Firefighters have an injury rate that is four (4) times higher than other physically demanding professions such as construction and agriculture.
It’s no secret within the firefighting community that it’s easy and all too common to get injured. For many, sustaining an injury can mean long-lasting chronic pain, increased susceptibility to subsequent injuries, and leaving the line for an administrative position. In fact, injuries are the most common reason for early retirement within the fire service.
Research shows that firefighters who exercise and possess a high level of fitness are at a lower risk for injury. However, data also illustrates that firefighters experience injuries during exercise training. This means there are exercises that should either not be done or are not being done correctly.
Your Body and Fitness
Another factor to consider is the concept of accumulated stress or trauma to the joints. Many people have observed the phenomenon when someone who lifts heavy people or machinery all day suddenly breaks their back picking up a pencil. Spine researchers believe that what’s actually occurring is a progressively lowering threshold for injury due to micro trauma. This micro trauma occurs particularly during tasks that people repeat over and over. The trauma may or may not cause pain, but it is doing damage that will eventually result in a total failure of a joint or region of the body.
It may sound counter-intuitive but some exercises, while effective at strengthening a muscle, place extreme stress on the joints involved. These are the exercises that firefighters want to avoid. In my experience, very few people understand this idea and know what these exercises are.
So over the next five weeks I’m going to tell you (with pictures!) the exercises that firefighters should NOT do. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging, I’ll also tell you what exercises to do instead – so you’re working the intended muscle(s) without placing excessive strain on your joints.
Read the complete series here:
5 Exercises FFs Should NOT Do & What To Do Instead