Is Bricklaying Hard Work? Is it a physical job?

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There are not many roles on a construction site that would be considered easy. A lot of the roles are physically demanding. Some spend hours lifting while others might spend time digging, climbing scaffolds, and cleaning. All these roles can be hard work.

Bricklaying is a pivotal role on a construction site, and bricklayers are crucial to the success of most building projects. But is bricklaying hard work, or is it one of the easier jobs on a construction site?

Bricklaying is one of the more physically demanding roles on a construction site. Bricklayers will spend hour after hour handling heavy bricks and blocks. This involves lifting and moving. As the day progresses, these materials and movements can feel heavier.

From bricks and stone to blocks and sand, everything has a significant weight to it. Furthermore, it also involves the laying of bricks and mortar, which requires repetitive movements. These can leave joints and muscles feeling sore, tired, and even inflamed. Bricklayers will also need to stand for long periods of time, as well as kneel and crouch. The constant climbing of ladders and scaffolding is also hard work on the legs too.

Do Bricklayers Need to Be Strong?

is bricklaying hard work
A worker sleeping on a pile of bricks.

Yes, bricklayers do need to be strong. They will lift, pull, and push materials that are heavy all day long. This requires a certain level of strength that will make it easier for them to do their job.

They might carry bags of sand, push wheelbarrows, and lift heavy blocks up ladders if they don’t have a labourer. Some might also find themselves mixing their own cement, these tasks might be carried out alongside laying bricks. The different tasks will require varying levels of strength. But, by being strong, they will find the physical demands of the job a lot easier.

Tiredness and fatigue can take hold quickly. If this occurs, then it is likely that their standards will drop, and they could make mistakes. However, if they are naturally strong, they will be able to work to a high standard and the more work they complete, the stronger they will become over time.

What Muscles Do Bricklayers Use?

Bricklayers will use a wide range of muscles every day. The role is extremely varied which means they’ll need strength in almost every part of their body.

They will constantly use their back and stomach muscles. These will be used when leaning, bending, and carrying heavy items. Bricklayers will often suffer from back pain because of the constant bending.

Commonly, they will use a range of muscles in their arms. This includes the biceps, triceps, and forearms. They will use these while working with the trowel, lifting materials, and holding onto objects. The arm muscles will be in constant use as they lay mortar and then place bricks in place throughout the day. Pushing and pulling heavy materials and objects will also rely on strong arm muscles.

They also rely on their leg muscles, as they will support them for long periods while standing. Strong legs are also needed for climbing ladders and crouching.

A strong core is extremely important too. This will enable them to retain their balance while standing, lifting, and carrying. So, a bricklayer will use a wide variety of muscle groups. They all work together to help them deal with the physicality of the job.

Will Bricklaying Build Muscle?

Because bricklaying is a very physical job, there is no doubt it will help to build muscle.

The repetitive movements each day will mean that the muscles will grow. Muscle is built by creating small tears in the fibres. This happens when you place them under constant strain such as lifting or pulling.

As these fibres tear, they repair stronger and thicker. So, due to the repetitive nature of the job, bricklaying will create more muscle, but there is a limit to the amount of muscle you build. The muscles will eventually become used to lifting the same weights. As a result, muscle growth will start to plateau.

Along with muscle growth, you will also build muscle memory. You achieve this through the same movement’s day after day. The strength, along with muscle memory makes it easier for bricklayers to carry out their role. Essentially, their bodies adapt and are prepared for the physical work involved in their day to day tasks.

Long Term Health Effects from Bricklaying?

As we have determined, bricklaying is a hard job. Younger bricklayers can cope with the demands at an early stage. However, the physical parts of the job can eventually take their toll.

There are positives such as an increase in muscle mass and remaining active. These are all good for your overall health, but eventually, the job can cause bricklayers to suffer from a range of manual handling injuries.

Many bricklayers will suffer from back pain and that can prevent them from working. It can also cause problems later in life and beyond retirement. They will also experience joint problems from overuse in the hands, the back, hips, elbows, and knees.

The awkward postures and positions, as well as bending will lead to sprains and strains. They might also suffer from hearing problems from being surrounded by loud machinery. Furthermore, as they handle cement products, they might also suffer from skin diseases such as dermatitis. So, the role does come with several possible long term health problems.


Bricklaying is a very demanding role and it is hard and physical work. There are some small health benefits such as remaining active and building muscle. But bricklaying over a long period can lead to a variety of health problems due to the nature of the role and the effort required.

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