Your Gardening Fitness Program Week 2

Week 2: Stretch: Back/Shoulder Stretch

Gardening tasks that require repetitive overhead reaching may leave you with tight upper back and shoulder muscles. This stretch will help loosen muscles that make reaching difficult.

How To Perform Back/Shoulder Stretch:

Stand with your feet no more than shoulder width apart facing a railing or fence post. Grasp railing or post with both hands. Round-out your upper back and shoulders, leaning away from the post. You should feel a stretch through these muscles. Hold this stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. This stretch is good to do after performing the One Arm Row Exercise.

Exercise: One Arm Row

Upper back muscles tend to become over-stretched when doing yard work that requires stooping or hunching over. These muscles, as well as larger back muscles, tend to become weak if it has been a long time since you have done any physical activity or if you sit for long periods during the day. This exercise will help build strength for digging and lifting.

How to Perform One Arm Row:

Position one leg in front of the other in a lunge position. Support your upper body with one arm resting on your front leg while holding the weight in your other hand. Your shoulders should be square to the front.

Begin with the weighted arm extended in front of you at a 45 angle and your back straight. Pull your arm back, keeping your elbow close to your body and squeeze your back muscles together. Return your arm to its starting position.

Repeat the exercise on the other arm. Do 2 sets of 8-10 repetitions. As the weeks progress you may find that you can increase your repetitions to 10-15.

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