Are You Fit Enough to Roast a Turkey?


Most people don’t associate fitness with Thanksgiving. We want to change that with a pre-Thanksgiving training suggestion. Your typical menu consists of turkey, roast beef, and casseroles which can be very heavy and difficult to handle. Potential strains and sprains await those who move these heavy dishes in and out of the oven. What steps can you take to avoid a compression fracture, or back or shoulder pain?

Training for the Holidays

We want you to avoid unnecessary injury this holiday season by including some basic exercises to your daily routine. Squats are one of the most functionally beneficial exercises you can do. You perform them every time you get in and out of a chair. The squat has significant benefits including strengthening your hip and spinal muscles. Adding squats to your exercise routine now will benefit you come Thanksgiving Day.

We recommend several different types of squats depending on your fitness level and goals. Following are four squat exercises in order of difficulty. Try starting out at the easier level and working your way to more difficult squats.

  • Wall and ball squat (Beginner)
  • Chair squat (Active)
  • Squat with weights (Athletic)
  • Single leg wall squat (Elite)

Additional exercise to consider adding to your holiday training regimen include elbow planks for core strength and gentle shoulder stretches such as shoulder rolls and cross-body arm stretches. These exercises may help prevent injury, but there is nothing better than proper technique to keep you safe.

Safely Lift a Turkey, Roast, or Casserole into the Oven

Placing a cold item into the oven is always easier than removing it because you are not in as much jeopardy of burning yourself. You do need to safe guard your back and shoulders.

  • Pull the oven rack out to a safe and stable position to accept the weight of the pain.
  • Use a wide squat while holding the pan close to your body, and lower it using the strength of your legs while placing the pan on the rack.
  • Push the rack back into the oven while still in a squat position.

Safely Remove a Turkey, Roast, or Casserole from the Oven

It is a good idea to always wear a chef’s apron to protect yourself from potential burns and spills caused by hot items. Here again, form is key to avoiding injury.

  • Using hot pads and standing in a wide stance squat position, pull the oven rack out to a safe and stable spot.
  • With your elbows close to your side, slide the pan towards you.
  • Keeping the elbows in close, firmly hold the pan as close to your body as you comfortably can, and push back up using your legs.

What if You Can’t Squat?

For those of you who feel that you don’t have the knees to stand up out of a squat, we recommend you find someone else to do the heavy lifting. However, if you must be responsible for the lifting, try the following technique:

  • Place a chair next to the oven. Cover the seat with a towel or hot pad for protection.
  • Carefully place the pan on the chair.
  • Lower yourself into a single leg kneeling position on a padded surface at the front of the oven.
  • Open the oven door and use your protective oven mitts to pull out the rack to a stable position.
  • Limiting the rotation of your torso as much as possible, pivot around on your knee until you are in a comfortable position to grab the pan from the chair. The roasting pan should face your belly button.
  • Slide the pan along the chair until you grasp it firmly, and pivot towards the oven.
  • Slide the roasting pan onto the rack, push the rack in, and close the door.
  • Use the chair or counter to help raise up from your kneeling position.

The movement to get the roasting pan out of the oven is the same technique as above.

We encourage you to use these tips to make your holiday season safe and joyful. While we may have had a little more fun with this blog, we are serious about avoiding injury while lifting heavy items. Please be careful, and contact Comber Physical Therapy and Fusion Chiropractic if you find you may have strained, sprained, or injured yourself preparing for the holidays.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,