In last week’s post, we discussed the how to implement a successful stretching routine. In that article, I spoke about some of the “wrongs” and “rights” I have seen companies make. When discussing the “rights” I listed 5 elements that would ensure a successful implementation of the initiative. The third item listed was:
- A good routine should not be just “stretching.” It should be more focused on improving movement through a variety of dynamic activities that target improving posture, stability and joint range of motion.
You may be surprised that a routine should include more than stretching. We are not saying stretches are bad, we are just saying that in a successful program, stretching should just be one of many components to improve the movement of a workforce. With our clients, we do not call our programs “stretching routines,” because this really minimizes what we are working to accomplish. Rather, we refer to these programs as “Movement Routines.” Our goal is to improve essential body movements to achieve better work performance, reduce the risk of injuries and improve the daily life of our clients.
So where does a Warmup Routine Fit in all of this?
If you are hoping to implement a pre-shift movement routine, as the name suggests, it should not be static in nature. In other words, we do not recommend a pre-shift routine that includes standing still while holding a stretch and counting for 30 seconds. Instead, there should be dynamic movements that elevate heart rate, stimulate blood flow and warm muscle tissue. These movements should mimic work activities in order to prepare the body physically for what it is about to perform. This is also a great time to utilize myofascial release tools to perform rolling activities. We exclusively use myofascial release tools from Tiger Tail USA because they or portable, durable and hold up in an industrial environment. Active movements also provide a cognitive warm-up. By participating in dynamic preparatory activities with correct mechanics, the worker is preparing mentally to safely execute movements with precision. This is also a great time to engage postural muscles to ensure they are working to maintain stability throughout the day. Think of a baseball pitcher before the game starts. What do they do before they officially enter the game? They warmup in the bullpen, then warmup on the field before they ever deliver the first pitch. Why do we treat every day work any different?
So, is there any Reason to Stretch?
The answer is: Yes! But it should be applied in the appropriate manner to be most effective. In next weeks post we will discuss the elements of an effective stretching routine. In this post you will learn the “how, when and why” of applying stretches to reduce work related injuries.
Kevin Winn B.S., CIEE, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Kevin is the Executive Director of HealthWorks Kinesiology and is a Certified Industrial Ergonomic Evaluator (CIEE), Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT). Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion from Louisiana Tech University.