Thinking about cover cropping this fall? Prior to seed sowing, the area must first be prepped by clearing it of weeds. Proper mechanics for the repetitive motions of weeding can help to improve endurance, prevent overuse injuries, and decrease post-activity muscle soreness. Additionally, changing positions every 15-20 minutes and taking frequent rest breaks are also beneficial for these reasons. Remember to always warm up prior to doing yard work, particularly when it is cold outside.
If you have healthy knees, consider weeding in a quadruped position. While on all fours, engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button towards your spine. One hand will remain on the ground stacked under your shoulder while you use the other arm to pull weeds. The multiple points of contact on the ground with your knees, feet, and hand provide good stability while the quadruped position keeps the spine in a straight position. Another technique is the tall kneel position, with one knee up and one knee down. This position also enables you to get close to the weeds without bending or reaching. Keep one leg forward with your foot flat on the ground and the other leg positioned so your knee is directly under your hip. Weed in the space near your front leg, maintaining a straight spine. If using either kneeling position, place a foam pad under your knees to protect your joints.
If your knees cannot tolerate loading in the above positions, consider the use of a gardening bench. This enables you to stay low to the ground, close to where you are working. Keep your legs wide enough apart to enable the use of a hip hinging technique to prevent rounding of your lower back as you reach for the weeds. Position the bench in the direction you are pulling the weeds to prevent twisting of the spine.
Minimize strain on the forearm musculature and wrists when pulling weeds by keeping your wrist in a neutral position. Rely on the shoulders for the pulling motion instead of bending the wrist upwards. The use of ergonomic tools with wide grips and good padding reduces compressive forces on the wrist and hand tendons. Likewise, properly fitting gardening gloves enable better control when handling tools and materials. This can also help prevent over-gripping which quickly fatigues the smaller hand muscles.
Join Our Mailing List
CEI humbly acknowledges the Indigenous people who were wrongfully removed from their ancestral lands where we live and work today. We offer our deepest respect to the Piscataway Conoy Tribe and all other tribes Indigenous to the central Maryland region where our organization is based. To learn more about the Indigenous people where you live, visit Native-Land.ca.
GROW WITH US ONLINE