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Tim Forestell
October 1, 2021

Construction workers are constantly climbing in and out of machines, up and down ladders and are walking miles every day on site. They are carrying tools, awkward-sized materials and lifting heavy boxes daily. Construction workers have one of the most physically demanding jobs out there. Did you know that stretching every day is one of the best things a construction worker can do to protect their body on the job?

The Benefits of Stretching

Stretching is great for your body. It keeps your muscles flexible, strong and healthy. It can maintain, improve and increase your range of motion and help strengthen balance and flexibility. 

When muscles are relaxed and strong, there is a lower likelihood of injury or tearing. Stretching can also improve blood flow and circulation, lowering heart strain and reducing recovery time in the event of an injury. Yes, that’s right - stretching isn’t just good for your muscles but can actually improve heart health. 

For construction workers, stretching can reduce workplace injury and pain, reduce next-day pain after performing labor duties and improve overall health. It can also help you feel more awake in the morning, keep your body flexible and make you more attuned to your body both on the job and after hours. 

How Many Minutes of Stretching a Day Do You Need?

It takes as little as 10 minutes of stretching a day to reap the health benefits of this habit. This is less time than it takes for your coffee machine to percolate in the morning. Challenge yourself for one month to stretch for 10 - 15 minutes a day and see how you feel.

When Should Construction Workers Stretch?

It's a great idea to stretch before work to loosen up those muscles before the day begins. After work is also great because your muscles are warmed up from the days' activities. If 15 minutes at once seems like too much, try breaking it up into smaller bits throughout the day. You can do 5 minutes before work, 5 minutes at lunch and 5 minutes at the end of the day.  Many companies now incorprate group stretches before shift every day! 

construction workers stretching on the work site
Construction workers stretching before the day begins. Photo credit to MIKE DE SISTI / MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

What Stretches Should Construction Workers Do?

Stretching can seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. There are hundreds of different stretches out there to choose from. For construction workers, it's important to select stretches that warm up all the muscles you use everyday and ones that focus on the main muscle groups in the body. 

Target Areas for Construction Worker Stretches

Stretches for construction workers should target muscles in the back and torso, legs, neck and arms. Neck muscles and back muscles are often overlooked but are so vital for the construction industry. 

Stretches for Construction Workers

Here are 10 stretches for construction workers to do each day.

Neck Stretch

How To Do It:

  • Stand or sit with a straight back, shoulder back and relaxed.
  • Slowly turn your head to one side so your chin is over your shoulder. Keep your shoulders straight while you turn your head.
  • Hold in place for 5 seconds once you feel the stretch down the side of the neck.
  • Slowly turn your head to the other side and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat on both sides at least 3 times.  

Quad Stretch

How To Do It

  • Stand straight up.
  • Bend your leg up behind you at the knee and hold your foot back with the hand on the same side as that leg.
  • Keep hips straight and slightly pushed forward.
  • Hold for 10 seconds then swap legs.
  • Repeat on both sides at least 2 times.

Tip: You can use the other hand on a wall or table to help with balance. 

Chest & Shoulder Stretch

How To Do It

  • Stand straight with feet hip-width apart.
  • Hold both arms up at 90-degrees at the shoulder with palms facing forward and fingertips facing up.
  • Press arms back and squeeze shoulder blades together.
  • Hold for 3 seconds and relax.
  • Repeat at least 5 times.

Toe Touch

How To Do It

  • Stand with your feet together or slightly apart.
  • Keeping knees with a slight bend and with your back straight, bend over to touch your toes.
  • If you can’t reach your toes, resting your hands on your knees or touching your shins is great.
  • Hold for 5 sections, then release.
  • Repeat at least 5 times. 

Shoulder & Tricep Stretch

How To Do It

  • Reach your arm out in front of you.
  • Bring that arm across the front of your body.
  • Cross the other arm in front of the stretched-out arm and pull it lightly towards you until you feel a stretch through the stretched-arm shoulder and tricep.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Repeat both sides at least once more. 

Side Stretch

How To Do It

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Place both hands down by your side.
  • Raise one arm up and over your head.
  • Lean to the opposite side, stretching the reached hand and arm over and to the side as your body leads over.
  • Hold for 5-7 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Copy on both sides at least 3 times. 

Shoulder Circles

How To Do It

  • Stand straight up with arms stretched to the side.
  • Circle arms forward for 10 seconds.
  • Reverse direction and circle arms backward for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat at least two times. 

Wrist Circles

How To Do It

  • Clasp hands together with fingers intertwined.
  • Roll wrists around for 15 seconds.
  • Repeat as many times as you’d like. 

Hoola Hoops / Hip Rotation

How To Do It

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart.
  • Place your hands on your hips
  • Rotate hips clockwise in a large circle for 15 seconds.
  • Change directions for another 15 seconds.
  • Repeat again if you’d like. 

Hip & Calf Stretch

How To Do It

  • Take a step forward with one leg.
  • Ensure that both feet are facing forward.
  • Lean forward on the front leg while bending that front leg and keeping the back leg straight.
  • Push the back heel down towards the ground to maintain a stretch in the back calf.
  • Keep hips straight to maintain a stretch in the hip flexors.
  • Hold for 10 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Repeat at least one more time on each side. 

Tips And Tricks for Stretching

There are some easy tips and tricks to get the most from your stretches.

Never Push Yourself Past Your Comfort Zone

Stretching and flexibility take time. If you feel a pull or stretch, don’t push yourself past your comfort zone. This can actually cause damage to muscles. Listen to your body.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Oxygen helps to reduce lactic acid build-up and reduce tension in muscles. Breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathe in while you perform the stretch, and breathe out while you relax. Just be sure that you don’t hold your breath.

Give It Time

If you don’t notice a difference after a day or two, don’t give up. It might take a few weeks but it’s guaranteed that you’ll notice a difference. 

Construction Workers Should Stretch Daily

Stretching daily will reduce your risk of workplace injury and help maintain your overall health. Incorprate 10 - 15 minutes into your daily routine for 4 weeks and you're garanteed to notice a difference. Your body will thank you. 

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Avatar of the author
Tim Forestell
Tim Forestell is one of DOZR’s co-founders and CCO. Tim got started in the industry as VP Operations for Forestell Landscaping before founding DOZR with Kevin and Erin. Aside from the amazing team at DOZR, his favourite thing about DOZR are the customers. Working with DOZR renters every day gives him a peek at the evolution of different projects and hearing stories about projects being developed from start to finish.
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