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Workplace Warm-ups for Physically Demanding Jobs

May 12, 2020
June 21, 2023
cat stretch

Having a physical job that keeps you on your feet all day may mean aches and pains when going back home. Warming up before you work can help ease the pain that comes after—and the pain that lingers.

With all the stress you place on your body from repetitive, everyday movements, the extra tension and loading on your body could even lead to some permanent damage. Even if you aren’t a heavy-lifter during the workday, you will need to warm up for work.

To help you avoid lasting pain that could potentially sideline you from your job, it’s important not only what you do during work and after—but what you do prior to your shift

Just like a player preparing for practice, you’ve got to warm your body for the movements that lie ahead. 

In this article, we‘re going to go through a few very simple stretches, workplace warm-up exercises and movements to help you stay fit for your everyday job. 

Preparing for Your Workday

Stretching and warm-up exercises can help you prepare for the day ahead.   Incorporate the into getting ready for your shift.

The best part about it? These stretches don’t take very long—and will have lasting benefits. You’ll feel more mobile and flexible while working, which can help increase your productivity.

Warm Up Before You Begin

Getting your body moving before you stretch is important—so start your day with a brisk walk around the workplace. It can also help if you get in 10 minutes earlier to get it done. 


This can help get your blood pumping and your muscles more pliable before you begin stretching.

Using your lower body:

If your job predominantly uses your legs—lifting, walking stairs or even pushing, incorporate these stretches before you get moving:

Figure 4

This stretch targets your glutes and your hips. 

How to do it: Starting on your back on the floor or against a wall or sitting upright, bend one leg at about a 45-degree angle. Take the other leg and cross it over, with your ankle resting on the thigh right above the knee. If you can, reach behind the knee and pull toward you.


This stretch targets your glutes, hamstrings, and calves. 

How to do it: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, bend forward until your palms touch the floor (or use a bed or low table if you cannot reach). When you’re ready, walk your hands out to as far as you can reach in front of you while still maintaining contact with the floor. Pause, then walk your hands back to your feet.  

Using your upper body:

If you’re pushing, pulling or carrying objects throughout the day, incorporate these stretches before you get moving:

Angry Cat, Happy Cat

This stretch targets your back, shoulders, and chest. 

cat stretch up
cat stretch down

How to do it: On all fours, exhale and round-out your spine—this is the angry cat. When you inhale, your tailbone and chest should be lifted—this is the happy cat.

Neck Flexion, Extension, and Rotation

This stretch targets the different muscles of the neck.

neck flexion

How to do it: Exaggerate the movement of your head as if you are nodding “yes” and shaking “no”

Shoulder Stretch

This stretch targets your shoulders.


How to do it: Whether sitting or standing, take one arm across your body. Place the other hand on the shoulder or right behind the elbow of the arm that is crossed. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds then repeat on the other side.


Warm-Up Fit For Work

Depending on the movements of your job, the stretches can be interchanged, removed, and have new stretches added to your routine. 


However, no matter which stretches are a part of your warmup, it’s important that you get moving.


Work-Fit is a nationwide leader of applying sports medicine techniques in the workplace to prevent injuries and lower your bottom line. 


Just as professional sports teams have athletic trainers to prevent injuries to players, so will your company. 


We believe in treating the corporate/occupational worker as an athlete, because the occupational athlete has many of the same physical demands. By integrating our certified healthcare professionals with your team, we can deliver the same level of care provided to a professional athlete that will keep your team members healthy and on the job.

Whether you work in warehousing, manufacturing, aerial transport, automotive production, agriculture and forestry, corporate offices, or construction, connect with Work-Fit today to keep your team healthy and safe.


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