Is Splitting Wood Bad for Your Back? [Simple Guide]

Is splitting wood bad for your back? No, splitting wood is not bad for your back as long as you maintain the correct form. Make sure you’re bending your knees and bringing both hands down to the shaft before the point of contact with the log.

Tips to Split Wood without Throwing your Back Out

There is always one spoiler at the country fair. The little guy who shuffles past the big guys and at the sledgehammer game he gets the bell to ring the loudest as the muscle men sheepishly look away. It’s all about technique and timing. 

Big bulging arm muscles are not required for splitting firewood. It is your core that gets the job done so, that is why it’s important to position yourself correctly to avoid hurting your back. 

Good Golfers go through a rigorous routine to loosen up before they address the first tee box and while you don’t have to wear the more flamboyant clothing of the golf course you should emulate the loosening up routines to avoid doing your back some damage.

Get used to the idea of bending your knees before you bend your back. It’s going to save you a lot of pain.

Give yourself the space to be comfortable when preparing to split the log. This means you should set yourself up a comfortable distance from your chopping block. And, yes, you do need a chopping block to elevate the log you are going to split to avoid straining your back.

Keep your feet parallel and facing the log about your shoulder width apart and lift the maul straight above your head. It will help you keep your balance to improve your aim.

There is always the temptation to favour the side of your dominant arm but don’t succumb to this as it will have a negative effect on the efficiency of your stroke. 

Wearing rubber gloves is not a good idea because it will not only make your hands sweat but it will also prevent your dominant hand from sliding down the shaft of the maul. 

It is important for your dominant hand to slide down the shaft to prevent straining your back muscles.

Try to imagine your abs as the fulcrum and move your body around them. At the start of your swing your knees are slightly bent, and your arms are raised. As your arms come down so your knees should be straightened. The correct timing of these two movements creates the power to send the logs apart.

Shoulder pain after splitting wood

So, the thrill of splitting logs has blinded you to the fact that perhaps the bullet proof condition has frayed a little about the edges and you find your subordinate hand caressing a painful shoulder. It’s an all too familiar ‘weekend warrior’ syndrome.

Unfamiliar and repetitive is a nasty combination and sadly that is what splitting logs is basically about. So, what can you do to avoid a painful shoulder? One of the main culprits in crating shoulder pain is favouring one arm over the other. 

Balance is your friend here and you need to concentrate on ensuring that your maul travels in a straight path from above your head to the bottom of the split log. 

Normally an ice pack treatment and a couple of days rest will sort out the sore shoulder, but it is far better to start slowly and gradually build up your splitting routine to gently ease the shoulder muscles back into action.

Wrist pain after chopping wood

If you find that your wrists are suffering from splitting wood the problem may all be in your head. Splitting logs is not about pushing the maul or axe through the wood but rather maximum power and speed at the point of impact. 

It is a whipping action rather than a pushing action. The former provides speed, the latter strain on the grip and consequently on the wrists.

It may be useful to have a look at the handle of the maul or axe. Handles have become thicker in recent years and this may add additional shock to the wrists as the handle loses flexibility.

Hands hurting after splitting wood

Manual labour is tough. And thinking about the unfairness of it all is just too sad. When we are young, we think we are bulletproof and hurt ourselves finding out that we’re not. And then when our experience has grown our capability begins to decline. So in between the two how do we prevent injury.

Hands are incredibly sensitive and phenomenally adept instruments. It’s wise to keep them safe. They also require a fair bit of working in. They need to toughen up and a weekend in the mountains with a new lumberjack outfit is not going to cut it. You must gradually toughen them to avoid hurting yourself.

There are a few other things that can help. Check the handle of the maul or axe you are using. Check that the end of the handle is not causing any discomfort to your subordinate hand. Perhaps a little rounding off the end may help in relieving a pressure point and reduce the pain.  

Fingers cramping is a fairly frequent unpleasant condition that normally indicates a grip too tight and may suggest more frequent rest periods.

Consider getting an electric splitter over using a maul

There will come a time when all the arguments about the validity of spending money on buying an electric splitter will begin to fade into a distant whimper. 

This normally happens at the same time as the sound of grunts and groans get increasingly louder and frequent and the hours spent recovering from your invigorating log splitting exercise grow longer.

Embrace the fact that humans are surprisingly good at making stuff to ease us through life’s more basic activities. Yes, it’s wonderful to be outdoors in the bracing snow mountains hacking through a pile of logs that plot and plan ways to disrupt our busy schedule of stockpiling firewood.

So, once you have removed the ice pack from your shoulder, rubbed copious amounts of ointment to relieve the pain in your joints and said an almost bankrupt farewell to the physio, find some space to house the electric splitter. It’s worth it.