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Home > Topics > Health and Wellness
May 03, 2011
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First in Fitness
by Bryan Fass

The inchworm drill

This exercise is easy to do in uniform, making it simple to do while on duty.

By Bryan Fass

Responders, for this month's column I think it due time that we go back to basics.

Less talk and more action; specifically, less of yours truly writing what you should or should not be doing and more demonstrating with practical on-duty examples. The exercise I have chosen to start with is called an inch worm. It is a stretch for the hamstrings, calves, lower back and hips, and also a strengthener for the core, spine, abs and arms.

The beauty of this movement is that it's self limiting. If you are too tight to do the full movement, simply reduce the range of motion or even better hold the stretch positions longer.

This exercise/stretch is easy to do in uniform, thus making it simple to do while on duty. As a precaution, if you have any history of or are having pain in the calves, knees or lower back please consult with a physician or physical therapist prior to performing this movement.

Just as the name implies, you'll inchworm your way across the room keeping your glutes tight and your abs braced (see past articles on how to brace). Try this 2-3 times per week to loosen up and get stronger.

Preparation

Begin on your hands, with knees locked and feet flat. (‘V' position)



Photo courtesy Bryan Fass
The 'V' position

Movement

Brace your abdominals, and maintain spinal alignment. Slowly walk out on your hands into position 2, squeeze the glutes, hold 5 seconds. (Plank position)


Photo courtesy Bryan Fass
The 'plank' position

 

Walk your legs up to position 3, keeping the knees locked throughout the movement. Continue.


Photo courtesy Bryan Fass

Tips

  • Avoid letting the hips rock side to side.
  • Do not shrug your shoulders or round your back. 
  • This is a great Hamstring and calf stretch.

Progression

As you get stronger, perform with a pushup

About the author

Bryan Fass is a leading expert on public safety injury prevention. As the president and founder of Fit Responder, Bryan’s company works nationally with departments, corporations, and state and local governments to design and run targeted injury prevention and wellness programs. He is frequently contacted for expert opinion and content contribution for all aspects of public safety fitness, ergonomics and wellness. He authored the Fit Responder book used by departments and schools, and writes for numerous web and peer-reviewed journals including the NSCA-TSAC journal, officer.com, JEMS, ems-1.com & best practices in EMS.

Bryan holds a bachelors’ degree in sports medicine with more than 17 years of clinical practice, was a paramedic for more than 8 years, and is certified as an Athletic Trainer (ATC, LAT), Strength Coach (CSCS) and the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). Fit Responder developed the nation’s first validated pre-hire Physical Abilities Test for EMS. Bryan is a sought-after speaker on a variety of topics including risk reduction, employee self-care, real world wellness and How to Eat on the street. Fit Responder also offers a mobile app and program for Fire-Rescue fitness. Contact Bryan at bryan.fass@ems1.com.
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