Balance, coordination, power, strength, cardiovascular recovery....all essential fitness traits of the "fit for duty" Fire Rescue Athlete. If you are a Fire Rescue Athlete (or not) you need to plan your workouts to address each of these traits. One of the most overlooked is balance and coordination. As a trainer I get asked how and when is the best time to train for balance? As a firefighter I get asked why do I need to train for balance? The last thing you want to happen as you climb a ladder or lift a patient is to lose your balance; this often leads to injury or possible death.
You can easily modify current exercises to challenge your balance by changing your stance (going from two legs to one), standing on a balance board or BOSU, changing your angle of movement (incline or decline), and/or using a stability ball (like the picture to the right) instead of a stable object. Another option is to add single-leg exercises into your active rest. Take a look at picture below, I think the single-leg squat touchdown is one of the best exercises for improving balance and coordination on the fire ground.
Try to incorporate this exercise into your workout. I like to perform a dumbbell dead lift (click to see this exercise
) then as an active rest I will try to perform 8-12 reps each leg (of the single leg squat touchdown).
Give it a try!
Stay safe and Healthy,