Recovery seems to be a sticking point for a lot of first responders. We deal with a lot of stress and experience critical incidents that can cause both short term and long term trauma. The job comes with a crazy schedule and therefore a perceived lack of time, in many cases. We add additional stress upon ourselves through training, both physically and mentally.
So what can we do to help ourselves? How does recovery play a role in the life of an LEO?
Let’s start with what recovery means. One definition is the following:
“A return to a normal state of health, mind or strength.”
For us at Effective Fitness, that version is the most important to us. We strive to give that to you after every workout session and beyond. So how do we accomplish that?
A healthy state of mind for you will be different...
What is Blood Flow Restriction Training?
Blood flow restriction training (BFR) is a method of training that has rapidly gained popularity in the last 5-10 years both in the athletic performance and rehab spaces. However, it is not actually a new concept - experimentation with BFR began over 50 years ago, and it has been extensively studied and refined since then.
Put simply, BFR involves the application of tourniquets around the arms or legs while lifting weights or performing low intensity aerobic activities. The tourniquets are usually set to a specific individualized pressure that prevents venous blood flow from leaving the limbs but does not completely occlude arterial blood flow into the limbs. For resistance training, the pressure is typically applied for several sets of each exercise and then released in between exercises to allow blood flow to reperfuse the limbs. For low intensity aerobic activities, the pressure is usually applied in bouts of...
The realm of Law Enforcement and the gear that comes with it is no secret to those of us in the profession.
Neither is it a secret that officers range from the barely prepared... to the over-the-top-gear-whore.
I have been in this career for over 20 years and just like the Farmers Insurance commercials say; I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two. Over the years I have come to realize that everyone has their own sense of how prepared they should be for patrol. I know that I certainly have my own thoughts. And those thoughts may not match everyone or anyone else’s. Just because you have all the gear and gadgets in the world does not mean that you are prepared for the job.
There are simple ways to make sure that you are prepared for your shift in order to be the best officer you can be for yourself,...
I recently competed in a SWAT competition which was a two day event consisting of a day of scenarios involving role-players and NLTA (non-lethal training ammo), followed by a day of shooting and physical fitness events.
As part of my preparations for this, I took a month off from drinking any type of alcohol. Since many are currently embarking on the “Sober October” challenge, I felt now was the perfect time to write this blog post.
As an Army 2nd Lieutenant, I (along with everyone I was around) would binge drink every day of the week, then get up at 4:30 am, work out, go about the day, work out a second time, and repeat the whole process again and again (during that time of my life, I was setting new strength PRs and running sub 6:00 miles at almost 5,000 ft of elevation).
And of course, cop parties/weddings never have a shortage of alcohol....
Depending on the program utilized, the sandbag can be used to develop strength, power, conditioning, endurance, and even mobility.
Strength? Load it as heavy as you see fit and lift it.
Power? Throw it, clean it.
Conditioning? Use it for a MetCon or any variation of high intensity training.
Endurance? Use a lighter weight for a longer period of time, more repetitions, or even carry it around like a rucksack.
Mobility? Try the Sandbag Get Up! Also… Train through full range of motion with load and your mobility is bound to improve.
There are not many training tools available that can become the “all in one” like the sandbag can. It mimic movements of a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, weight vest, etc., all while adding the factor of instability which is crucial to the LEO.
It is no secret that being away from home and away from your own routine, your own grocery store, your kitchen, and your gym, seems like the perfect storm to allow your diet/clean healthy eating habits to go by the wayside. However, it does not need to be like this. With a little bit of planning, motivation, and structure you can stay on track for your time away.
Most academies do not feed recruits the best high quality food. When I was in the academy, we had worse-than-high-school-cafeteria food that was made by the inmates of the prison next door. You were not allowed to keep a cooler or any food in our rooms and only had food available at the three meals a day.
There are still academies that are the same way where you have to eat your meals with your class in a structured fashion with the food that they feed you. However, even with that, the addition of protein shakes, bars, some homemade healthy snacks that you can make...
The Brain and The Impossible...
Some time ago, I came across a fitness challenge on social media that led to me putting 135 lbs on a barbell and squatting for max reps in one set. I got 55 reps, and, as a 155 lb dude, felt somewhat accomplished. The following week, I attempted the exact same trial (135 lb back squat for max reps); this time, I was able to perform 80 reps, a 45% increase. How was this possible in such a short time, with no notable changes in diet, training, or other factors?
This challenge opened up a discussion on the mental aspect of physical training amongst the Effective Fitness Training team. During text discussion (immediately after my first attempt at this trial) with the EFT crew, I typed the following:
“I had more but I think I gave myself a mental release once I hit 55. I didn’t know what to expect; think if I had told myself 65 was a bare minimum acceptable count, I would have gotten there.”
What is Concurrent Training and why is it required for LE and other first responders?
It has been a big hype in the fitness world that you should NOT train those two things at the same time due to utilizing the energy systems required to train each individually would hinder gains for the other one. This is known as the Interference Effect. The Interference Effect is the negative impact aerobic endurance training can have on gains in strength, power/speed, and hypertrophy.
The current data suggests 3 major things:
One of the most common questions we get asked is,
From our firearms instructors on the EFT Team, our answer is always along the lines of “Consistent, Intentional Dry Fire.”
Just as fitness is the foundation for survival and requires consistent, intentional reps in the weight room, dry fire is the foundation upon which all shooting skills can be built. From precision rifle (PR) to pistol shooting and everything in between, dry fire, dry fire, dry fire will help you see results. Shooters like Ben Stoeger, JJ Racaza and Rob Leatham all attribute much of their success to properly applied dry fire.
Safety warning: It is important to have a dedicated dry fire area, sanitized of any live rounds!
Our biggest piece of advice for finding consistency in a dry fire routine...
On a day to day basis, police officers around the world are lugging around 20-50lbs of gear on their body via their duty belt and/or outer carriers.
As you know, this is a necessary evil; officers need to be prepared for endless potential incidents, but this added weight can take a toll physically on the body and its structures/tissues, as well as impacting the officer’s mobility, speed, agility, coordination, heart rate, reaction time, V02 max, memory and cognitive function during operational tasks.
The good news is that we can optimize our body and brain to better handle this excess weight. Body composition and body fat percentage both play a huge role in load carriage ability. Having adequate strength, aerobic fitness and lean mass with a lower body fat content will improve your ability to carry external loads for long periods of time. This is known as Load Carriage Optimization.
In this article, we will be reviewing the Top 4 Reasons Cops...