A Hard Workout
If you have lower back issues or had them in the past, then you must take precaution when performing your daily activities and chores. It is important to use proper lifting posture while doing simple things like lifting objects off the ground or in this instance a not so simple task as swinging an axe.
Give it a try and you will find how hard it really is. I was so excited to split wood when I moved back up in the “mountains” some years ago I did it for 4 hours with only minimal breaks. My body was shaking so hard I could barely walk home and I nearly puked.
Why split wood for exercise:
I grew up doing this chore as we needed adequate firewood for the winter and was shown to do so by my father. With that said, I am no expert in lumberjack sports. So there might be a more powerful or faster way to split logs, but this technique is used to save your lower back and utilize your legs. Last I looked there was no log splitting event in competition.
Use these sound concepts:
Set up the log on another larger piece of wood. This will make splitting much more effective and you won’t have to swing as far down reducing the strain on the lower back.
Square up your stance to the log, with your feet shoulder width apart or wider. As with any overhead axe swing, begin with one hand at the end of the handle and other towards the axe head. Keep your back straight the entire time.
Lift the axe overhead while using your legs and hips to help. Try not of over rotate the torso.
Allow your hand that is towards the axe head to slide down, meeting your other hand. You should be NEAR fully extended at this point. Fully extending completely may cause pain or discomfort in the lower back. Keep you abs tight.
Start the swing down while simultaneously dropping the hips in a squat motion all while keeping the back straight in neutral spine position the entire time.
Continue the swing. Again, hips drop down and back and your back stays straight as seen here.
A successful swing should allow for a high velocity and control of the axe with minimal low back strain. And of course a split log. That is, depending on the difficulty of the wood being split.
There are a number of techniques to splitting wood, but I find this to be the best way to save your lower back. I also find it very powerful because you utilize your legs and pull the axe down in a whipping manner. I suppose more force may be created with more hinge at the hips and back bend verses squat, but this would increase the risk of low back injury.
I am reminded of throwing events, (discus, hammer, javelin, etc.) where you are using power and the best technique to transfer the force into the implement.
Now go find some logs to split.
Personal fitness trainer with Breakthrough Personal Training serving the Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Mountain View area. Palo Alto, CA 94306. Wood splitting form, wood splitting safely, preventing back injury while wood splitting, outdoor workouts.
Jerry Yuhara, CPT, CES, CMT #75123
4193 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
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