Movement for Bartenders with MISFITSTUDIO

Any profession is hard on the body. If you sit at a desk in front of a computer for the majority of the day, that is hard on your body simply because you are not moving around enough. I am sure that we have all read that a sedentary lifestyle will shorten your life. If you are a bartender, you know how hard the job is on your body. I, myself, as a photographer can relate. Long days of standing and lugging heavy equipment – all while maintaining a smile and being pleasant to all of those around you. The morning after a particularly long and trying day, I can describe the feeling simply as: feeling as though you have just been run over by a bus.

At least, that’s how I used to feel until I actually started paying attention to how I was feeling and realised that I needed to do something about it. I wasn’t a young pup of twenty-something anymore. When you are young, working a long shift and then going out for drinks with your crew afterwards is great! But there are only so many years that you can do that before it catches up to you. Before you body slows down a little and your back/knees/feet/everything seems to constantly ache. The two things we cannot really control in this world are the weather and the fact that everyday we age a little more.

The good news is that, you are in control of that body of yours and there are things that you can do help it stay strong until the day you decide that you are done with working behind the wood. It comes down to this: movement. Recently I met up with Amber of MISFITSTUDIO in Toronto to ask her for some advice on this topic. Amber believes in the need for movement everyday. That it’s a necessity for both your body and for your mind. I have been practising with her for 1.5 years now and I can tell you: doing this has changed my life. Never have I felt stronger both physically and mentally. Waking up with that feeling that you can conquer this wild world is a pretty awesome feeling. It’s incredible what some short stretches and exercises can do to change your day, your bar shift and ultimately, your life. Below are four easy movements that you can do to make your day that much more stronger.


MISFITSTUDIO | Bartender Atlas


Begin seated in a comfortable position, preferably in a quiet and calm space to set the tone and help to release tension from your body.
Arms extended to the sides, drop one ear over toward the shoulder feeling a stretch from the inner ear, down the neck into the shoulder.
Lift opposite arm from floor, pulling away from the body to deepen the sensations.
After 3 slow breaths, lift that same arm up over head continuing to stretch neck, side and ribcage.
Repeat on other side.
Return to sitting, place both hands on head, fingers interlaced, press down firmly with hands on head while sitting up as straight as possible trickling the stretch through the neck and down the back hold this for 3 breaths or longer.

MISFITSTUDIO | Bartender Atlas

From hands and knees (hands under shoulders, knees under hips) round spine in a deep, exaggerated shape, allowing the muscles of the back to stretch out.
Hold for a deep breath.
Walk hands closer to knees and repeat, deepening the stretch into the back and ribs.

MISFITSTUDIO | Bartender Atlas

From hands and knees, inhale to lift one arm up, looking towards finger tips.
Exhale “thread” arm through the space between opposite hand and knee.
Repeat x 3
On last repetition, allow arm, shoulder and head to rest on floor, steady the body, even out weight distribution knee to knee to increase the stretch of the shoulder, lift free arm up, looking towards fingertips.
Be sure to breathe slow and deep, this is an intense stretch!

MISFITSTUDIO | Bartender Atlas

Using something to hold on to, helping you remain steady.
From standing, cross one foot over opposite knee
Bending into a slight squat, letting pelvis move wayyyy back. This will stretch out glutes, quads and hamstrings.
Increase stretch by pressing onto the folded knee with hand.
This is a great movement to do even while working behind the bar (when you have a free moment!).

Jessica Blaine Smith
Co-creator at Bartender Atlas
Jessica co-created Bartender Atlas with her bartender husband Josh Lindley. She is a full-time photographer based in Toronto, Canada. In her professional life, she documents the lives of others. Her camera has taken her all over this beautiful world from Cuba to Trinidad to France to New Zealand and Australia. While not a bartender herself, she definitely loves a strong cocktail, preferably one that is brown and/or smokey. She also loves poutine, pilates, other peoples' children and, of course, sitting at all of your bars.
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