The gym I’ve been spending most of my time at these days is filled with firefighters and police officers. Seeing these amazing people throw down everyday in the gym gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling we all want from people in these professions. If you can beat my “Fran” time then I’m pretty sure you can save my kids from a house fire.
So with that being said I wanted to address a topic I get asked about quite a bit: Warm up for military and first responder folks.
My normal disclaimer applies to this material as well… Everything needs to be tested because everyone is different. This is what I found to work well with myself and the military athletes I’ve coached![/box]
If I have to warm up, am I always ready?
Basically, my answer in No.
The first time a police officer, firefighter, or military member should experience going from 0-60 with their body, without a warm up or any time to prepare, should not be in the field under a stressful, emergency situation.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think a solid warm up is necessary for 90% of your training. That other 10% though, well maybe you should focus on that realistic training thing we’ve heard about… In the most recent edition of the NSCA’s TSAC report an article titled: “Sprinting Technique For Law Enforcement” backs up my point, stating:
“…what if you do not give them the option to get ready before starting? Or, what if you do not give them a thorough warm-up? This is appropriate and desirable if you train these professionals in a controlled training environment — the first time they experience sprinting without a warm-up and preparation should be in a training setting, not in an operational setting.”
So I suggest you pick maybe a WOD per week, something that doesn’t require a high level of technical skill (i.e. Snatch, Muscle Up, etc), and hit it without warming up. Pay particular attention to how you feel and what little things pop up that nag you then you can start to figure out what areas need to be addressed separately and you’ll be able to come up with a pretty good a game plan.
Furthermore the article goes on to talk about, and I’m liberally paraphrasing here, that constantly varied, high intensity sprit training is necessary as well. I’m sure that sounds familiar to most of you reading this but for those skeptics out their I’ll quote:
“It is important for law enforcement officers to sprint train from a variety of positions such as prone (face down), supine (face up), seated (in a car), or “reversed” (resulting from being pushed to the ground or knocked to the ground). By placing the officer in variable positions to start, they can gain valuable insight to improve balance, speed, and coordination for future occupational settings.”
So how does this apply to me?
Great question. If you’ve been around my blog for a while you have probably seen the post about My CrossFit Training Philosophy where I talked about what I personally was training for. This becomes even more important for the tactical athlete. With CrossFit gaining in popularity, especially surrounding the CrossFit Games it is becoming easier and easier to forget what you are training for and start chasing all the sexy movements CrossFit provides for. More often than not this leads to neglect of the less than sexy stuff like mobility work, slowing down and focusing on proper movement, and addressing individual weaknesses and joint stability problems. Can you get REALLY fit without addressing these issues? Yep, you sure can, but eventually, no matter how great of an athlete you are, if you don’t understand proper movement and stabilization, you’ll end up broken…
As always I want to hear your thoughts on this subject! Leave me a comment and lets start a conversation!