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Step-by-step instructions on how to shovel


Starting posture
  • Stand with your feet a comfortable distance apart and keep your back as straight as possible.
  • Knees should be “soft” – slightly bent – not locked or rigid.
  • Keep elbows close to body
Next step


  • Use your leg muscles to push the blade into the ground.
  • Keep your wrists in a neutral (unbent) position.
Digging Wrist unbent
Next step


  • After the blade is inserted into the ground, slide your non-dominant hand about halfway down the shaft of the shovel while bending at your knees -- not your waist.
  Bend knees Use legs to lift
Next step


  • To lift the soil or other material that is now on the blade, straighten your knees back into a soft (slightly bent) position. Lift with your legs, not your back!
Lift with legs
Next step


  • Throw material straight ahead or pivot body to face direction in which you want to throw
  • Avoid twisting – throwing
    the material to the side
Throw material straight ahead

A few additional tips:

  • Limit the amount of material in any one shovel-load, especially if soil is wet or particularly rocky. Lifting multiple light or moderate loads is easier on your body than lifting a lesser number of heavy loads.
  • Vary your tasks throughout the day to prevent excessive stress and strain on muscles, tendons and joints.
  • Use of an auxiliary handle such as the Motus D-grip is a great way to help keep your back straight. Mount the auxiliary handle about halfway down on the shaft, and then grasp it when it’s time to lift and throw the material off your shovel.