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Weeding Your Garden Without Back Strain

Positions for Back-Safe Weeding


Updated January 29, 2008

Weeding and other gardening chores can quickly tire even strong backs. One of the most common mistakes gardeners make while weeding is working too hard in the back and not moving from the hip joint.

Sit on a Bucket to Weed Your Garden

Even sitting on a bucket to weed can strain your back unless you work efficiently.
Anne Asher 2007
One of the most popular positions for extended weeding sessions is to sit. If you have knee, hip or back pain, sitting will help you avoid putting pressure onto those areas. But even sitting and weeding can take its toll on your back if you don't know how to move efficiently. Grab a bucket and I'll show you what I mean.

Hands and Knees Weeding to Protect Your Back

Weeding on all fours can help you maneuver around the ground.
Anne Asher 2007
When weeding on all fours, the goal is keep your whole spine long. Because you will need to shift around while you work, keeping a long spine requires watching and feeling how your shoulders are bearing responsibility for reaching, grasping and supporting your body weight. Also, be aware of any pockets of muscle tension along your trunk. Once you become attentive to unnecessary tension, you can relax out of it.

Protect Your Back While Standing and Weeding

Standing to weed can be great if you have problems getting up and down from the ground.
Anne Asher 2007
One easy thing you can do to make standing and weeding your garden comfortable for your back is to prop your elbow against your leg. This will create an external brace, which will help stabilize your body posture when you bend and reach for the weeds. It is also helpful to use a wide stance, which will create a stable base of support for you as you work.

Back Saving Techniques for Sitting on the Ground to Weed

Sitting on the ground can be an enjoyable and viable way to protect your back from muscle strain.
Anne Asher 2007
For those with flexible hip joints and relatively healthy lower backs, sitting on the ground is an option when weeding the garden. Sit with your legs bent, positioning one in front and the other in back. Try to anchor your sitting bones into the ground equally. This will bring your pelvis and spine into an upright position.

As with other weeding positions, keeping a long spine will help you avoid back strain and conserve your energy for when physical exertion is really necessary to get the job done.

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