T Nation

Landscaping and Lifting


Anyone here have experience balancing a heavy physical labor job with lifting? Is it possible to balance the 2 out and make gains in your lifts and not be drained for work? Also how do you take care of your joints?


Really cut back a lot on the assistance work in the gym. To start out with, you’ll probably only want to do assistance required to keep yourself healthy.

You’re going to have to eat a ton, drink a ton of water, and always sleep well.

Take a ZMA product.

You may want to only hit the gym 2-3x a week. Pick something whole body so there isn’t any one body part keeping you from doing your job.

Initially, it’ll be super tough, but the body does adapt.

If this is your first week, I wouldn’t hit the gym at all and then ease into the gym the following week.


Totally agree. I might add to keep away from grinders or training to failure. Moderate weights, moderate sets, moderate reps. I also would stay away from any conditioning or cardio.


I’m a landscaper as well. Barrow and shovelling is a prick after deadlifts. That’s why I Deadlift Friday or Saturday.

Everything is difficult with leg doms. That’s why I now squat 3times a week. I now no longer get crippling doms in my quads or hammers.

My biggest issue is getting enough calories in. Today I ran around on the wheelbarrow for about 5hours in the hot sun. I’ve now gotta eat myself stupid 2night so I have the energy for heavy deads in the morning.


If you are serious about lifting, or any other sport, you probably wouldn’t choose a profession that involves heavy physical labor. I’m sure there are a few people out there who have some impressive lifts and a physically demanding job, but it’s about as far as possible from optimal. More work = more fatigue = less recovery = less gains.


I think that is a really bad take. I don’t think the OP is planning on being a top level athlete or bodybuilder, and he can’t change his job most likely, what should he do? Never lift? You can have a physically demanding job as well as find away to get the additional fitness work you want it. You can be serious with both.


Why do you assume he can’t change his job? I’m not saying that he should never lift, but his job will severely hinder his progress.

So you don’t think he’s too serious either.


Not really. You have to prioritize, and if you choose to work a physically demanding job then you can’t claim that powerlifting is your top priority.


I mean this job is better for lifting than say a trucker. When compared I’d give the strength advantage to the 9 times out of 10 to the landscaper.


I am pretty serious about it, it’s my main hobby but unfortunately where I live it is the most convenient job as my vehicle died and my wife and I have been sharing one, they pick me up and drop me off from work. I live in the middle of nowhere there’s not many options for me at the moment all the jobs here are labor…however I don’t plan on making a career out of it I’m not blessed with 2 parents who have money to support me through schooling so I have to work for a living to get what I want. That being said I want to at the very least maintain my lifts until I have a job that is less physically demanding



My experience from commercial property landscaping is that my lifts actually went down for the first couple of months. But then they started to steadily creep back up. That was in Huntsville. 2 days after the people running the gig pulled out, I went to work at a carwash in a town that’s technically part of Houston.

That was even harder than the landscaping. It’s a little hotter and way more humid in Houston so I had to readjust to the heat all over again. God I hated doing rims. No shade, knees, back, and ankles aching, the concrete both reflected and radiated heat back at me with my face just a couple feet from the ground.

But you know what, I was still able to gain muscle and strength. Over something between several and many months, I was able to do a 4 day Westside BB style split over a 10 day week using the volume per day I could before the landscaping.

Even now while I work on my teacher’s certificate to teach high school science, I work in a produce department lifting and carrying 20-60lb boxes and sacks of produce and pushing and dragging heavy carts around. Of course, since I’m bigger and stronger looking than most people I do most of the heavy grunt work while directing my coworkers when the department manager’s not there… but tbh I kind of like it that way haha.

What I found is that the longer I did those kinds of jobs, the less they would take away from the lifting.

With the landscaping and produce job, my joints actually feel a lot better than they do with desk jobs. I really think it’s all the walking, carrying, and pushing that helps. At the car wash, my joints always hurt a little because of the constant bending from vacuuming and the kneeling from doing rims.

Ideal? No. But certainly not a show stopper. We make do with the card dealt to us. Such is life.

Best of luck in all your endeavors!


I’m sure you will be able to maintain your lifts (although the first few weeks or months might be rough as Fletch said) and hopefully you will be able to make some gains as well, but obviously it’s not the optimal way to go about things.


By the way, there’s another thread where some guy says his DL technique is similar to Bob Peoples. Bob was a farmer and still managed to get extremely strong. Perhaps he would have been stronger if he didn’t have to work, but he did what he had to do.


Have you heard of reg park you imbecile.


No I haven’t, you fucking asshole.
Can you read?