As a group of people who make a living taking care of the needs of others, we often neglect to take care of ourselves. All of us have most likely had at least one injury from repetitive-strain, overuse, or pulled muscles. Not only is this line of work very physically demanding, it can be intensely stressful. Add working long hours on your feet, and occasionally imbibing a few too many of our own creations, and you have a recipe for an unhealthy lifestyle.
For those of us making a career out of bartending, we need to start treating it as a marathon and not a sprint, and training our bodies accordingly.
Physical exercise increases strength and mobility behind the bar, while also providing an outlet for stress-relief.
We invited Britney Bourke, an ACE certified personal trainer, to outline a few exercises designed specifically for the bartending profession. Many of her clients suffer from work-related injuries. These exercises are designed to strengthen common problem-areas, to prevent typical avoidable injuries and strain.
These exercises are outlined as an introductory guide. The heaviness of your weights and number of repetitions are up to you. Keep in mind that (in general) to tone and strengthen lean muscle you want to use lighter weights and do more repetitions, and to gain size and strength you should use heavier weights for fewer repetitions.
Always warm up before doing any physical exercise, and keep an eye on your form to prevent injury.
This exercise is great for your core as well as your back. Standing at the bar for long periods of time with a weak core puts pressure on your lower back. Be sure to breathe, bring your belly button in, tuck hips and engage glutes. Hold for 30 seconds, and do 3 sets. Over time you can gradually increase the time you hold the position.
The side plank is great for strengthening the obliques and core. Make sure to keep a straight line from your shoulders to your feet. Hold for 30 seconds, and do 3 sets on each side. To make it more challenging, lift your top leg.
Lay on your back with feet shoulder width apart. Pushing through the heels without the knees moving, thrust the hips towards the sky, using the glutes to get your into this position. The key is to think about what you are engaging, i.e. hamstrings glue and core. Squeeze glutes at the top of the bridge, then release to starting position.
BICEP CURLS TO SHOULDER PRESS
Start by standing with your arms by your sides holding dumbbells. Curl arms to shoulder, turn hands around and press hands to the sky into a shoulder press. This will help to achieve strong shoulders which will help with lifting, and shaking cocktails.
ISOLATED WRIST CURLS
Rest your forearm on table, in a sports stance. Holding a light dumbbell, curl your wrist up and down. Make sure to do full range of motion, it will feel like a stretch. This exercise is great for preventing tendonitis, which is common in bartenders from repetitive motion of lifting bottles and stirring.
RESISTANCE LOW ROW
With resistance lined up with chest, stand in sports stance, engage the core and roll shoulders back and down. Pull resistance to mid belly, squeezing your shoulder blades together and engaging mid back. Bring arms back to straight and repeat. This exercise is great for improving posture, and strengthening the back.
RESISTANCE HIGH ROW
Stand in sports stance, keep the resistance band lined up with chest, roll the shoulders back and down. Pull resistance to upper chest keeping elbows up. Squeeze the shoulder blades together. Bring arms back to straight and repeat.
Placing forearms on each side of the door, lean the chest forward into the door space. This stretch is great for opening the chest.
LAYING GLUTE STRETCH
Cross one leg over the other, grab bottom leg and pull toward the chest. Keep your back on the ground, pull bottom leg while pushing the top knee away from your face.
Mesh your fingers together and press the top of your hands away from your body and your wrists outwards. Keep your thumbs up. You should feel this right between the shoulder in the deltoids.
Exercise is just one part of looking after your body. Proper sleep, a healthy diet, and using moderation when it comes to partying, are all equally important. Start by introducing small changes so as not to shock your body and burnout early.