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asha wagner

Ever Ready

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by , 05-24-2010 at 08:59 PM (9670 Views)
For a while I've been thinking about the best way to achieve a constant state of readiness. As firefighters, we can be required to go from zero to maximal effort in a matter of minutes. This is often done wearing gear weighing 70 lbs or more, in awkward positions, in superheated environments, with no chance to warm up before hand. The workouts that require the athlete to cycle on and off to reach peak performance, don't really do us a whole lot of good. We never know when the next fire will be so therefore cannot time the peaks to match it.

As I've gotten older, it seems like it has taken me longer and longer to warm up. This made me begin to wonder - what's the difference now vs grade school? Remember when you were a little kid sitting like a coiled spring in your school desk, watching the minute hand inch closer and closer to that recess bell. The instant the bell would ring you'd hurl yourself out onto the playground right into an all out game of tag, swinging across the monkey bars, or some other such activity, then back to your desk. You'd do this multiple times a day without soreness, stiffness or pain.

Two differences came to mind between now and then, attitude and compensation and hydration. When we were little, we would experience a sense of sheer exhilaration as we moved, learned to move, and tested our limits. Somewhere along the line we began to see movement as work, as a chore. I think the key here is never stop learning new movements. Take up new sports and activities, and move every joint through it's full range of motion whenever possible. When you have to stand in line or wait for something, take the opportunity to do some ankle circles, finger waves or train your vision with some near far eye jumps.

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAPE3hJ2GBE&feature=related]YouTube - Near Far Eye Jumps[/url]

Yes, I get a few funny looks now and then, but that is far outweighed by all the other benefits.

As far as compensation, one thing my background in emergency medicine has taught me is that young kids compensate very well when it comes to hypovolemia (lack of fluids). They will appear relatively fine for a long time and then suddenly crash into shock. Adults gradually become worse as they descend into shock. This is why even a little bit of dehydration can keep us from performing optimally. When I have proper nutrition, sleep and hydration, I feel as though I'm self propelled, easily moving throughout my day. When more than one or more of these things is off for a prolonged time period, I feel as though I'm moving around under a wet wool blanket, dragging an anvil behind me.

I also began to think of the natural world. Have you ever seen an antelope pause to stretch before it ran from a lion? We were once a part of this world too, relying on quickly accessing our strength, stamina and speed for our survival. One main difference between us and animals, is that animals generally don't hold on to their stress like we as humans do. Once the antelope escapes from the lion, it relaxes and goes back to calmly grazing. When either my nutrition or sleep are off, at times I'll enter into periods of "loop thinking." This is occurs when there's an event that doesn't go quite how I would've have liked, and the event continues to replay over and over again in my mind. When I have adequate nutrition and rest, I can usually identify how I would change things or do things differently, file that away for next time if the situation ever occurs again, and then move on. The vision and balance drills have also helped greatly with increasing my overall sense of calmness and relaxation. Take the time once a day to do something that relaxes you - take a hot bath, get a back rub, have a cup of warm tea with milk and honey, or whatever it is that helps to ease away the days tension for you.

The last part I believe is training my body to be ready with little to no warm up. I will still do my neural warm up and Super Joints in the morning, but will gradually decrease my warm ups when performing very light work sets that gradually increase their intensity. GTG style two handed swings throughout the day should work well for this, as well as increase my anaerobic capacity. I'll have to give this a try tomorrow at work.
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  1. UwU's Avatar
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    Thanks for the video in this article. By the way, is it only me or it has very few likes? I has more than 7000 views and only 6 likes? The video owner should definitely think of this resource where they can buy likes.
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