Make this page my home page
  1. Drag the home icon in this panel and drop it onto the "house icon" in the tool bar for the browser

  2. Select "Yes" from the popup window and you're done!

More Steps for Uniform Fitness

Print Comment RSS


Bryan Fass First in Fitness
by Bryan Fass

More Steps for Uniform Fitness

By Bryan Fass

Our work can be mostly reactionary. We do a phenomenal job of responding to and managing the problem after it has occurred. Medicine is no different — let's fix the problem after the damage is done and for that matter just take a pill and make it all better. Responders, there is no magic pill to make it better. Our job is tough and requires strenuous lifting and working in very odd positions. From an exercise science and injury prevention perspective, the only way to prevent injury is to create a stable and functional frame to work from.

Neutral spine is a concept that is near and dear to me. As I explain to all my clients, regardless of what your fitness or rehabilitation goals are, the closer we can get your body to neutral the more efficiently and easily it functions. So what is neutral? Simply stated it is a position of maximum efficiency and proper joint positioning, a position where the bony structure of the body is lined up to maximize force production while absorbing damaging strain and impact. Check out the images at the end of this article.  

When we live in neutral, our joints have little excessive load and our muscles are not doing jobs that they were never intended to do. But, and there is always a but, take a look at your co workers and see if anyone actually meets the 'plumb line' criteria.

There are generally a few predictable patterns in the body that will lead to a faulty postural pattern and a loss of neutral spine positioning. Now, this is some seriously complicated kinesiology and biomechanics so I will use the KISS principle. Our careers, education, sedentary positions and improper exercise, to name a few, have caused this problem. But there is a fix — and one you can do so while on duty. Simply use your down time to work out:

  • Try a game of wall ball for cardiovascular fitness 
  • Use a reaction ball to increase agility
  • Do step ups on the step plate to build hip strength, walk laps around the station or parking lot
  • Use the grab bars on your truck to tether resistance bands on for strengthening exercises

These are all simple and easy things you can do anywhere, anytime.

Meanwhile, to correct faulty posture and poor mechanics, we need to understand a few simple things:

1) Pull twice as much as you push
The muscles in the front of our body get progressively short and tight over time, and our seated postures and poor exercise choices contribute to this. Performing pushing exercises like bench press and shoulder press simply make this imbalance worse. We need to stretch the anterior muscles to allow the posterior muscles which have become long and weak to function properly. Only then can we move properly and hope to restore optimal posture.

2) When you stretch, you should stretch the muscle on the opposite side of the body from the one that's sore
Yes, you read that correctly. Same concept as #1 — if the hamstring is tight and sore, it is most likely tight because the hip flexor group is short and tight. The hamstring is in effect fighting back against your poor posture, so in many cases where you feel the discomfort is not always where the problem lies. We still need to stretch the hamstring but after you've addressed its opponent. Just like a MI responders, the arm/jaw and chest pain are the symptom of a larger problem. When you stretch, please hold it for a full minute and breathe through the entire minute to allow maximal tissue elongation.

3) When you exercise, make sure that a machine is not controlling your movements
When we join a gym or are in the market to purchase equipment for the station, the very first thing we look for is a machine. I am sorry to inform you that most machines contribute strongly to the postural deficits and muscular imbalances we suffer from. Life is fluid, the body is designed to move freely through a varied range of motion. We are not designed to contort ourselves into machines that force us to move a specific way. Have you ever noticed most of the exercise equipment requires you to sit down and most are pushing movements? Stand up to exercise, it’s natural and actually burns more calories.

Be fit, stay safe!


 

 

About the author



Bryan Fass is the author of "Fit Responder," a comprehensive wellness plan for the first responder (www.fitresponder.com) and the Fit Responder Blog (www.fitresponder.wordpress.com). Bryan has a Bachelor's Degree in Sports Medicine and is certified as a licensed athletic trainer and a strength and conditioning specialist. He was a paramedic for over 8 years, and has authored four books regarding fitness, wellness and human performance. Bryan is available for consulting and speaking on Public Safety Fitness Testing along with Fitness, Wellness and Injury Prevention Programs. Contact Bryan at Bryan.Fass@FireRescue1.com.

More articles by this author



Comments
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FireRescue1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
No comments




Back to previous page


 Most Popular

All Popular Articles


Featured Product Categories
Apparatus Collectables Mobile Data Fire Jackets and Coats SCBA
View All Categories


Today's Top Stories

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Line-Of-Duty Deaths

Richard Marchman - 07/09/2014 - [Boulder County, Colorado] Daniel Groover - 07/09/2014 - [Houston, Texas] Robert Glenn Webster Sr. - 05/06/2014 - [Glencoe, Kentucky]

Submit information on fallen firefighters in your area.

Line of Duty Deaths

FireRescue1 Exclusive

Full Story...
5 game-changing fire truck technologies
From connected vehicle to seatbelt safety, these new apparatus techs are mind blowing.
Full Story
Past Exclusives

Featured Columnist

Michael Lee Michael Lee
Street Smarts
All Columnists