Has your humdrum winter workout routine got you into a funk? Is Kanye’s Workout Plan or your Tae Bo VHS tapes from 1999 not giving you the burn you crave? Well, look no further, because there’s a seasonal fitness craze that’s sure to get you sweating, swearing, and suicidal:
Power Shoveling.

Image from someecards.com
Image from someecards.com

Power Shoveling is a total body workout that targets your arms and shoulders, core, legs, and back. No combination of free weights can give as complete a workout as shoveling, and no other workout regime could possibly be more miserable and loathsome! The secret behind shoveling is that the use of the shovel engages all your major and minor muscles. The weight of the snow gives just the right amount of resistance to tone all your problem areas while simultaneously sapping your zest for life. It doesn’t matter if you invest in a $30 ergonomic shovel or some shoddy $10 shovel from the hardware store—you choose your own level! See how you can zone in on the parts of your body you want to strengthen using shoveling…

Arms and Shoulders

There’s nothing better for your arms and shoulders than shoveling, except perhaps not shoveling. While shoveling, grip the handle of the shovel with both hands and keep your shoulders back. When digging in for that initial pile of snow, feel the intense pain and shakiness in your arms that hurts so bad with every rep, you consider taking this same shovel and digging yourself a nice, snowy grave. With each sideways toss of snow, you should feel a pull in your shoulder like it might dislocate—that’s totally normal! …Unless it actually dislocates, then you should get to the hospital.


The dynamic motion of shoveling really engages your core muscles. Keep your tummy tucked in and really focus on the twisting motion of shoveling to work your lower abs and obliques. You know you’re on the right track if you develop a hernia or pull a muscle!


Shoveling is a great exercise for your quadriceps, hamstrings, and even calves! In the middle of shoveling, don’t shy away from getting in some squats while you heave mound after mound of snow. You may notice your neighbors skeptically peeking out the window, but don’t worry, they’re probably just jelly of your killer legs! …Or they think they’re about to witness a very public defecation as so often happens with squats.


Believe it or not, lifting a shovelful of snow uses numerous back muscles that can be really hard to target such as your latissimus dorsi, erector spinae, and uselessicus maximus. Be aware—you might throw out your back and be bed-bound for a week post-shovel, but it’s all worth it to have the toned back you’ve never once dreamed of!

You see, Power Shoveling is a great workout for the entire body, but don’t take my word for it, read a few of these testimonials*:

“By the time I finished shoveling, I couldn’t feel my nose, fingers, or toes, and it turns out that’s because I was getting frostbite. So I had to have a couple things removed, but my arms have never looked better! All the ladies will be comin’ to my gun show… Even though I’m missing four fingers, and I have Michael Jackson’s botched plastic surgery nose now.”
Heywood Jablowme

I was outside getting my shovel on when I met the love my life! While I was mid-lift I saw Dave, the toothless guy who lives in our neighborhood who temporarily becomes a hero every winter because he has a plow on his camouflage-painted pick-up truck, driving past. We realized we loved each other, and now I never have to shovel again. Thank you shoveling!
Angie O’Plasty

My “erector spinae” has never been harder.
Chester Gamblecat

*All testimonials entirely fictional. No one wants to shovel. Ever. Even if it is a good workout.

29 thoughts on “Power Shoveling

  1. I’m a big fan of Heywood. I remember him from the NBA. Anyways, this must be the reason why I am not as svelte as I used to be. My dad needed someone to clear the driveway for him to go to work, so what better cheap labor could you get than your very own sons to do it for free?

    1. Sadly, I think Heywood is turning into a bit of a Dennis Rodman type…

      You know, I tried to pawn my shoveling off on the dog. I figured since she’s a German Shepherd maybe she could herd the snow into a pile away from the sidewalk/driveway, but she wasn’t into it.

      I look forward to having kids for the sole reason that I’ll have a little army to rake leaves, cut the grass, and shovel.

  2. Lol. I stood in my driveway getting drunk during a recent storm waiting for neighborhood kids to come offer to shovel for me, but they never did…
    Perhaps had they read this and known how good it would have been for them. Thanks for the chuckle.

    1. When I was growing up, there was always a band of kids walking around with their shovels that wanted to shovel your driveway for like ten bucks, but I don’t see them anymore. I don’t know what happened. Did inflation make their business model unprofitable? Stranger danger?

      I miss making those kids do my manual labor…

  3. Double like the way you do have us laughing at the terrible encounters we may have. Trains or shoveling snow what more intriguing or debilitating adventures will spew from your fingertips.

    1. Oh, there’s plenty more where this came from! Laughing about terrible encounters is how I spend 80% of my days. …The other 20% is spent eating broccoli and dreaming about cheesecake.

      1. That’s my logic! Actually, it just so happens I love both. I literally eat broccoli just about every day, to my boyfriend’s dismay because whenever I steam it in the microwave at his place, he tells me he thinks it smells like “nature’s shit.”

  4. You could turn this into the next fitness craze – videos, classes, special range of snow-shovelling outfits…
    Particularly liked your ecard image. Reminds me of when I lived in the north of England and told someone I worked with that I liked going for a beer (or two) after a day out hillwalking. He couldn’t understand, thought the beer just undid all the good I’d got from the exercise. I tried to explain, that was the POINT of the exercise!

    1. I think so, too! The marketing possibilities are endless. I can already imagine creating a line of shovels with weighted handles in 5, 10, and 20lbs increments.

      If it wasn’t for the exercise factor, I wouldn’t shovel at all. I don’t care that I live near a grade school, and I should shovel for the kids walking past my house to be a decent human being, this is America. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to! Being an asshole is almost expected!

      1. Kids? Pah! They need to toughen up anyway. Just build snow walls across the path.
        In fact, why not create an assault course out of snow – you can have great exercise and then sit inside and laugh at everyone trying to get past your house.

      2. Good thinking! I’ll just rig our entire sidewalk with ice and snowball bombs. These kids have it too easy these days, anyway! In my day, you put on your snow boots and took it like a man if a house didn’t shovel!

  5. My back went out once while shoveling. I havent shoveled since. Now I just drive on it. And then back up again and down and up several times so that the wife’s car car get through. Way easier than shoveling. Just pack it down. The work out that your foot on the gas and break pedal gets is amazing!

    1. Thank you for sharing! That sounds like a great alternative as long as you have a car big enough to pummel the snow. We got a TON of snow here about two years ago, and I alone was responsible for the 12 inches+ of snow we got, and I dug the garage out just enough to get my car through. …Only, it really wasn’t big enough, so over the next few days when I was backing in, I kept getting stuck and cursing my laziness. If only I had a huge truck, I wouldn’t be shoveling ever again.

    1. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind snow whatsoever if we’d replace our snowblower that broke circa 2004. Yes, that’s right, I want to take the easy the way out, and snowblowing is like the gastric bypass of seasonal fitness. As it is, my uselessicus maximums is still sore…

  6. For those of you who live in the city, might I recommend a plastic muck shovel. While the shovel itself is lightweight, the amount of snow you can lift is two-three times normal. For those who don’t know what a muck shovel is, we use it to shovel to scoop up chicken shit on the farm 🙂

    1. A muck shovel, huh? This is the first I’ve heard of it, but if it’s good for shoveling shit, I’m sure it’d be great for snow, too! Snow really just is the sky’s shit, anyway.

  7. I always find muscles I never knew I had after I shovel. I hate snow!! But you’re right, totally awesome workout if you need to really get burning. Especially when it freezes and turns to the ice crap that you have to chisel away at until it’s able to be scooped up and tossed to the side!

    1. Oh I know, me too! Not about hating the snow. I’m a firm believer that in wintertime, there should be snow. I just wouldn’t mind having a snow removal service.

      We used to have a really good ice chopper when I was a kid. It probably weighed 30lbs., and my mom is convinced she left it out and someone stole it because it was such a nice ice chopper. Apparently in the suburbs of Chicago, people will steal your snow removal equipment. Your comment about the ice just reminded me of that.

  8. Pingback: Snow Day Workout

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