A Gardeners Work Out

It felt so good to be outside yesterday in the warm sunshine. I set up a piece of plywood on a few 5 gallon pails beside the Heartworks Shop and took my project and hand sander out to soak it all up. Even though I had raised my work surface for my vertically challenged 5′ 1″ frame, I was quickly aware that my work surface was still too low for proper work ergonomics and I was feeling my back. I adjusted my form, engaged my abs and thought of the gardening workout I had created for myself. I was going to start it March 1…7 days ago! C R A P!! How does time slip away so fast?! No worries, I thought, tomorrow is a fresh new day and if I wake up on the right side of the sod, I will begin.

And voila, I woke up on the right side of the sod! So for all you gardeners out there who would like to follow along, here is what I’ll be doing to prep my bod for the upcoming fun in the sun. None of the movements are fancy, I am not a fancy gal. Equipment can be cans from your pantry or hand weights or pretend hand weights (your choice based on where you’re starting out at) and tubing. I’m a firm believer in listening to your own body so please work within your abilities and use proper form.

This is only an outline, I will not go into detail about form for each movement. I would encourage anyone unsure about proper form to check in with a trainer or a physio. Online apps are helpful in connecting the name of a movement to how the movement should look while being performed but what they fail to do is notice YOUR form while you are performing the movement. And they don’t give you feedback.

Back to the routine…a strong back and core is paramount in gardening so I’m starting with DB Rows…they can be performed single armed, alternating armed or double armed. I’m partnering that with Push Ups to wake up my upper body strength. You can perform them full, kneeling, hands on a stable bench or stair, or a wall. Just make sure to keep your elbows down, this isn’t a High Row!

Lunges will be next…and anyone who says that squats and lunges shouldn’t be done can explain to me how we get up from a toilet, chair and the bottom cupboard in the kitchen, as well as the flower bed! I’ll bet the lady who had fallen and couldn’t get up in that TV commercial for the medic alert device was also told not to do squats and lunges!! Lunges and Squats can and should be done but once again form based on each persons individual body mechanics and personal situation needs to be taken into consideration. MIND YOUR FORM!

Lunges will pair with High Tube Rows for the backside of the shoulders, a very small muscle group that I use a lot when raking and hoeing and cutting with my huge loppers. Exercise tubes for the High Tube Rows can be found in stores everywhere, currently our Dollar Store has a fantastic assortment of smaller exercise equipment of these sorts.

My last pair of movements will be a Glute Bridge and Plank Tap Out. For those of you who have not worked with me in my former life at Lifestyle Fitness Personal Training Studio, a Plank will substitute nicely. Also, no arching the back on those Glute Bridges people!

And finally Stress Ball squeezes. In these unprecedented (I am so sick of that word but had to use it lol) times it may be difficult to find a stress ball, so do your best to improvise with rolled up socks or whatever else you can find. Getting the smaller muscles of your hands and forearms in shape for snipping and digging is as important as the larger ones of your back, chest abs and legs.

So there we have it, the most delicious combo of moves to prepare us greenthumbers for the upcoming season. Remember to allow enough time between workouts for your body to recover.

Here is the routine summary….

Dumbbell Rows / Push Ups

Lunges / High Tube Rows

Glute Bridge / Plank Tap Outs (Planks)

Stress Ball Squeezes

Start with 1 set of each movement and work up to 3. Repeat each movement between 8 and 15 times in each set depending on how fatiguing the movement is to you. If you can only do 2 repetitions of lunges that is great, work up from there.

Always listen to your own body, each day is a new day so just do your best each day.




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