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:
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.
If 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 shop!
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Thanks for reading!
Chris is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He has recently served as a high school football and wrestling coach. Chris loves swinging kettlebells around, watching football and reading books!