Weeding: 4 Keys to Cure Gardener’s Knees


They’re not only a burden on your veggies, they tear the knees to bits and leave your lower back screaming for Roundup.

kneeling in the garden

Today we’re going to save not only the environment(please don’t use Roundup) but your body from deteriorating under the strain of weeds and bending low in the garden.

The truth is, weeding has the potential as the most physically empowering activity for your body. It asks for flexibility, patience and strength. Sounds like yoga? I find it a meditative pastime to be only focussed on removing unwanted seedlings, roots and all.

There are two types of severity in this activity… weeds you’ve left too long and they’ve taken over completely or the odd sproutling that thinks it will make a break for it between your tomatoes and basil. On the one hand, you’re staying put for a while, on the other you’re just grabbing a few here and there.

For the settle in for an hour job here’s the way to build flexibility and not bulge a disc or turn shoulders into the hunchback of Notre Dame… or grind the knee cartilage back to bone.

1. Kneeling on a cushioned pad is fine so long as your knees can bend that far and ankles can handle  the pressure of your bottom. If you’re not that flexible two bolsters are needed and they can be as simple as a couple of old rolled up towels. One goes under the ankles the other between your bottom and heels.

2. Getting up from kneeling needs to return you to being a baby. Don’t use the arms of the kneeling device you were given last christmas… it just forces all of your body weight into the neck and shoulders to lift and this is not where your body is designed to lift its weight from. Put hands on the ground in front of you, look down at the ground, send your bottom up as high as it can go and then gently put your weight back on the heels as you come into upright. Avoid pushing down on the knees… they’ve just been doing enough work, no need to punish them on the way up.

3. Get up from the ground periodically. a) each 10 minutes if you’re not flexible at all and already know weeding is a killer. b) no longer than 20 minutes even if you’re in great shape.

4. Squatting is the more ideal form of ground-hugging bending. It requires flexibility in all sorts of places which might not have been asked to move as such for quite a while. The key to balanced squatting is that your knees don’t go beyond the toes. (and that you don’t fall backwards either of course!) The best of way to achieve both when you’re getting back to flexible enough is to put a chock of wood about 2 inches thick under the heels. This will fill the void where your tendons and hamstrings will eventually stretch to plus prevent you from falling backward. If your knees can’t manage, then kneeling is the starting point. See above.

This month’s func®Shop theme is Gardening. I’ve got a pile at my place and you’re going to do it for me. It’s great value, only $97 for the morning and I’ll throw in the giant savings of not having to pay for back pain relief any more, you’ll know how to stop the pain in the knees and lower back and the bonus is that you can spend more time in the garden with no fear of the next-day aftermath. Tickets here. (just joking, not my garden…but bring along your tools so we can see how they’re owning you and reverse that situation)

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