Out of the Weight Room

There s nothing like hard labour to mix up your training and give a completely different slant on things.

Last weekend I helped my father in law at his new house. When I say new, I mean it is a newish purchase but is in need of some work. Built in the 1800’s it is in need of some serious renovation, to the point that he not only removed the stone floors but kept digging until there were 5 foot deep holes in each room! God knows why, I am sure there was absolutely no need to create so much work, but he did and is now filling them back in with hardcore aggregate.

I would say around at least 80 tonnes of it to be exact! he had another 21 tonne drop last weekend and I went to help him out, bearing in mind we were using 2 shovels and 2 wheel barrows between us to cart this stuff into the house and dumping it inside.

Here’s when the training comes in, good old fashioned manual labour, it ticks so many boxes, strength, stamina, endurance etc it really is a great all round strength and conditioning exercise.

Breaking it down you have so many similar movements in the gym that are simulated in doing this.

Shovelling, hits all the upper body and incorporates rotational strength for your core. I kept swapping hands so that I could hit each side.

Lifting barrow is like a rack pull. More than enough to hit the quads, back, traps and arms.

wheeling it for distance is like a farmers walk. I know the barrow has wheels but it is still weight over distance and awkward terrain repetitively and seriously eats into your grip strength.

Dumping the load in the barrow goes in as an all over body explosive lift to tip the barrow up, well in my case to flip it, just to add to the fun!

Put all that together at a good pace over the course of the day makes for a damn hard but rewarding session!

It is definitely a man thing, just good old hard honest graft. Even my son was there getting into the thick of it and he is only 5!

Next time someone needs you to pick up a shovel, I would recommend it, beats a gym any day of the week!

– Dean Coulson

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