POLICE Magazine

SEP 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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62 POLICE SEPTEMBER 2018 is to be avoided as we need to be on at all times. You can't have a "leg day" that leaves you hobbling around for three days, and Murphy's Law means the time you can barely walk due to sore- ness is the time you will get into the most important foot pursuit of your life. Any training program needs to account for the fact that you need to always be ready to perform. Training needs to prepare you for the infrequent but high- danger stresses of patrol, as well as the frequent lower danger activities. Something as simple as getting in and out of your car while wearing a gunbelt and gear weigh- ing 20 pounds or more is a cause of a substantial number of officer in- juries. Proper resistance training strengthens the lower back, core, and abdominal muscles and will act as a prophylactic against such injuries. DON'T FORGET THE ARMS Close to three-quarters of all officer assaults happen when an officer goes "hands on" to grab a suspect's wrist, so grip strength is a crucial element of functional training for patrol of- ficers. It also improves firearm pro- ficiency, proficiency with "wristy twisty" movements, and proficiency with impact weapons. Increased grip strength can help you accomplish an arrest at a lower level of force without having to escalate and also decrease risk of injury to you, an arrestee, and any innocents who may be threat- ened by an arrestee's escape. Also, the forearms are, apart from the neck, the only part of your phy- sique visible while wearing a uni- form, and an appearance of strength can help deter a suspect. Never un- derestimate those subtle—and not so subtle—visual cues that that often deter people from making a decision to go physical. BE PREPARED So how many officers strength train with an emphasis toward strengthening the lower back and core muscles, as well as the grip and forearm muscles? Very few. Most will focus on some "bodybuilding" type routine they read in a magazine or online and adapt that to their use. Nothing against bodybuilders, but they train with an eye to- ward increasing muscle size, symmetry, etc., for visual effect— not toward functional strength. A fitness program much better suited to the LEO is one more along the lines of how athletes like powerlifters, Olympic-style weightlifters, throwers, sprinters, mixed martial artists, or Highland games athletes train. Good training is training specific to the demands of one's sport. If you conceptualize patrol work like a sport, then you have a practical basis for choosing movements and exercises that pre- pare you for the demands of your "sport"—police patrol. In our view, patrol officers owe it to themselves, their families, their col- leagues, and the public they serve to be as prepared as possible. We've already covered two areas to focus on in physical train- ing for you to become a more effective "patrol athlete"—grip/ forearm strength and lower back/core/abdominal strength. Let's look at some others. TRAIN STANDING Most applications of force we will use and most force used against us will start with the officer in a stand- ing position. zot benefits us to be strong while standing, so we should mostly train that way. erefore, a seated military press isn't as good as a standing push press. Using standing push press will help build overall coordination be- tween the lower and upper body, as well as build balance and those core muscles we mentioned that pro- tect you from lower back injuries. A standing press also works a much greater cross-section of muscle groups, has greater effects on im- proving bone density (which is an- other protective factor gained from strength training that will protect you in falls or vehicle accidents), and teaches the athlete how to receive as well as apply force to an object. USE LARGE MOVEMENTS We rarely use muscles in isolation. Al- most any physical demand—wheth- er sprinting in pursuit, wrestling a suspect into compliance, dragging a downed coworker out of the line of fire, or climbing over a fence or ob- stacle—requires an officer to use his or her entire body, so we should train as we perform. Use multiple joint "large" movements, not smaller range of motion/isolation style movements. is follows what's referred to as "training specific- ity": training for the demands of the activity you'll be performing. Improving flexibility also fits within this context. Given time, many if not most officers will be put in a situation where improved flexibility would benefit them both in successfully resolving the situation and in decreasing risk of injury. Flexibility is essential to prevent injury as it allows joints to undergo greater range of motion and muscle fibers and connective tissue to lengthen sub- stantially with lower risk of injury. A substantial percentage of officer injuries could be prevented through improved flexibility. Many of us are limited in the amount of time we can spend For LEOs especially, free weights are much better for building "real world" functional strength than the machines you find at the gym. THE PATROL ATHLETE

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