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Ultimate Shearers Manual

Project Brief

Shearers can move up to 14 tonnes of sheep a day and much more when crutching, sweating up to four litres every hour. In terms of heart rate and energy expenditure, they use up much more energy that a top professional in any football code (21000kj vs 17000kj). And they do this every day!

Despite this, there was no existing information for shearers in terms of managing injuries, recovering from work and improving performance. Michael Lawrance & Associates headed a specialised team to develop a product to meet this need.

Project Outline and Solutions

In discussion with many shearers in Australia and New Zealand it became clear that there was a real desire for information, but only if it was simple, practical, and easy to implement. It was clear that anything that could help reduce injuries and increase performance (and pay) was going to be well received.

But shearers didn’t want to see exercises being performed by muscle bound gym junkies with fake tans! The advice had to fit real people in real workplaces.

A package was put together that includes:

A small but durable Manual

This manual had to be simple and hardy, as it was likely to travel under all kinds of conditions. The information was presented in simple fashion, making use of many pictures and diagrams to demonstrate exercises, stretches and concepts.

All demonstrations were given by shearers and rural workers, performed in work settings, particularly the shearing shed.

A DVD that inserted into the cover of the book

Most shearers had access to a TV and DVD player at regular intervals during itinerant work, so the DVD was developed to cover content not suited to the manual.

Exercises are always best learned with video rather than pictures, so all exercises were covered with full description and explanation. Shearers were also able to watch short information clips on areas such as Strength Training, Aerobic Fitness, Flexibility and Recovery Methods.

Expert advice from professional footballers, sport scientists and runners such as Steve Monaghetti was also given.
All of the contents were included in durable plastic packing, which included some physio tubing for the injury reduction exercises, making it a complete resource for shearers.

The Outcome

The first booklet ran out of print. A second re-run of the book and DVD has been necessary due to high demand. We have received fantastic support and feedback from the shearing industry, and feel that the product was ideally suited to the target audience.

The information is also useful for anyone interested in preparation for hard work, performance gains, injury management and recovery.

Published by Michael Lawrance and Associates and Fasttrak Performance, this product was developed in association with exercise scientist David Stuart and physiotherapist Robyn Williams. Original research leading to the production was carried out at the University of Ballarat.

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