DIYIn a continuing collaboration with Scott over at Straight to the Bar, we will be writing about do-it-yourself home exercise implements throughout February and March. This week, I’d like to talk about utilizing snow in your workouts.

If you live in a climate where there is a good amount of snowfall, then you don’t need a gym membership during the winter. Where I live, we’ve gotten 7 or 8 feet of snowfall so far this year and still have half the Winter yet to go. You can get quite a good workout by pushing snow back and forth.

The next time that it snows near you, try incorporating a few of these moves:

Pushing snow

Pushing snow with a snow shovel is the simplest thing that you can do. Plant the shovel on the ground, push it forward, and make a pile or bank of snow by walking forward with the shovel in front of you.

Lifting, Carrying & Throwing

Once you have a few piles of snow, then pick the snow up in your snow shovel and carry it to the edge of your driveway or whatever area you are shoveling. Drop the snow onto the top of your snow bank, or else throw the snow over the snow bank. You may even want to start out by tossing the snow in order to prolong the development of your snow banks.

Turn your shovel into a sled

Once the snowbanks are 5 or 6 feet high, you may have trouble throwing the snow over them. Push the snow into a pile in the road, and then push it down the road a ways where the plows can move the snow further from your driveway for you. If you make a large enough pile and push the handle of the sled with your waist, you can push quite a bit of snow as though it were a weight sled. (Note that you may need some sort of crampon to keep from sliding.)

Break up the Ice

If you get ice as well as snow, then use an ice pick to break the ice up so that you can shovel it. Slicing at the ice from multiple directions may allow you to break a piece off all the way down to the ground, which can make it easier to enlarge the area that you have cleared. If the ice is especially thick, you can soften it with boiling water first.

The moves are simple, the effort strenuous, and since it tends to be cold out the environment works against you. You can still work up a good sweat, and if you do the work with an eye towards safety then you should be using all of the major muscle groups.

So the next time that 8 or 12 inches of snow drops into your yard, leave the snowblower in the garage and break out the shovel. It’ll make up for skipping that day’s run…