F.I.T. Blog

Strength for Gardeners

Gardening is a hobby many retired adults pick up: they finally have the time, they enjoy working with their hands and they have the opportunity to sit back afterwards and appreciate the fruits of their labor.

But gardening can take it’s toll on the body if you aren’t preparing for the labor involved: bending, squatting, kneeling, standing REPEATEDLY, likely during the hot, humid Wisconsin summer…

And that means low back pain and knee pain!

So, the goal today to prepare you for the gardening season by teaching a great hip hinge pattern and work on some specific split squat/lunge movements.

Hip Hinge Pattern:
Band Assisted Hip Hinge with or without a Kettlebell

– Attach the band to a solid frame and then put the band around your waist
– Stretch the band so even when you complete the hinge and reduce the band stretch, there is still tension
– Hold a Kettlebell (KB) in your hands or just slide your hands down your thighs as you hinge by softening your knees and pushing your butt to the wall behind you (key to a good hinge is to keep your shins vertical the entire time)
– Reverse the motion by driving the hips back under the body aggressively, bracing the core to resist over arching of the body upon standing.

Split Squat/Lunge Pattern:
Close Stance Split Squat:

– Start with the back foot closer than usual to the front foot so the split squat is tighter and reminiscent of how you might maneuver yourself to bend down and grab a big thick weed.
– Level 1: Hands on thigh as you go down and use them to push as you stand back up
– Level 2: Hands off using only the leg/hip/core strength
– Level 3: lift and chop movements without any resistance
– Level 4+: add a Med Ball to the lift/chop pattern or add a kettlebell, bands etc. For advice on advanced variations, reach out to your FIT Coaches and we can help out!

Use these movements regularly to up your gardening game, avoid the low back pain and knee pain we hear constantly during the early planting season and REALLY enjoy your hobby!