St. Louis soccer stadium construction workers exercise together every day


ST. LOUIS – Our Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX catches a daily ritual for construction workers at the new soccer stadium in Downtown St. Louis. The workers say it’s the best way to start the day.

“Every morning we do bend and stretch with everybody on site. That’s a requirement,” said Ian Small, safety director for the Mortenson-Alberici-Keeley Joint-Venture (MAK JV) construction team that’s building the stadium for St. Louis’s new Major League Soccer (MLS) soccer team, St. Louis CITY SC. “It wakes you up, for sure.”

And with the kind of work that goes into an estimated $460 million, 22,500-seat stadium, you truly have to be on your game.

Every day at 7 a.m. sharp, the workers go through a professionally-designed 5 to 7-minute program to loosen up. Everyone participates, from management on down.

“It’s part of our ‘zero injury’ program,” Small said. “We do this across the country on all of our projects.

“It’s more than just about the stretching. It’s really about communication, building morale, establishing our culture.”

Dr. Katie Russo of SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital’s physical therapy department says that goes for all of us.

Not just the professional athletes who will be playing soccer at the stadium in the near future and not just the 200 workers now stretching daily at the construction site.

“The body wants to move,” Russo said. “Our joints need that movement to warm themselves up.”

Whether your job is to tote a microphone, sit at a desk, or build soccer stadiums, something like that 5 to 7-minute stretch routine is probably a much better way to start your day than that morning coffee.

“It’s really important to get up and move before you sit down to work and then, we say every half hour, it gets your heart rate up a little bit, increases endorphins,” Russo said.

Workers say it adds to their bond with the city, the team that will be play here, and their pride in the job. They actually dread of the idea of starting a day without their bend and stretch routine.

“I guess I’d be a little stiffer, for starters, but I’d miss out on the communication,” Small said. “We always play music. It’s a little jovial, a light start to the day. It really helps get you motivated for what’s ahead and start with a positive outlook.”

Small said it’s important for the workers to maintain good physical conditioning and a “solid mental state.”

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