Tips for Shoveling Snow
This is a re-post from a few years ago.
During a snowfall predicted to be more than 5 inches, consider going out mid-snowfall and doing one round of shoveling.
Feel free to contact me should you want a personalized shoveling lesson.
February 7, 2014
New England in the winter…….Here are some helpful hints for shoveling:
For a deep or heavy snowfall, it is better to shovel in layers: Shovel only the top few inches first, and then the bottom half. Although this may at first seem like a lot more work, your body will be happier after you are all finished.
Choose your stance with care: I suggest a parallel stance, with your toes and knees facing directly ahead, and your heels directly behind. Widen your stance so your legs and feet are slightly wider than your sitz bones, perhaps as wide as the outer edge of your shoulders. Place one foot/leg slightly ahead of the other, about a half of one of your foot length’s distance.
Shoveling in this manner will create a bend and release at the knee joint – a bend at the knee is really also a bend at the hip joint, and in this case also at the ankle joint – and a slight rocking motion as you will be shifting your weight forward onto the front foot and backward onto the back foot.
Holding your shovel and standing in the stance described above, shift your weight a bit to the back foot and as you come forward to the front foot, slide your shovel into the snow (remember, attempting to lift 6 inches of heavy snow at once is not desirable). Shift your weight towards the back foot, allowing the snow-filled shovel to move back with you. “Steer” or direct the shovel to a slight upward diagonal, shifting your weight forward again as you “toss” the snow.
It is okay to let the back heel come off the ground a bit as you shift forward/front toes come off a bit as you shift backward. It is okay to widen your stance left-right or front back . You may want to practice this slight rocking before you begin shoveling.
As for how to hold the shovel, and the best positioning for your upper body: It is best to keep your knees, hips, ribs, and shoulders facing the same direction (front, or as close to it as possible) as much as you can. Tossing the snow over your shoulder behind you isn’t what I am describing. Tossing the snow in front of you and perhaps a bit to the side front diagonal is. You might want to position yourself so that rather than standing sideways to the snow you will be shoveling, you are on a slight diagonal to it.
Switch the side you hold the shovel on frequently, with the arm of the side of your body the shovel is on highest on the shovel handle (if the shovel is on the right side of your body, the right arm should be higher). Notice if you tend to use mostly the same arm for strength and steering, and if so, try to actively engage the less used arm .
Use your arms, not your wrists, to lift and toss the snow. Keep a fairly straight back! Use your abdominals (more about that in future posts)! Use your back muscles! Use your feet! “Use” does not mean “clutch rigidly”; it means engage and support.
Let me know how this works for you.
Sorry I did not get this out sooner... I was busy shoveling......