On-duty EMS fitness: Pulling exercises

All the exercises in this video are designed to be done in uniform and on duty, using only your truck and your resistance band for a very effective workout


One of the basic tenets of proper biomechanically based exercise, especially public safety based exercises, is to do two pulling movements for every push movement.

Following this balanced approach allows you to start correcting some of the biomechanical faults your body possesses as well as create a stronger and more balanced body.

A wacky fun fact that I like to share is that in the human body, there are no pushing movements: any movement that is a push is actually a series of levers in the body pulling on each other to create a pushing movement. Knowing this, it only makes sense to pull twice as much as you push. Besides, the ability to pull is a job requirement (lifting movements are pulling movements too).

All the exercises in this video are designed to be done in uniform and on duty, using only your truck and your resistance band for a very effective workout. All exercises are to be done for three sets of 12-15 repetitions. The last two to three reps should be difficult; if not, just back up a step on the next set.

Remember to root your feet to the floor and maintain a hip hinge or mini-squat at all times, which ensures the back exercise is also a "full-body" exercise, meaning your abs are firing well and you are burning more calories by doing less work.

As stated in the video, for each row movement I want you to focus on and imagine squeezing an egg between your shoulder blades. This allows the proper muscles to contract and will keep the lower back and upper traps out of the game.

You can do these exercises two to three times per week, and remember to walk for a few minutes before your workout to warm up and go through the on-duty stretching before and after your exercise session.

About the author

Bryan Fass, ATC, LAT, CSCS, EMT-P (ret.), has dedicated over a decade to changing the culture of EMS from one of pain, injury, and disease to one of ergonomic excellence and provider wellness. He has leveraged his 15-year career in sports medicine, athletic training, spine rehabilitation, strength and conditioning and as a paramedic to become an expert on prehospital patient handling/equipment handling and fire-EMS fitness. His company, Fit Responder, works nationally with departments to reduce injuries and improve fitness for first responders. Contact Bryan at bryan.fass@ems1.com

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