In order to prepare for this project, I decided that I would need to look into the back ache that had been niggling me since I was in my twenties. A million trees is a lot of planting and I wanted to be in fine fettle in order to tackle the task in hand.

Charlie Herbert helped me enormously and adjusted my hips, spine, pelvis and shoulders which had all been misaligned after being hit by a car when I was about 17. We were discussing how important a healthy spine was for what we are planning, so I asked him to write a blog post for the website to help others. So here it is:-


If you’re a hole digging enthusiast and plan to plant a million trees then it’s important you do it with good posture. If you don’t, you’re exposing yourself to potential back problems.  What most people do is bend over their spade from the back and use their spine to generate all digging force.  Now, the spine is designed to have 3 beautiful curves that act as suspension and help with movement.  This bad posture, as shown, turns those 3 curves into one big banana shape and rounds the shoulders forward too.  This posture puts a lot of strain on the low back, neck and shoulders.  Do this often enough and you’ll develop problems and need to come see me…

So, firstly we need to get your back in the right position and you using your core muscles.  We’ve all heard about core muscles, it’s a word used a lot, however now we’re going to find out how they help you dig the perfect hole with minimal stress on your spine!


Standing in front of your pre-holed earth put your hands on the top of your pelvis (the bony bit in your waist) and rock your pelvis back and forth.  By this I mean, stick your bum out as far as you can and then tuck it in as much as you can without moving your hands back and forth.  When you can do this, find the mid point between fully back and forward.  This is your neutral pelvic point.  In this position, imagine a piece of string attached to the top of your head pulling you up.  As you lift up, you should feel the muscles at the front between your pelvic bones tighten slightly.  These are some of your core muscles for your low back.  We now have our back in a strong position and are ready for the next step.

Rather than stand ‘straight on’, we want to be in more of a lunge position.  With a soft bend in your knees you are ready to lean forward over the spade, bending from your hips, not arching your back.  In this position a good dig comes from using your legs to push and lift, moving the weight distribution between the legs; this takes a lot of pressure off your spine and arms.

Follow these steps and you’ll be in a strong position and able to dig all day long without unnecessarily straining your spine.  It goes without saying, when getting the spade into the earth, put your foot of the back and use your body weight to dig into the ground.

If you need anymore information or want to visit one of our Bristol Chiropractors then please feel free to get in contact.


Charlie Herbert


PS Please always remember my 1 simple step.  Before you dig, lift, get out of a chair or even stand still, remember to tuck it! (Contract your pelvic muscles)