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Tactical Fitness: Legs Complex

Last month’s article covered some ‘basic’ functional leg training.  I personally want to thank those of you who emailed me some great positive and constructive comments; I love the professional feedback!  As promised, let’s look at some complex lower body training designed to reduce injury potential while increasing tactical power.  To build tactical power every officer must have a combination of the following biomechanical components. Without all three of these, injury risk is high and power generation is poor.

1) Joint Mobility

2) Muscular Mobility

3) Muscular balance

JOINT MOBILITY is the joints ability to move freely and equally.  There are literally hundreds of joint mobility exercises so for the sake of time and function in a busy officer’s life I recommend the Inch worm spider man.  As the pictures show start in a push up position:

a) Look up, look down 5 times holding each for 5 seconds, keep your shoulder blades down.

b) Walk back on your hands till your legs are straight and heels are flat on the floor (this will be VERY hard for many of you) slowly roll each foot in and out for 5 seconds each 3 times each leg.

c) Walk back down into the push up position, Keeping one leg locked bring the other foot around and flat on the floor next to your hand, hold for 5 seconds, return to the start position and repeat on the opposite side for 5 times each side.

MUSCULAR MOBILITY we have covered a number of times in this column so go back and review tissue mobilization techniques with the tennis ball or foam roller to release the tissue adhesions and trigger points that change how you move and cause pain.

MUSCULAR BALANCE is a big issue with yours truly as it’s the key to everything we do.  It is said that there are 3 phases in a weight lifters life.  Body building (you get hurt), Power lifting (you get hurt) and finally the functional athlete.  If you have not made it to the functional athlete keep lifting the way you are and you will get there soon.  Traditional lifting and almost all mass produced workouts will make you fit and hurt, I have lost count of all the potentially career ending injuries from these programs, there is a time and place for some and I mean some of these workouts but folks NOT every day.  These programs actually encourage and reinforce the muscular imbalances that cause the specific injury patterns we see in public safety.  So with that being said try this routine to start.  Mobilize the tissue then the joints as I outlined above.

Using a furniture slider; the foot on the floor is stationary and the knee is always over the foot.  Slide to the side as far as you can control your torso and leg, pause and using the stationary leg bring yourself back to standing using only the weight bearing stationary leg, this will make the entire leg and glute fire!   At best you will get 8-10 reps if done correctly, do 3 sets.

Next go pack in to the push up position, shoulder blades pulled down and do 15-20 hip abductions for 3 sets with 45 seconds rest between sets.

Next go back into your push up position in your straps, still keeping your shoulders blades down and without excessive rounding of your spine let’s get the hip flexor group involved with some knee pulls.  3 sets of 15-20 with 60 seconds rest will do the trick.

Add this progression at the end of last month’s leg workout and brothers / sisters we have a well rounded leg and hip routine that will help to get it done safely, effectively, efficiently and its fun.


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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