Work Your Back while Breaking on Your Job

by Joe Lawrence | June 30th, 2014 | Strength Training, Upper Body

man shoveling (400x400)It would be great if we could work out on the job. To be able to combine fitness with our daily duties would be a great way to multi-task. Well, we can.

Honestly, exercise is the last thing I want to think about today. I just finished shoveling and spreading a driveway full of mulch for the past eight hours in the South Carolina sun. However, it was during this time I was able to capitalize on working out while working.

If you have a manual labor job, it is very east to apply this principle. We use our backs for everything while rigging a load to be lifted by a crane, painting, pressure washing, road work, and even spreading mulch. The key is to toss in a few reps in between tasks.

Working on aircraft, I used to grab onto a support beam and do three pull ups every time I passed the area. This was about 30 or so reps per shift. We can all find a chin up bar if we look hard enough. Or when lifting that 5-gallon bucket of paint, do a few lat pull ups. These are where you take the handle of the bucket and put both hands side-by-side with thumbs touching. Then lift the bucket to your chin while keeping a straight back.

There are endless possibilities if you open your mind on any job site. Obviously, you are there to work and doing reps to failure will be bad. Just throw in a few for an extra oomph.

For those in an office environment, there are more challenges to make this work. Although, there have been many offices have added mini-gyms to help alleviate stress. If you are not employed in such a place, there are a couple of things you can do too.

Isometric exercises are your friend. For a great back and shoulder exercise, make hooks with each hand by curling your fingers. Then clasp your left hook to the right hook. Your thumbs will be pointing in opposite directions. Then try to pull your hands apart. You should feel it in between your shoulder blades. You can do this for a set time frame or until your arms give out.

Another exercise is the desk toss. No…do not toss your desk. What you do is sit with your knees under your desk or some other sturdy piece of furniture in your office. Do not do this on a flimsy desk. Then put your elbows against your hips and hands palms facing up. Grab the desk and lean forward slightly. Then try to straighten your back while fighting it with your arms. Ideally, you reach a stale mate and get a lower back and lat workout.

Again these exercises can’t truly replace gym time, but they will help burn a few extra calories and maybe even get over a plateau you have hit.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.