Changing the stance on a traditional movement can make it more functional for first responders.
What makes an exercise "functional" for firefighters, EMTs, and medics? In order to answer this question, we must first define what functional training means. The definitions can be varied and broad and often the term functional training is abused and over-used. The best definition that I found and one that I think really pertains to the fire service comes from the Mayo clinic. They define functional training as: “Training the body for the activities performed in daily life”.
In the context of first responders, our daily life or shift requires us to lift heavy patients, drag heavy firehose, climb stairs with heavy gear, carry equipment, lift and hoist ladders overhead, all of which require good core strength and mobility. Therefore, for an exercise to be "functional' for a first responder, it must help us perform one if not all of those activities.
FRF Functional Exercise of the month.
To help you and your crew understand how to create and determine functional exercises, I will be creating special monthly posts. Each month I will break down an exercise and explain why it is functional for us as firefighters, EMTs, and medics.
This month's exercise is the Standing DB Press. Take a look at the video and pictures below. Feel free to make a print of the exercise and post it in your workout rooms.
Exercise overview: This is a great option to work the core and develop upper body and shoulder strength. This exercise can be used as a strength exercise or added as an option for an afterburner.
Muscle Groups Involved: Core, shoulders, and arms
Coaching Tips: Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, hold dumbbells at your shoulders palms facing in slightly. Be sure to have your head in proper alignment (not jutting forward or back. While keeping the dumbbells at your shoulders, bend your knees slightly. Slowly press the weights straight over your shoulders. Hold for a second with your arms fully extended. Your hands can rotate to keep balance. After holding, slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. It is important NOT to let your back arch at any time during the movement. If you have any shoulder impingement, restrict the motion to accommodate or find an alternative exercise. Repeat as directed by your FRF workout and your level of fitness. Perform each rep with control.
Click here for a PDF to print and put in your department workout room.
Let me know if you have any questions. You can reach me via the "contact FRF" tab. Please share this information with your crew and print out the exercise and place it in your workout rooms.
Stay safe and #GETFRF,
Zam (Aaron Zamzow)