T Nation

Tree-Planting Conditioning

Call me crazy, but I’ve decided to try my hand at reforestation work for next summer. Luckily, I have 8-9 months to prepare.

The work involves 9-11 hour days of planting saplings as fast as humanly possible (you get 9-12 cents per tree and some 5-year vets make up to $600 a day) with 5 days on, 2 days off or 6 days on, 1 day off.

From what I can gather, the biggest problems (with the exception of going a little nuts half way through a 75 day season) are general exhaustion, lower back strain, and tendonitis in the wrists, forearms and shoulders.

My plan so far is cycling 1-2 hours a day to school and back and weights somewhere between 3-5 days a week. In the winter I’ll be cross-country skiing twice a week in addition to my cycling.

The goal would be to increase recovery as much as possible so that I don’t die in the first three weeks of planting. Strength to be maintained with say a PTP program of 5 basic exercises, 3-5 sets, 3-5 reps, yadda yadda etc.

From now until ski season starts I’m thinking doing the “100-reps to bigger muscles” program for upper body while letting that cycling capillarize the lower body. Cross country ski season in November/Decemberish would replace the 100-rep scheme.

Think it’ll work? Think it sucks? Got anything to add?



Ok, I’ve done tree planting before, and here’s my advice.

Make your hands as rough as possible. Go out and chop wood barehanded. Get them nice and calloused.

Do plenty of forearm work, like grip work, hammer curls, etc.

Do upright rows - these will have a direct correlation on lifting a tree.

Get your low back specifically in great shape. Not necessarily extremely strong, but many, many rep wise.

Do bodyweight squats or squats with light weight, say 135. You will be squatting a lot.

That’s all for now. The most important thing I can think of would be getting the hands used to it.


Where do I sign up?

I planted seedlings too. Mostly it’s the bending over that gets you. You kick the tree spade in until the crossbar hits the ground, push it sideways to open the slit and remove the spade. Slide the seedling in and make sure the root is vertical. If it turns up in a J shape the seedling with strangle itself when the root grows. Then stomp the slit shut and go on. No heavy lifting but a lot of bending and walking up and down rough, steep terrain.

Work your lower back and you’ll be way ahead.

Thanks alot guys!

Ike>>A few things you should know.

1 - That’s the best of 5-year vets. Newbies are lucky to make $250 a day by the end of a season.
2 - Canadian Dollars

Where do you sign up? You have to hunt down the contractors and beg them to hire you. There are tons of vets who they can call to take your place on the roster.

600 Canadian?

Shit, isn’t that like $1.37? :wink:

$400 on a bad day, ass!