One of the most commonly used movements specific to firefighters is rotation, and most low back injuries occur during rotation while under load (such as when we're pulling hose). This specific movement is often difficult to train, but there is a way.
The TRX Rip Trainer has developed a simple method to help develop the dynamic rotation need for many firefighter tasks. The concept is quite simple: load one end by attaching the bungee to a fixed anchor point, which forces the body to train asymmetrically. More importantly, because firefighters are always loaded unevenly, it's both functional and specific to the needs of the job.
Check out this Rip Training workout brought to you by Fire Engineering, John Hofman (a TRX FORCE instructor and Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Sacramento Fire Department) and Director of Rip Training Pete Holman to build firefighter-level fitness.
To help create this anti-rotation incorporate exercises such as the squat to press or squat to row to force the core stabilizers to engage through the hips, abs, and lower back while resisting rotation. This anti-rotation is very important in preventing low back injuries.
Pulling hose often causes low back injuries and is a great example of a dynamic rotational movement. As with most dynamic rotational movements, the power is generated in the lower half of the body (hips) and transferred through the midsection (core) and finishing off with the upper body (arm). How many times has a recruit come away with low back pain from pulling hose 10, 20, or 30 times in a day? Exercises such as the golf swing, lateral swing, and overhead swing are great ways to develop this rotational power, which is specific to the needs of the firefighter.
Not only can the rip trainer be used in any strength program, it can be easily adapted to any metabolic conditioning program. By incorporating exercises such split kneeling chops and lateral press, it is a great complement to any injury or rehab program.