Dynamic Warmups in Industrial Worksites: Why You Need Them, How to do it

Industrial workers discuss dynamic warmup
Dynamic warmups play a crucial role in industrial work settings, and the benefits aren’t just physical. In fact, limbering your muscles up carries a host of cognitive, social, and safety advantages.

Dynamic Warmups in Industrial Worksites

There is huge debate on whether stretching can prevent musculoskeletal injuries (MSI), making it challenging to determine the role warmups have in injury prevention. Several studies came to conflicting conclusions on the relationship between stretching and MSIs. The reason is obvious: warmup stretching doesn’t control other risk factors, such as force, frequency, and duration. But, warming up can reduce the risk carried by all those factors. Actively contracting and stretching the muscles in a dynamic warmup increases your heart rate as well as your core body and muscle temperatures. This improves, among other things, the muscle’s ability to lengthen, priming them for the task ahead. The more dynamic the routine is, the better. Most industrial work is highly active, engaging all areas of the body in the range of movements needed to get the job done. In essence, a dynamic warmup routine is a quick series of movements that pre-activate the muscles about to be put to work. For a well-trained supervisor, warmup routines offer a unique opportunity to assess each worker’s job readiness and keep an eye out for early signs of MSIs. In doing so, the supervisor can prevent both acute injuries – that can happen when someone’s body isn’t physically prepared for their work – and cumulative injuries, such as an MSI that has been developing over the course of several years.

Preparing the Body Prepares the Mind

Warming up the body warms up the mind too. Moving the muscles and getting your blood flowing increases alertness as it reduces mental and physical fatigue. It comes as no surprise, then, that a morning warmup routine can have tremendously positive effects on your mental wellness. This may be in part due to the social benefits of warmup programs. Bringing a work team together, especially to exercise and start their day together, increases team bonds, boosts worker morale, and improves team communication. This brings us back to one of the fundamental concepts of workplace health: moving your body may offer major benefits to your physical and cognitive function, social dynamics, and overall safety. The result? Increased productivity, happiness, and job satisfaction. So, the million-dollar question is, why isn’t everyone doing this? Many industrial workplaces do have warmup programs in place. The problem is, they’re not well designed, leading to poor buy-in and low adherence.

How to Implement a Dynamic Warmup Program

Fortunately, there are some simple tips for implementing a successful program:
  • The top-down approach.
If employees see that management is motivated by and believes in the program and its benefits, they will be more inspired to participate.
  • Focus on the return on investment.
It’s easy to think that allocating time to the program reduces productivity hours; this couldn’t be further from the truth!
  • No workforce is too large or too spread out for a dynamic warmup program.
Your program should be unique to your company, the type of work you do, and the people who are doing it. EWI Works would be happy to help you design a routine that fits your needs best.
  • Training and accountability.
Train staff on the exercises and educate them on why they are important for both the company and the worker. Discuss the benefits the organization and the individual are experiencing to reinforce how everyone feels about the program.
  • The program is part of the workday.
The quickest way to have a workplace health initiative go the way of the dodo bird is to make employees do it on their own time. Preparing for a task is part of the job. Not to mention, the most effective time to stretch is when you are at work and about to start using those muscles.
Industrial workers performing dynamic warmups
  • Make it fun.
Create challenges, do the exercises as a group, offer incentives and awards, set goals, and encourage self-evaluation to increase personal investment in the program.
  • Keep it short.
Studies show that 5-10 minutes is short enough for a program to be realistically implemented, while also being long enough to get the benefits of warmup stretching.
  • Evaluate the program.
Tracking participation rates indicates whether a program is successful and identifies areas that may need improvement. But this isn’t just a measure of who is doing what; it’s a way for employees to experience positive reinforcement by seeing their progress in contributing to a common goal.

The Role of Dynamic Warmups in Your Workplace

We warm up for sports and a whole host of other activities. Industrial work settings should be no exception – it’s easy to do and the payoffs keep coming. If you are interested in learning more about how a dynamic warmup program would look in your workplace, don’t hesitate to give us a shout! EWI Works offers many services that can improve your quality of life. We have developed several cost-effective remote services to help you transition to remote work. Find out more about our Online Training, Services, and Resources.  Follow us on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook for more updates and offers, or sign up for our newsletter below.