It’s not that you are planting, it’s HOW you are planting

How many time have I heard something along the lines of “planting trees causes back problems” or “my ______ pain comes back every year”  or “back or wrist pain is just a by-product of planting” or “pain while planting trees is normal”, oh gosh, I could go on.

Yes, tree planting is a very physically and mentally tough job, but just like any other sport – it’s not that you are doing X, it’s HOW. Mechanics matter, body positioning matters, how well your joints move matter, how strong and mobile you are matters! Being physically prepared for tree planting really makes a difference.

For example, if you don’t have the ability to complete full flexion at your hip joint, but the movement of planting a tree requires full flexion to occur at the hip joint, this will result in compensation from somewhere else in the body. The brain doesn’t say: “oh we can’t perform that movement because the hip joint doesn’t have full range of motion”. The brain actually says: “We need to complete that movement to plant this tree. Oh, the hip joint can’t go into full flexion? Well, this other joint nearby does flexion – it will help us plant a tree”.

I mainly see this “lack of ability to go in to full range of hip flexion” compensated by the lumbar spine (low back), resulting in low back pain in tree planters. This pain can get more intense as the days and shifts go on, because the lumbar spine can only handle so much repetitive flexion and load. Remember, it’s not that you are tree planting, it’s HOW you are tree planting. Or if you really wanna dissect that a bit more – are your joints able to get into the positions that you need them to, to plant this tree?

Treatment for this example above may include hip & knee mobility and core stability exercises. We troubleshoot every major joint involved in planting a tree in the Tree Planter Biomechanics course and we integrate these movement patterns (along with getting strong and mobile where it counts for planting!) in the 10-week Conditioning course. Check them out!

Related Posts

Bush Camp: Setting yourself up for Success

Working and living out side, especially in the early spring can take a toll on your body. Please come prepared. I’ve outlined a few general topics and bulleted some major components and the “why” you need to make these priorities for your health and preventing injuries. To some of you, these may be simple no-brainers, but the amount of time I’ve seen people come to…

Read more

On the Block: Setting yourself up for Success

This is a continuation post from Bush Camp: Setting yourself up for Success Preparing yourself and having the right equipment can not only set you up for the weather that can happen (remember, that feeling of being safe and warm helps you prevent injuries), but also calms your mind so that you can focus on your movements. Find a few tips here below for some…

Read more