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Manual Workers – 3 Gym Exercises to Stay Strong

Manual Workers – 3 Gym Exercises to Stay Strong

We often treat manual workers such as labourers, warehouse staff or delivery drivers. These physical jobs can be very demanding, requiring staff to lift heavy loads repeatedly throughout the day. Most medium and large companies will have manual handling training to help staff use good lifting technique, which is important in preventing injuries. However, it can also be beneficial to do some extra training in the gym once or twice per week to develop strength and muscle that makes work lifting easier. Here are some ideas of exercise that, if done properly, can help to keep you safe and strong on the job:

1. Squats

You’ve probably all heard the mantra, “lift with your legs”. While there’s a bit more to it than that, it’s certainly very useful to have strong thigh and hip muscles. We¬†sometimes refer to these as your big “engines” – the muscles that should do most of the work.

There are many variations of the squat – you can use a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells or even just your bodyweight.

Barbell Squat

Barbell Squat

 

Goblet squat

“Goblet” squat with a dumbbell

2. Deadlifts

The deadlift is sometimes known as the sister exercise of the squat. It will work many of the same muscles but in a slightly different way – and also help you to develop a strong grip.

We usually perform deadlifts with a barbell but there are other variations involving dumbbells. As you can see, the deadlift is similar to some of the movements that manual workers might do every day. This could include activities such as picking up a box or a wheelbarrow.

Barbell deadlift

Barbell deadlift

 

3. Rows

The deadlift and the squat are two of the heavier exercises you can do in the gym which strengthen the legs, core and lower back. The row complements them nicely by working on a lot of the upper back and shoulder muscles. These muscle often have a role in helping with your posture while you’re lifting, but also help in pulling movements such as dragging.

Rows can be done with barbells, dumbbells and lots of other pieces of gym equipment. Here is one of my favourite variations:

Dumbbell row

Dumbbell row

Conclusion – stay strong, stay safe

Hopefully this article has given you some ideas of what you can do in the gym to build strength, which can be very useful in assisting your lifting technique at work. Good form is of course vital with any exercise, so if you’re not sure on anything then contact a physiotherapist at any of our clinics who will be happy to advise.