In my last column I introduced what was a foreign concept to most: anaerobic training. The difference being that in public safety we do not utilize our aerobic capacity while on duty. So to train and develop our short burst endurance is a way of exercising that most have never done.
Now, when I say never what I mean is if you have not played sports you have most likely not experienced the burn. To train and develop anaerobic threshold endurance requires short and intense bursts of activity with little or no rest. Think back to practice in high school or college, remember the suicides or gassers that your coach loved to have you do? Remember the burn? Remember the rapid heart rate and breathing? That is anaerobic!
The beauty of anaerobic training is that it can be done while on duty, I alluded to this fact in last month's column. Based on the comments and questions I received it seems prudent to go a little deeper into the subject.
Obviously anything that elevates your heart rate will burn calories and that means weight loss. On duty it is sometimes difficult to jog or run, nor is it necessary. Simple exercises like step ups, gassers in the parking lot, body weight squats, lunges, push ups, squat-rows and squat presses can all be done with little or no equipment in between calls or prior to checking on for the day.
Here is an example of a 15 minute routine that you can do during your shift:
- Lunge walk 10 steps each leg.
- Resistance band squat to row (25 repetitions)
- Push up (10-20 reps)
- Sprint or run the parking lot end to end 2 times. Approx. 40 yards 1 way.
- Squat to press (10-15 reps) while standing on a resistance band.
- Step ups
- Parking lot gassers 2 times
- Body weight squats
Keep in mind that the exercises above are mid-range to advanced. You must have normal flexibility, strength and be injury free. With that being said the beauty of the sample program above is that all the exercises will aid you in achieving flexibility and fitness, just slow them down and take some time between exercises.
As your strength, endurance and flexibility improves step up the pace and take less rest between sets. Remember, the sample program is specific in its order of exercises; all the resistance exercises need to be done under complete control with no momentum.
The goal of this type of training is endurance and strength but under no circumstances do we want to promote injury or excessive strain. Slower is better and control is key. Running calls requires a synergy of muscular endurance, strength, balance and anaerobic capacity. Distance training will not help much while on a call, but please keep in mind that we must learn what exercises not to do while integrating exercises that are beneficial for injury prevention and wellness.
Did anyone notice that the sample routine above and the routine I placed on my website are devoid of crunches, leg raises, jumps and bench presses? There is a very specific reason for this, they are dangerous and will contribute to the faulty patterns already wreaking havoc in your body. Try to integrate exercises that involve body weight along with balance at the same time, they tend to be safer and more functional / applicable to your segment of Public Safety work.
Remember that to be fit and well takes little time and is easy to integrate into your day, on duty or off. There is way too much misinformation out there on fitness, exercise and wellness. Please beware of gimmicks and flashy fads, integrate exercise and lifestyle changes that are tested and safe while keeping in mind that what you know you may know wrong, there may be a better way!
To help get you started I will put up a few sample programs on my web site. Be sure to see the stretching section before beginning the more advanced conditioning programs. www.fitnessprogramsplus.com. Also be sure to check out the new FIT RESPONDER Blog with daily fitness, wellness, exercise and diet tips on all things Public Safety.