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Employing the proper technique when digging will make working in the garden a much more enjoyable experience, not to mention a lot less tiring. First, position your shovel so that the shaft is resting on your back leg. This will distribute the weight of the material over your legs and not your back. Your thumbs should be facing upward and pointing towards the blade.
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Keeping your back straight and the shovel resting on your leg, rock forward. All the movement should be in your legs and hips.
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Once you have a shovel full of material, rock backwards in the same motion.
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To clear the shovel, lower your back arm and pivot your hips in the direction that you wish to dump the material. The shaft of the shovel should be pivoting on your back leg. The most important things to remember when digging is to keep your back straight and to keep the handle of the shovel resting on your leg.