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9 Best Exercises Before Shoveling Snow

Use These 9 Essential Exercises Before Shoveling Snow To Reduce Back Pain & Prevent Injuries. Warm Up Your Body & Use The Right Lifting Techniques To Make Shoveling Snow Safe & Productive.

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Have you ever injured your back while shoveling snow? According to the MayoClinic, 80% of people will experience low back pain in their lifetime. 1 in 4 people have experienced low back pain in the last three months.1

Shoveling snow involves heavy lifting in cold conditions. When exercising in the cold, your muscles contract and tighten up, making them prone to injury. Without a proper warm-up and lifting technique, you risk being another “back-pain” statistic and having an uncomfortable rest of the week.

We’ve created a guide of 9 essential back-saving exercises to do before shoveling snow. Use this guide as a warm-up before going out in the cold and remember to follow these important lifting techniques when shoveling:

  • Bend from the knees, tighten the abs and engage your core.
  • Lift using your legs while keeping the back straight.
  • Pivot with the back foot when rotating to toss the snow (keep the abs engaged).
  • If the snow is deep, scoop from the top first, then work your way down.

9 Essential Exercises Before Shoveling Snow:

  1. Piriformis Stretch (20s hold each side)
  2. Hamstring Release (30s to 2min hold each spot)
  3. Open/Close The Book (5-10 reps each side)
  4. Calf Stretch (20s hold each side)
  5. Childs Pose Lat Stretch (20s hold each side)
  6. Pec Door Stretch (20s hold)
  7. Side Lean Stretch (20s hold each side
  8. Bridges (20 reps, 3s hold up)
  9. Squat Chop (1 min)

1. Piriformis Stretch

Lay on the ground, face up, and pull the knee to the opposite shoulder. Feel this stretch in the upper part of the butt. Hold for 20 seconds on each side.

2. Hamstring Release

This requires a ball (i.e. softball, baseball, tennis ball). Sit on a chair with the legs hanging off. Place a ball under one of the legs starting on the outside of the upper leg (hamstring). Press into the leg and find a spot that has pain (we do not want sharp/tingling pain or numbness). Hold the ball on the painful spot until the pain decreases. Then move the ball up the back of the leg towards the center until you find a new spot of pain. Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes until the muscle releases and pain decreases. 

3. Open/Close The Book

Lay on your side with the knees bent. Place the hand closest to the floor on top of the knees to hold them down. Place the top hand behind your head. “Open the book” by bringing your top elbow and shoulder behind your head towards the ground – feel a stretch in your low back. Then “close the book” bringing the elbow back to the starting position. Complete for 5-10 reps on each side.

4. Calf Stretch

Place a foam roller, book or bottle against the wall. Place your foot over the elevated surface while keeping the heel on the ground. Push your hips forward (keeping the back straight) & feel a stretch in the calves. Hold for 20 seconds on each side.

5. Childs Pose Lat Stretch

Start in a kneeling position on the ground. Walk your hands out forward while pushing your butt back against the heels. With the arms fully extended, walk both hands to the side and feel a stretch down the side of your back. Hold for 20 seconds on each side.

6. Pec Doorway Stretch

Place both hands on a doorframe with the elbows bent. Lean forward and feel a stretch in your chest. Hold for 20 seconds. 

7. Side Lean Stretch

Stand with your left leg crossed in front of the right leg. Lift your right arm up and over your head, leaning to the side. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side. 

8. Bridges

Lay on the ground, facing up. Bring the feet close to your butt. Squeeze the abs & push the butt into the air while squeezing the butt. Then lower down to the ground slowly. Hold up for 3 seconds and Repeat for 20 reps. 

9. Squat Chop

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a weight (dumbbell, backpack, book) with the arms straight in front. Lower down into a squat with the abs engaged, then stand up while pivoting the back foot and rotating to the side (keeping the arms straight). Return to the squat position. Repeat by alternating on each side for 1 minute. 

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