How To Properly Use A Shovel

A good wire brush and a good file can go a long way toward keeping your shovel clean and sharp and ready to dig. But I happened to see my chiropractor the other day, and it reminded me that the first time I ever went to the chiropractor was because I was digging a hole the wrong way.

Today we’re talking shovel do’s and don’ts. When you’re digging with a long-handled shovel, it’s real easy to make mistakes that will send you to the chiropractor. Here are a few good points.

First, make sure that the shovelhead is perpendicular to the soil’s surface when you push the shovel blade in. And if you can’t push it in with one foot, if you have to jump with both feet to drive it in, then you need a backhoe or a pry bar to dig this hole. This ground’s not too bad.

When you’re going to lift the dirt out of the hole, don’t be at the end of the shovel and don’t be down close to the head. Both cause strain on your back. Be about in the middle and use the upward momentum of lifting the soil out to throw it into the wheelbarrow or onto a tarp.

When you encounter roots, remember your shovel is not a pry bar, but it can be a chopping tool. Turn it around and cut cleanly through any roots that you encounter, and then lift them out of the hole into the wheelbarrow. Shoveling is all about keeping your back straight.

When Using A Shovel

  • Make sure the shovelhead is perpendicular to the soil’s surface.
  • If you are unable to push the shovel in with one foot, then you need a backhoe or prybar.
  • When lifting the dirt out of the hole, don’t be at the end of the shovel or down close to the head.
  • Use the shovel as a chopping tool for roots, not a pry bar.