Core strength is a very important part of any fitness program, especially for firefighters. Think of your core as the chain that connects your upper and lower body. Whether you’re gaining entry or even doing something as simple as putting your pack back on the truck, it all starts in your core. When most people think of core, they think of “6 pack” crunches. Crunches are not bad, the issue is that most firefighters tent to neglect other areas that comprise their entire core. Having a well-rounded and strong core can help with stability, balance and posture which helps decrease injury and pain.

Below are 5 core exercises commonly used in the HERO Elite Daily Workout Program you can try today to increase core strength and on-scene performance.

1. One Arm Overhead Dumbbell Carry

The overhead dumbbell carry or waiters carry is great for increasing core stability. As a bonus, it also helps shoulder strength and stability making it an awesome addition to your routine.

4 rounds:

30 walking paces (Left Side)

30 walking paces (Right Side)

rest :45

Notes: Keep your body as straight as possible, increase weight each round. 

2. Superman

Supermans are a great addition to any workout. It targets the often neglected back side to help even out imbalances that can cause mobility issues, bad posture and pain.

Superman Tabata

8 rounds:

:20 Supermans

:10 Rest

Notes: Tabata is 8 rounds or 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest (4 min). Focus on quality reps and find a rhythm with your breathing and reps 

3. Hanging Knee Raises

Hanging knee raises are great for targeting core muscles that you wouldn’t normal use, the muscles connected to your core. Hanging also increases grip strength which is another great benefit for any firefighter.

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes:

200m run

8 dumbbell thrusters 50/35

8 hanging knee raises

Notes: This is not a sprint, work at a moderate and consistent pace. 

4. Side Planks

Side planks also target an often neglected and very important part of your core. It helps strengthen the deep muscles in the lower back making carrying awkward loads easier.

4 rounds:

1:00 plank hold

:45 side plank (each side)

Notes: Rest as needed between sets. Try side planks with rotations for more of a challenge. 

5. Hollow Body Rocks

Hollow body rocks is a great exercise to build core strength and stability. One great benefit is that it trains your core to stay activated during movement. This will train your body to subconsciously utilize core muscles while on-scene to reduce injury and fatigue.

4 rounds:

25 hollow body rocks

25 supermans

Notes: Rest as needed between sets. Focus on maintaining an activated core the entire time. 

If you would like to learn more about our daily workout program HERO Elite, click the link below!

Donny Pearson – Founder, Firefighter Furnace and HERO Elite program director.

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