Being fit for work
5 Gym Based Exercises for Tradies
Do you finish work each day exhausted? If the answer is yes, then we need to increase your tolerance to work-related tasks. Tasks such as lifting, squatting, carrying and perhaps even walking or standing. If you have a physical job it’s important that your body can handle all the things a day on the tools can throw at it.
How do we increase your tolerance? By applying progressive overload to a training program. Progressive overload describes the gradual increase of stress placed on the body, by increasing the reps, sets, weight or difficulty of the exercise. See this article for more information on progressive overload.
We often place a lot of emphasis on having the right skills for a job such as qualifications, previous experience or personality traits. Consider the physical demands of your role and how you could improve your fitness and strength to ensure longevity in your career?
Below we have 5 exercises to add to your gym program, or to get you started in your gym program.
In order to get stronger for your physical job, you need to have a strong foundation so let’s look at 5 exercises to get you on the right path.
Squats are a great exercise to help develop strength in your legs and trunk. Start with body weight and add weights as you improve your strength.
To perform a squat stand with your feet hip width apart and toes turned out slightly. Start to bend your knees and send your hip back and down. Aim to keep most of your body weight in your heels as you push into the floor to come back to standing.
Push ups are really great for building strength in the upper body and may even help improve your posture. If you haven’t done push ups before, start with your hands on a kitchen bench or table top.
To set up for a push up, place your hands on a bench or the floor with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Now begin to bend your elbows and bring your chest down towards the bench or floor. At the bottom of this movement check that your elbows are behind your shoulders.
Shoulder presses are the way to happy and healthy shoulders and are perfect if you often do work over head.
To perform a shoulder press you will need some kind of weight, you can use dumbbells, a barbell, plates or even an old milk jug filled with water. Stand with your feet at hip width and slightly tuck your tailbone while tightening your trunk to activate your core. Bring your hands to your shoulders and begin to push the weight up overhead until your elbows are straight. Slowly return the weights back towards your shoulders to finish the rep.
Bent over row
Bent over row are excellent for strengthening your posterior chain (a fancy way of saying the entire back of your body) for working while bent over. For example picking up a pile of bricks from the floor, nailing down skirting boards or sanding floors.
As in the shoulder press, you will need weights to perform this exercise. Stand with your feet at hip width with your arms straight so the weight touches your thighs. Tighten your core to stabilise your trunk and start to hinge from the hips, sending your hips backwards slightly. Your arms should now be directly under your shoulders. Pull your elbows back towards your waist and squeeze between your shoulder blades. Slowly return your arms to straight.
Farmers carry are our go to when thinking of core stability exercises. It works our core muscles as they keep your trunk straight against the load of the weight but also builds strength in your traps, upper arm and forearm of the side holding the weight.
To perform a farmers carry, hold a weight in one hand and walk slowly up the length of the room (15-20m). Your aim is to keep your shoulders level and weight steady. That means no swinging. Return to your starting position before swapping hands.
If you have questions on how to apply progressive overload or want to mix up your gym program send us a DM.
Check out our instagram post on how to perform these 5 exercises and let us know how you went in the comment section.
– Connor (Accredited Exercise Physiologist)