moving a bunch of snow this way will ensure you don't get off the couch tomorrow. Bend the knees, push your hips back, maintain a neutral spine, and when you toss the snow make sure you rotate from the hips and not your lower back. A lot of people injure their backs because they crank through excessive rotation when the low back should really only rotate 15 degrees. The rest of the rotation should be coming from the hips and the upper back. Using good form also means bracing the "core" properly. To do this take a big belly breath in when you get under the snow. Hold your breath and your belly tight as you lift up and breathe out as you throw the snow 50ft over your shoulder 🙂
Tension is what keeps you safe in a heavy squat or deadlift and it's what's going to keep you from wrecking your back shoveling snow too.
Stay warm. Stay safe. Stay strong.