One of the most satisfying aspects of law enforcement is doing the leg work, being diligent, putting the pieces together and getting the conviction that puts the criminal behind bars. You base your entire career around protecting and serving with a strong conviction toward your job and the badge. Your family, friends and brothers/sisters on the street hold a similar conviction to the honor and pride of being an officer. Seldom do you look at your health and wellness with the same conviction as you look upon the things you hold so dear, but without your health and wellness you have nothing at all.
In previous columns I regurgitated facts, tips, ideas and tricks to being healthy in your career so instead of repeating history let’s try a different track. Allow me to design you a program, specific to law enforcement that will keep you fit and on the street. I strongly encourage you to read back a few articles on the tips and tricks I have been discussing so you are all up to speed on the basics.
So it’s time to start your shift, instead of just slapping on your uniform and heading out step out of the box for a change and give your body a chance. Just like checking and rechecking your weapons and gear you need to do the same for your body. Stretch your hip flexors, gluteals, hamstrings, calves, neck, chest and lats. Doing this once a day or even better a few times throughout the shift will leave you feeling better and when the time comes moving, jumping, running, fighting and winning better too. Before putting on your uniform grab you self mobilization ball and roll out those nasty spots that constantly ache, your body will thank you and your boss will too when you don’t get hurt.
Exercise, and make sure that your exercises are job specific while not contributing to injury patterns. Below is an example of a fitness routine that is law enforcement specific. It’s not fancy but let me share a secret with you, the most effective exercises don’t usually look like much but when done right and in the right order they are very effective. Some of these exercises “look” different but trust me they work. Control is key and numbers are irrelevant. I would prefer to see 8 perfect reps then a bunch of sloppy ones just to achieve a number, that is how we get hurt. This routine is taken directly from the Fit Responders Advanced training manual and the exercises are just that, advanced. If you are unfamiliar with these movements or have any difficulty please consult with a professional first. Warm up prior to the routine and stretch along with your self mobilization techniques prior to beginning. Try to knock this out 2-3 times in a week with a day of cardio in between resistance workouts.
The exercise seen here will be covered in depth at the enforcement expo in Las Vegas on Thursday August 1st in a session titled Injury Prevention through Tactical Fitness.
Strap Squat to Row: Using the proper equipment, as shown in the accompanying photo, assume a squating postion holding the straps and perform a rowing motion while maintaining your squatted position. Three sets of fifteen reps is your goal.
Strap Split Squat: Using the proper equipment, as shown in the accompanying photo, hook one foot into the strap with your other foot forward so that you're standing upright. With your hands on your hips (or out as necessary for balance), squat as deeply as you can or until your thigh is parallel with the ground and then return to a standing position. Three sets of twelve reps per leg is your goal.
Slider Hamstring Curls: Lying on your back with your arms spread at your sides to provide stability and your heels on slider pads, lift your hips and alternately curl in your heel to your backside. As one heel curls in, the other slides out. One rep is counted with each rotation of both heels in. (left in as right out, right in and left out = one rep). Three sets of fifteen reps is your goal.
Bar Core Stirs: Standing upright with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart and using a weight bar, grasp the bar at your chest level and 'stir' it around in a circular motion moving in either direction extending your arms as far out and around as you can without having to lean your body to hold it. Each full 'stir' is one rep. Your goal is three sets of twelve reps.
Slider Core Arm Slides: Beginning in a standard push-up position with your hands on slider pads, slide your hands in opposite directions, forward and back while maintaining your straight posture. One rep is counted as your hand (pick one before you start) goes from forward to back and returns to forward. Your goal is three sets of fifteen reps.
Strap Knee to Chest: Using the proper equipment, as shown in the accompanying photo, hook both feet in the straps and assume an elevated push-up position. While maintaining your hands in place and moving so that your knees don't touch the ground, lift your knees toward your chest as far as you can pull against the resistance and return to the elevated push-ups position. Your goal is three sets of fifteen reps.
Be sure to check out Bryan's presentation at Law Enforcement Expo Las Vegas on August 1st. It's health and fitness information you won't want to miss!
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 [email protected].