Tactical Strength & Conditioning
The month of April brought on an incredible opportunity to work with a group of individuals who are at the top of their profession. This all went down in Indianapolis last week for the FDIC Firefighter Conference. To put this event in a nutshell, as many as 30,000 of the worlds greatest firefighters gather in Indy to learn more about their craft. My team and I were fortunate to be part of the 197 Hands On Training Instructors for this conference. This was my first year there so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I have to thank my buddy Matt who works with the New York City Fire Department for inviting me to be a part of this all.
The topic that we discussed with our group of 60 men and women from all over the world involved the physical aspect of their job, how to train the body and mind to appropriately deal with the stressors their job brings, and how to "unwind" when the shift ends and life outside the fire house begins. Their job requires them to be ready when the bell rings. There is no way around that. They do not have 8-12 minutes to get in a dynamic warmup. When that bell rings, it is go time!
To replicate this during training is no easy task. Our goal was to present them with ideas and information that they can take back to their fire house for implementation. The main priority is to keep these individuals healthy and on the job. That being said, injury prevention is non-negotiable. It must be the focus of training.
So how do you do that? To me, it comes down to three things:Do not get injured in the first place! The number one cause of future injury is previous injury. Do everything in your power to stay healthy. The best way to do that: don't do any stupid crap in your free time! Don't jump off of trucks when you can step down. Skip that basketball tournament your buddy invited you to play in...especially since you haven't played in 20 years. Leave the box jumps and other high risk training modalities for the college athletes. Reduce asymmetries from one side of the body to the other. Over time, these imbalances will cause an injury (revert to #1 if you forgot how important it is to prevent injury). One limb will also be a little stronger or a little more mobile than the other. The goal is to close the gap between the two sides. It should not be drastic. Improve your overall strength. Strength is like a bowl. The larger the bowl, the more things we can fit inside of it. Just think, the stronger we are, the easier it becomes to pick up an object, get out of a chair, climb stairs, carry an object, etc. The stronger we become, the better we will be at our job. Now, if you are able to make improvements in these three areas, you will be ready to move and react in much more efficient manner when that bell rings. There will be no limping while climbing stairs. No issues hauling equipment, and overall, you will be a much more healthy individual. These events are stressful. If you can get your body to be ready for anything, it's one less thing you have to focus on or worry about on the job. You know it will not be your fitness that holds you back.
TIf you have any questions regarding this topic, or may work in a firehouse who may be interested in discussing the details of our presentation, please get in touch. We would gladly come to your station to talk shopT
Thanks for reading!