Tactical Fitness

In previous columns I have discussed upper cross and lower cross postural patterns and we have examined how they contribute to injurious patterns and inefficient muscular firing in the body.

4) Leg raises: Many officers believe that leg raises of any fashion strengthen the abs but this is far from the truth.  Sure you may feel it in your abs but these exercises actually over work your hip flexors and place significant compressive strain on your PSOAS which is a primary spine stabilizer.  Since we all sit too much making the hip flexors tighter while compressing muscles that do not need compression means these exercises have little to no benefit.

3) Shrugs:  This one is short and sweet, your traps are tight and cause a lot of the pain and dysfunction felt in the neck, shoulders and upper back.  Do not do them, the traps get more then enough work on other exercises.

2) Back Extensions: Any prudent officer with a sore back wants to make it stronger so off to the gym you go and the first exercise chosen is the back extension which places 680lbs of compressive force on the spine PER REP!  The key to a strong back is having flexible hip flexors and strong stable glutes.  Your hips and gluteal muscles are the key to a strong back.  Squats, step ups, bridges, lunges are all the keys to avoiding back injury while drastically improving tactical fitness.

1) Crunches:  Last but definitely not least is the venerable crunch.  This staple of abdominal training and spine wrecking puts 730lbs of force PER REP on each segment of the spine.  730 lbs is a NIOSH action point where all activity must stop but there you are banging out rep after rep with the ultimate result being tissue damage and failure.  Instead do planks, lateral planks, core presses and prone reach exercises as they fire the entire abdominal wall safely and naturally.  Strong abs means better core control and better balance and that translates into superb tactical fitness.

As I closed my class at the enforcement expo so I will close here with the knowledge that to be tactically fit means understanding what defeats us mechanically, remove those obstacles and you will be able to do all that you expect out of your body.


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About The Author:

Bryan Fass is the author of “Fit Responder”, a comprehensive wellness plan for the first responder, and the Fit Responder Blog. 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. Bryan 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 him via email to bryan@firepoliceemsfitness.net.

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