Many will say that crunches are in no way a resting exercise, but I disagree. If you think of the position you are in during a crunch, it really is just a little tougher than sleeping!
An email from a Fire Fighter instructor looking for advice on creating a fitness maintenance plan and fitness building program for his major city fire fighters prompted an answer that was diverse in its ability yet cost effective.
"I think your recent publication of Fire Fighter Workout and Public Safety Diver training cross over very well. The problem on our job is that the level of fitness varies dramatically from 22 year old probationary fire fighters just out of the military to 60 year old guys that don't exercise and are in terrible condition. Any recommendations?"
Thanks for your feedback on the Fire Fighter and Safety Diver programs. I agree. The workouts are not helpful for a 60 year old that does not exercise yet still wears a Fire Fighter uniform. Perhaps the "45 Day Beginner Program" (PDF) could be helpful in that situation for the folks who need to lose weight and get more fit.
The advice listed in this article will not only apply to the Fire Fighter fitness component, but to everyone looking for the next generation to their fitness journey. An option for for the Fire Department is the TRX Suspension Training System. Suspension Training maybe an answer to your department's budget, but it may also answer the need of your fire fighters with functional strength and maintenance requirement. I have been using the TRX as well as took the Suspension Trainer Course recently and honestly felt my abs so much the next day it hurt to laugh.
I compared typical multi-station weight machine that allows for more than twenty different exercises with the TRX and this is what I found:
|Multi Station Weight Machine||TRX with DVD Fitness Program|
|Above Average Home Gym||Military / LE Force Training KIT|
|Chest Press (one angle)||Chest Press (any angle)|
|Lat Pull-downs||Lat Pull-downs|
|Lat Rows||Lat Rows|
|Leg Press||Lunges, Squats,|
|Abs crunch station||Abs, core, lower back, obliques|
|Leg curls / Leg Extension||Leg Curls plus hips and abs|
|Pec deck - Flies Station||Flies / rear deltoids|
|Cable rows for single arm / leg movement||Single arm, leg, hip movement training|
|Hips and inner outer thigh cables||Hips, and inner / outer thigh movements|
|High / Low Pulley function||Function adjusts to any height|
|Chart with 20 exercise options||Two charts with more than 100 exercises|
|No exercise DVD / user video||DVDs for every level of fitness|
|Weighs 1600 lbs||AND it is Portable (weighs 4 lbs)|
|Cost - $2500 plus assembly||Cost - $199.95|
The diversity of this training system and programming is unique in its development but simple to perform, though you will be challenged as every movement requires balance and core strength. If you do not have either, the TRX will develop it and take care of all the neglected muscle groups your regular program misses. This can be done as a supplemental plan for athletes or it can be a stand alone program for people at every level of fitness.
I have personally counted over 75 different exercises you can do with the TRX and I am learning new ones daily. You can see many of these in video format on the Fitness Anywhere website.
After researching the TRX when the National Strength and Conditioning Association endorsed the device and its programs, it was clear to see why professional athletes like LaDainian Tomlinson of the Chargers, and Mixed Martial Arts Champions like Bas Rutten, military special ops teams, military boot camp, SWAT teams, and other law enforcement agencies are using the Suspension Training TRX.
Statistics from military test sites on the device show 50% increases in job performance (ie ruck marches, PT tests) and more than an 80% decrease in injury prevention compared to those not using the TRX in training. Swim teams are reporting seconds off of their team times in all races. But most importantly, the intensity of the TRX is totally scalable and by a simple positioning of the feet or hands it can be an exercise for a pro-athlete or an inactive senior citizen.
The TRX was invented by a former Navy SEAL to help his teammates exercise when deployed. His idea has now turned into a multi-million dollar business and created a revolutionary fitness device that is the future of functional training for everyone, including military special ops, law enforcement, fire fighters and athletic performance training as well. See the TRX Banner for more information.
Note: Stew Smith does not work for TRX and only endorses products that he personally uses with his students and personal programs. The TRX is sold on his website, but is one of a few products endorsed by StewSmith.com Programs. Stay tuned for more workouts utilizing the TRX on video and in published form.
More TRX Suspension Trainer Articles:
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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