Stretching Exercises to Combat Forklift and Equipment Operator Fatigue

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

Today we are going to talk about the importance of stretching. Did you know that stretching can help combat operator fatigue as well as muscle soreness, and overall body stiffness? We are going to review our machine operator stretch routine you can do before or after your shift, and even on breaks!

Our easy-to-remember routine includes 11 simple stretches. Make sure you do each stretch on both sides of your body and hold them for 20-30 seconds. We recommend having something to hold onto for balance and to help with your stretches, like a table, or even your equipment. If you’re using your equipment please make sure that your machine is off and parked in a safe area. Also, make sure you are not holding onto any components that get hot or that might be dirty or oily.

Hamstring Stretch, Adductor Stretch, and Hip Flexor Stretch

Let’s start with our legs. First we are going to do a hamstring stretch. Find something to elevate your foot on that is about 1-2 feet off the ground. Flex your foot so your toes are pointing to the sky and bend over from your hips. Keep your back straight and focus your gaze on your toes, and lean forwards.

Moving onto a hip flexor stretch now, we want to stand with our feet about 3-feet apart, front to back. Keep both heels flat on the ground, toes pointing forwards. Lean forwards until you can feel a gentle pull in your hip flexor area.

Don’t forget about the adductors. These inner thigh muscles get very stiff from sitting so it’s important to give them a good stretch. Stand with your feet about 3-feet apart, side to side. Keep your toes pointing forwards and your back straight. Gently bend one knee while keeping the other leg straight.

Calf Stretches

We have two calf stretches for you. You can use a wall or even your equipment as a surface to lean against. Stand facing the wall with your feet anywhere from 1-2 feet apart, front-to-back, depending on your flexibility. Keep both heels flat on the ground and lean forwards with your back leg straight until you can feel a gentle pull in that back calf muscle. For the second portion of this calf stretch you will keep the same position but bend your back leg. This will stretch a different set of your calf muscles closer to your ankle.

Neck Stretches

Let’s move onto the neck. Neck stretches feel fantastic and spending a few seconds here helps to combat operator fatigue—we don’t blame you if you want to hang out here longer than the 20-30 second recommendation! Gently roll your neck from one side of your body, down to your chest, and to the other side. You should feel a gentle pull in the muscles in your neck as well as the tops of your shoulders.

Chest Stretches

You will need another wall, or even a portion of your equipment to hold onto for this chest stretch. With your palm facing forwards, place it or grab onto a part of your wall, door handle, or whatever you have available. Keep your arm straight and gently turn your body away from your outstretched arm.

For this next stretch you will need something to hold onto, like a table as an example. Stand beside your surface and rotate your arm so your palm is facing the sky and your fingers are pointing away from you and grasping your surface. Tilt your head in the opposite direction of your surface. You should feel a stretch in the side of your neck and your trapezoid muscles.

Upper Back Stretches

Let’s focus our attention on to a rhomboid stretch, or the muscles in your upper back. These help to maintain good posture, so it is important to stretch them after sitting for long periods of time. With a rounded back, hold onto either a table, back of your chair, or your equipment. While holding on with outstretched arms, push through the top of your back to release the tension.

Triceps Stretch, Hand Stretches, and Wrist Stretches

Next up is a triceps stretch. Straighten one arm and cross it in front of your body. With your other arm, hook it under your forearm and pull towards your chest. Make sure your crossed arm stays straight otherwise this stretch will not be as effective.

Finally, are our hands and wrists. Start by stretching one arm out in front of you with your wrist flexed so your palm is facing away from you. With your other hand, grab onto your fingertips and gently pull towards yourself. Now with both arms stretched out in front of you flex your hands up and point them down to give yourself a nice wrist stretch. And lastly, bring your hands down to your sides in fists with the inside of your elbows facing forwards. While keeping your arms at your sides, pull your fists backwards to stretch the inside of your forearms.

We hope you enjoyed this quick machine operator stretching exercise to help combat operator fatigue. This video is a helpful guide for stretching at work or even if you’re looking for some office stretches to combat the stiffness from sitting for long periods of time. You can save this video to your bookmarks tab or your favorite videos on YouTube for easy access!