This past summer, Grand Valley fitness technicians from Campus Recreation worked with section leaders of the Laker Marching Band to create warm-up exercises to prevent injuries on the field.
Amy Campbell, assistant director of Wellness, said it was a great opportunity for her student staff to gain experience working with a group of individuals for a very specific purpose. “They took the task very seriously by studying their performance, the movements they conduct, the muscles required, common injuries and the size and weight of the instruments being used,” said Campbell.
The request was first brought to Campbell by Tom Yackish, the marching band’s announcer, and John Martin, marching band director, to help condition the marching band members in their preseason.
Martin and Campbell met and discussed the structure of the marching band (numbers in each section, type of instruments) and past stretching/exercising efforts. They decided to focus on injury prevention and flexibility exercises to prepare for the intensity of band camp; this information gave the student workers the knowledge they needed to start crafting exercises.
Each technician was assigned a section to design and teach specific exercises. They researched the instruments’ weight, how they were carried and the type of movement that the band made while in formation. Then they created exercises to develop strength and train areas prone to injury.
“To carry an instrument for such a long period of time, you need to not only strengthen your lower back, but also your entire core so that it can support your back and reduce the risk of lower back pain or injuries,” said Campbell.
The fitness technicians did not have the actual instruments, so they used weights that were of similar size and weight to simulate the movements. They practiced each exercise before issuing them to the band.
Along with the section-specific exercises, Campbell designed warm-up exercises for the whole band.
“What is so amazing is that it started out as us just asking for guidance to help our students prepare physically, but turned into an incredible partnership between us and the Movement Science and Rec Center folks!” said Martin. “There is no doubt that this has made a major shift in the way the Laker Marching Band approaches physical readiness.”
The Laker Marching Band will perform next at the football game against Hillsdale in Lubbers Stadium on November 2 at 7 p.m.
About the Recreation Center
The Grand Valley Recreation Center offers a variety of services throughout the academic year, including free Ufit Plan exercise programming, massage therapy, small group fitness classes, a variety of large group fitness classes, personal training, free health screenings, intramural sports and CPR/First Aid classes. They also have a registered dietitian who offers a variety of nutrition services. For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/rec.