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Taking the pain out of homebuilding

comments (9) January 27th, 2010 in Blogs
DebSilber DebSilber, design editor

Plumb Bob
Speed Square
Rebar Tie
Plumb BobClick To Enlarge

"Plumb Bob"

As someone who wore a tool belt for 25 years, Allan Nett is very familiar with the aches and injuries that plague homebuilders. As a certified Iyengar Yoga instructor, he also has some ideas on how they can be avoided.

So Nett offers “Yoga with Your Boots On,” his own brand of Hatha yoga geared specifically to workers in the construction industry. Using the same postures as traditional yoga (but trading away the Sanskrit names for builder-friendly imagery) he teaches body awareness, healing and pain management to construction workers and others in the San Francisco area. “It’s a very simple approach,” he says. “We’re literally building the body to health.”

I must admit the image of a guy in a tool belt in Tadasana—uh, Plumb Bob—pose is a mite unsettling. But as I think most builders will admit, so is a future marred by a bum shoulder, a locked knee or a stiff back.

And Nett says he’s not kidding about the boots-on part. He encourages students to wear whatever they want to his classes. What he’s trying to get across is the importance of being aware of your body and how you’re using—or abusing—it whether you're on the job site and off. Offbeat, maybe. But consider it advice for taking care of your most valuable tool.

posted in: Blogs, business, safety

Comments (9)

Northome2 Northome2 writes: I can definately see where these poses could add a few years to my carpenter career. Is there a book or video in the works?
Posted: 3:15 pm on February 7th

annbd annbd writes: Yoga is great for carpenters and everyone else.
Two things I wanted to share with your readers(as a licensed yoga instructor):
(1) Take your tool belt off before you start stretches! Probably the stuff on one side doesn't weigh what the stuff on the other side weighs, and the assymetry will skew the benefit you could get out of the stretches. Also, you don't want anything to slip out and bonk you one as you are stretching.
(2) Standing poses are okay to do with boots on, but your feet and ankles need stretching too. Perhaps at rest breaks or before lunch... I haven't seen the book yet, but I hope that the author advises taking off those stiff boots and doing rotations and stretches.

Namaste, annbd

Posted: 5:58 am on February 7th

shimmcglue shimmcglue writes: In Ontario, we spend over 125 million on soft tissue injury claims annually for an aging construction workforce. Try to convince crew level that stretching, diet, excercise, ergonomic conditions (better tools and position)and lastly wellness (stress prevention) are important to keep a less painful existance and maybe 1 in 100 will buy in. How many carpenters aren't complaining about rotator cuff or bad knees or elbows? Again, it's sad how few see the merits of taking some care of the vitals until they're under the blade. The previous articles of stretching made so much sense as does this. Hey why not a little hot yoga and hydrotherapy for a hard day's labour.
Posted: 5:12 pm on February 1st

Brieckhouse Brieckhouse writes: I am 54 and started practicing yoga regularly about six months ago. Yesterday I was on a remodel in an attic running wiring. Because of the yoga I was much more flexible and am standing up straight today.
Posted: 11:38 am on February 1st

cernunnos cernunnos writes: I've been doing yoga off and on for about 15 years. Whenever I don't practice for a while, my body reminds me why I need to. I have a bad back and yoga is the only thing that keeps me standing up relatively straight.
Posted: 10:00 am on February 1st

ManKnit ManKnit writes: I'm bias because my wife is a yoga teacher, but you'd be surprised what a little yoga can do to fix the pains of manual labor. I don't go to classes, but everytime I finish a project I wrap it up with some stretches to avoid sore bones the next day...
Posted: 9:13 am on February 1st

Canuckgirl Canuckgirl writes: My husband is a contractor and I convinced him to go to my yoga classes last year when he was having trouble with stiff shoulders. He tried it reluctantly and is now a regular attendee...he finds it has really improved his flexibility and balance...and he only fell asleep in class once!
Posted: 7:50 am on February 1st

Carpenter183 Carpenter183 writes: I've been on some larger commercial construction jobs where this was required twice a day. The jobs were at health care facilities, and nobody really seemed to mind the doing the stretching exercises.
Posted: 7:37 am on February 1st

andreaberlin andreaberlin writes: great- I know carpenters to be more of the Marlboro men type - so to get a few of them into yoga poses will change my (and their) view of world. But - as usual- to experience this I have to go to California!
Posted: 7:19 am on February 1st

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