I'm a pretty active 45 year old weight lifter. Here in the mid atlantic our winters are annoying. And, when it snows, I have a lot of the white stuff to move via snow blower and shovel. What I am finding is a lot of upper arm discomfort after a day out in the cold muck. I get a shooting pain from my shoulder to mid arm along the bone between the bicep and tricep.

I'm thinking that I need to modify my training so that I can accommodate the strain of snow removal better. But what exercises would be best? Sure, I'm getting older and don't recover like I used to... But that is just another thing to deal with. Thoughts?

  • 3
    Have you thought about the position your body is in when shoveling? If you are pretty active and reasonably strong it may be more of an issue of repetition in a poor position. Are your shoulders rolled back in a safe and strong position? Are you using the shovel as a lever with your forward hand as a fulcrum and your back hand pushing down? Are you lifting with your legs or is it all arms? Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 1:54
  • I suppose bad form is always a possibility, or maybe the probability. When I was younger, plowing through wasn't a big deal. But now... I do use one of those ergonomic shovels, so I'm not bending over much. But, yes... I think I was using my front hand as a fulcrum. AND, the snow was very wet and heavy. So, bad technique needs to be corrected. Yes. But I still think I need to up my training. No?
    – Mike
    Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 15:56
  • I would not initially think it is a muscle strength or endurance issue due to your description of the pain. Soreness would indicate a need for training but true pain indicates, typically, a different analysis. Perhaps there are trained PTs participating here who could guide you further. Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 19:14
  • Is it one arm only? Do you switch arms every few minutes when shoveling (I do). I'm older than you but my workouts are mostly dance & yoga.
    – Tangurena
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 4:44
  • I probably don't switch enough. While I do get pain in both arms. My left is most severe. Which makes sense since I am right handed... I think it makes sense, any way.
    – Mike
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


Dumbbell Rows and Deadlifts have helped me while shoveling. Also a strong core is going to be huge in the overall movement.

Try Cable Choppers for core development, single arm rows, or conventional deadlifts.

You could also push a sled with 45 lb plates on it. I forget what they are called, but that should give you that positional form similar to shoveling and the calf/quad strength to PUSH THAT SNOW

-Midwest Winter Bearer :)

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