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On-duty EMS fitness: Abdominal training News

November 17, 2011

First in Fitness
by Bryan Fass

On-duty EMS fitness: Abdominal training

Your abdominals' primary job is twofold: to create trunk stability and core/spine stiffness

By Bryan Fass

One of the biggest myths in fitness and in injury prevention is how to properly train the abdominal wall.

Think of your abdominal muscles like a corset or weight belt, and with that visual in mind get rid of the notion that crunches and leg raises make your abs stronger.

Your abdominals' primary job is twofold: to create trunk stability and core/spine stiffness. The key to strong abs is possessing the ability to maintain postural control with the abdominal wall engaged for the duration of an event.

In public safety, this directly affects patient handling and lifting. The exercises in this video — plank reach, lateral plank and core press — are simple and highly effective. They allow you to get stronger while on duty and in uniform.

The keys to the exercises are simple, perfect positioning and progressive hold of the positions. As you get stronger, the duration of the exercise will increase, which will directly affect the ease at which you do your job.

Since crunches actually increase your chance for back injury, and leg raises cause postural distortions that increase your chance for back and knee injury, it only makes sense to incorporate some very safe, effective and easy on-duty exercises into your training.

Train your abs 2-3 times per week for 2-3 sets of a progressive hold. Start out with 20-30 seconds and build up from there, but remember that form always trumps function. As with all your training, it's quality over quantity.

About the author

Bryan Fass is an expert on public safety injury prevention, patient and equipment handling ergonomics, fitness and wellness and a noted speaker and consultant. Bryan has authored four books including the Fit Responder. He works nationally with departments, corporations, state and local governments to design and run targeted injury prevention and wellness programs for public entities and private organizations. He is frequently contacted for expert opinion and content contribution for all aspects of public safety. Bryan holds a bachelor's degree in sports medicine, was a paramedic for more than eight years, and is certified as an Athletic Trainer & Strength Coach. He is the president and founder of the Fit Responder. Contact Bryan at
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Kirk Hunker Kirk Hunker Wednesday, February 08, 2012 6:55:29 AM I remember watching him make these videos when out in Las Vegas at the EMSWorld EXPO last August.... Learned a lot about exercise...
Marie Rhodes Marie Rhodes Sunday, June 10, 2012 4:20:45 PM Thank you Bryan... I'm back to training now and usually I perform the first two exercises, but surely I will work you the third one. Besides, "classical" abs can have negative effects on women. These exercises are close to hyper-pressive abs, aren't them?

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