Balance, coordination, power, strength, cardiovascular recovery….all essential fitness traits of the “fit for duty” Fire Rescue Athlete. If you are a Fire Rescue Athlete (or not) you need to plan your workouts to address each of these traits. One of the most overlooked is balance and coordination. As a trainer, I get asked how and when is the best time to train for balance? And, as a firefighter I get asked why do I need to train for balance?
Well, the last thing you want to happen as you climb a ladder or lift a patient is to lose your balance; this often leads to injury or possible death.
You can easily modify current exercises to challenge your balance by changing your stance (going from two legs to one), standing on a balance board or BOSU, changing your angle of movement (incline or decline), and/or using a stability ball instead of a stable object. Another option is to add single-leg exercises into your active rest.
Take a look at the video below, the single-leg squat touchdowns is one of the best exercises for improving balance and coordination on the fire ground.
Try to incorporate this exercise into your workout. I like to perform a dumbbell deadlift (click to see this exercise) first then as an active rest I will try to perform 8-12 reps (single-leg touchdowns) each leg.