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Video:How to Use a Shovel

with Keith Stephens

Does your lower back feel like it's in knots after you use a shovel? You may not be using the tool correctly. Watch how to properly shovel.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Use a Shovel

Hi, my name is Keith Stephens with About.com Home and Garden. Today I'm going to show you the proper way to use a shovel.

So many people don't know the proper way to shovel, and in turn, end up hurting their backs. So today I will go over proper technique. Let's get started.

Supplies Needed to Use a Shovel

A couple things you will need:
  • a shovel
  • gloves, to protect your hands
  • boots

Hold the End of the Shovel

To start, hold the end of the shovel at the top with your right hand over the left, if you're right handed, or vice versa if you're left handed.

You want to make sure your arms are extended all the way and the point of your shovel is straight down. This way, when you pull with your arms, you're not having to bend low to get leverage.

Drive the Shovel Into the Ground

Then, using your foot, drive the shovel into the ground. Repeat until your shovel is deep into the earth. Then, pull back with your arms to your side, breaking up the ground.

Toss the Dirt Aside

After that, you want to slide your left hand down the shaft near the head of the shovel while slowly bending with your knees, not your back.

Then slowly stand back up and toss the dirt close by so as not to overextend, which could hurt your back. Repeat until you have dug exactly what you need.

When digging ,only pick up about half of a shovel load to prevent strain on your back and clumping of dirt.

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