Being an avid fitness enthusiast along with multiple fitness certifications, I tend to train numerous times a week with a focus of challenging my body and mind each workout. I tend to focus on overall strength so I’m prepared for the demands of the job at any given notice and also be in the best shape I can be in the process. One of the best overall tests of core strength is the deadlift. We will talk more about what the core consists of and way it is vital to keep this area strong and healthy especially as firefighters.
As firefighters, wearing added pounds of PPE, an SCBA and carrying tools or stretching a hose line are all part of the job. As functional athletes, good posture is important for us to maintain effective and physically strong in the firehouse allowing us to complete our tasks. Unfortunately, the weight of our gear, tools and airpack put a strain on our back, shoulders and affect our posture which could develop into long term issues down the road.
One way we can maintain a good, healthy posture and strength our core, body and maintain proper balance is by focusing on deadlifting. I know what you’re probably thinking, “I’m not a power lifter. I don’t need to do deadlifts”. On the contrary, deadlifts are not just for power lifters.
Deadlifting plays a great role in developing core strength and practical enough to help in your everyday life especially as functional athletes on the fire ground.
As mentioned deadlifting are effective for strengthening your core muscles, which are made up of the central muscles of your body. The muscles that make up the core are your lower back, glutes and abdominal region. All of these muscles in unison will engaged when performing a deadlift.
As a functional athlete and in order to generate maximum power due to the physicality of the job, mostly all movements require the stabilization of your core muscles. In order for your extremities to generate maximum force, you must have stable core muscles.
As firefighters we are frequently required to perform physical labor, from stretching hose lines, raising ground ladders, forcing doors and pulling ceilings. All aspects of using our core muscles. By performing deadlifts, this will develop the muscles and the movements involved in many forms of firefighting.
Normally deadlifting involves lifting heavy weights and therefore they help you develop a strong grip, which is also associated with many physical tasks of firefighting.
When executing a deadlift it is imperative to know your glutes, hamstring and spinal erectors are the primary muscles engaged. However, should you do a knee-bent deadlift I will now engage in using your quadriceps. All the more reason to deadlifts.
It is to be noted deadlifts are intense and require the use your entire body. As such, it is vitally important to warm up thoroughly before engaging in heavier weight lifting. To avoid injury, keep your back straight as you lift, and push with your thighs. Always consult with your physician before getting into physical activities while recovering from any injury or surgery. It may not be the best treatment option after an injury or surgery or may be limited to particular modalities.
Until next time; work hard, stay safe & live inspired.
About the Author
NICHOLAS J. HIGGINS is a firefighter with 16 years in the fire service in Piscataway, NJ as well as NJ State certified level 2 fire instructor and currently a State of New Jersey Advocate for the National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation. A martial arts practitioner in Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai as well as a former collegiate athlete in baseball, Nick is also a National Exercise & Sports Trainer Association Battle Ropes Instructor and studying for the Functional Fitness Instructor certification. He holds a B.S. in Accounting from Kean University and is the founder/contributor of the Firehouse Tribune website.