The Importance of a Strong Core for Firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics

  December 18, 2011
Each year, tens of thousands of Firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics are injured while fighting fires, responding to incidents, transporting patients and training for the job. While a majority of the injuries are minor, a significant number are debilitating and career-ending.  Of these debilitating injuries almost 50% have to do with low back pain and a recent survey by the International Association of Fire Fighters determined that about half of all injury retirements were due to back injuries.  The high rate of low back injuries can be attributed to the high-risk activities that we are expected to perform, such as operating charged hoselines, climbing ladders, breaking windows, ventilating structures, performing overhaul and lifting objects greater than 40 lbs.  As you know, these tasks are often accomplished while the body’s posture is ergonomically unsound or on unstable ground.

I know I’m not telling you something you don’t already know, but I do want to emphasize the fact that over 50% of all injury retirements are due to low back pain.  Like you, I love my job and would hate to lose it because of injury.  Unlike other professions, we as Firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics don’t always have the luxury or the time to take precautions beforehand to minimize workplace injuries.  Let’s face it; we don’t have the luxury of warming up at three in the morning when we go out on a scene. 
With that in mind you MUST keep your back and your core strong.  Take a look at the video below; here are 4 exercises that you should incorporate into your current fitness program.  Don’t have a fitness program, try them anyways…your career may depend on it.  (And, stay tuned for the Ultimate Workout Program for Firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics…coming soon)
 
Try to incorporate these 4 exercises (1 or 2 circuits 10 to 20 reps)
1.  4-count crunch
2.  Plank
3.  Bicycle crunch
4.  Swimmers (opposite arm/leg raise)

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