7 Best Stretches for Snow Shovelling

By December 19, 2015Physiotherapy, Stretches
Activa Physiotherapy Ottawa

The winter season is here, Ottawa! Before you go outside to tackle the snow, Activa Physiotherapy Ottawa encourages you to take 5 minutes to stretch and avoid unwanted injuries before the New Year.

Did you know? Snow shovelling accounts for most injuries each winter season at Activa Physiotherapy Ottawa as well as your local ER. Preparation for snow removal should be treated the same as your preparation at the gym: start with stretching!

A stretching routine can help you avoid a snow shovelling injury, minimize muscle imbalances and improve your ability to shovel for longer periods without experiencing back or shoulder pain. The 7 stretches listed below are recommended for people who do not have any current injuries or individual stretching needs.

If you have an injury or a specific mechanical imbalance that may be inhibiting your ability to shovel, Activa Physiotherapy Ottawa recommends a custom exercise program based on the assessment of your needs.

Contact us today to schedule your appointment for a professional consultation: 613-744-4188.

7 Best Stretches for Snow Shovelling

These 7 stretches for snow shovelling will take approximately 5 minutes to complete.

1. Posterior cuff stretch

  • Sets: 1
  • Repetition: 2
  • Hold: 20 sec.

• Stand straight and bring one arm in front of your body at shoulder height.
• Use the opposite arm to lightly push on your elbow to accentuate the stretch.
• Hold the position when you feel a comfortable stretch behind the shoulder.
• Do not rotate the trunk.

Posterior cuff stretch

2. Hamstring stretch

  • Sets: 1
  • Repetition: 2
  • Hold: 20 sec.

• Keeping the back straight, bring one leg in front and bend the trunk forward.
• Raise the toes as much as possible as you push the hips back to stretch the back of your leg.
• Keep the knee straight.

Levator scapulae stretch

3. Repeated lumbar extension

  • Sets: 1
  • Repetition: 2
  • Hold: 20 sec.

• Stand with your chin tucked in and place your hands on your buttocks.
• Bend your back backwards, arching the lower back and keep your chin tucked in (look forward).
• Return to the starting position and repeat.

Repeated lumbar extension

4. Standing calf stretching

  • Sets: 1
  • Repetition: 2
  • Hold: 20 sec.

• Stand and place both hands on a wall, with your feet about half a meter from the wall.
• Place one leg behind the other and lean your body forward without bending the back knee until you feel a stretch in your back calf.
• Maintain the stretch and relax.

Standing calf stretching

5. Stretching lumbar flexion

  • Sets: 1
  • Repetition: 2
  • Hold: 20 sec.

• Stand with your feet hip width apart.
• Reach towards the floor with your hands, bending at the back until a gentle stretching sensation is felt.
• Return to the initial position by activating your glutes and moving at the hips.

Stretching lumbar flexion

6. Stretching side bend

  • Sets: 1
  • Repetition: 2
  • Hold: 20 sec.

• Stand straight with your feet hip width apart and look directly ahead of you.
• Lift one arm up above your head and slowly bend sideways while reaching down with the opposite hand, until you feel a stretch at the side of your trunk.
• Maintain the stretch without twisting or leaning forward. Slowly return to initial position.

Stretching side bend

7. Trunk rotation with stick

  • Sets: 1
  • Repetition: 2
  • Hold: 20 sec.

• Stand with your feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent and arms holding a stick on your shoulders.
• Rotate your trunk with control from side to side, keeping your feet and hips facing forward.

Trunk rotation with stick

Be safe as you tackle the snow this winter! If you have any questions about the above stretches before shovelling snow off your driveway, contact us.