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Can You Shoot A Cannon Out of a Canoe?

Short answer = No.  Due to the small and unstable base of the canoe in the water when you put that cannon in the canoe and pull the trigger you will get a big explosion BUT not a lot of distance or accuracy on your shot. Place that same cannon on the ground and let it rip. 

Officers, this is simple physics and the basis for almost all of your offensive and defensive techniques/tactics.  Step into any BLET class, academy or dojo and the very first thing taught are stances.  Stances that help you to have better balance, generate more kicking or striking power and stances to help you with better weapon accuracy.

SO try these 3 exercises to not only improve all of the above but also reduce you chance of suffering a lower extremity injury while on the job.  Obviously all these exercises and all your exercises must be done standing.  No fight starts sitting down, you do not run while sitting and frankly you simply sit too much as it is.

1. Core Press: If you follow this column then you might recognize this exercise from a past column.  Not to be redundant but this one of our favorite exercises for LEO stance and stability development as it mirrors what you have already been trained to do. The beauty of the core press is that it works ab’s, arms, chest and legs at the same time!

a. Use a band or cable

b. the handle should be in line with your lower shoulder

c. take a shoulder width stance, “root” the floor” , head up and hips out slightly.

d. Press the band out until your arms are fully extended, pause and return to the start position.

e. 3 sets of 12 -15 on each side.  Can be done on push day or with ab’s.

2. Split Squat: In the strength and conditioning world there is some controversy surrounding the need to squat.  Specifically should we be doing squats, front or back, with both legs. The theory is that we never use both legs at the same time, there is always some variable like terrain or leg length or muscle imbalances that causes our legs to “fire” at different times.  A lot of pro athletes are now doing single leg training hence exercise number two.  Plus this exercise gives the non-working leg a great hip flexor stretch which we will all benefit from.

You can use a bench, a bar or any object that is roughly knee height off the floor.

                a. Root the front foot to the floor, the back foot is elevated and relaxed.

                b. Perform a split squat; do not let your knee touch the floor.

c. On the ascent make sure to keep your torso upright and press through the entire foot.  Do not lock the knee at the top.

d. 3 sets of 10-12 reps will do the trick.  As you advance hold a weight on your chest or a kettle bell in your hand on the working side.

3. Bowlers Squat: This exercise seems very strange and to some simple BUT I caution you to go slow and use proper technique.  This exercise is designed to build dynamic lower extremity stability and core stability.  This movement will help with everything from jumping to kicking while helping to “correct” come of the underlying muscle imbalances we see from sitting too long.  *This is also a great functional warm up.

                a. Stand on one leg (for some this will be difficult unto itself).

b. As the leg moves across (behind) the body and reaches out the arms reach the opposite direction.

c. 5-8 rep’s will do to start, nice and slow for 3 sets.

d. as you progress go farther, pick up the pace a bit BUT control is the key.

e. If done properly your hips, quad and ankle will burn baby burn.

All three of these exercises can and should be used throughout your career.  Not only are they job specific but they will help to give you a tactical advantage from the improved stability.  Now you will be able to “stand in the canoe”. 

PLUS all these exercises I would choose to use with patients suffering from back pain and knee injuries as they are very corrective.  On top of that all three of these movements I personally use when teaching tactical fitness and when teaching the basics of striking and evasion.  Exercise can and should mirror your job.   So now you can not only stand in the canoe but you will be more stable when it’s time to fire that cannon.