EMS Fitness Exercise #4 – Pushups

October 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Pushups are the corner stone of most fitness regimens. Pro athletes, body builders, and fitness buffs all do pushups. The pushup is still
one of the best and most effective ways to build chest and uper back strength. Additionally in order to keep good form you must engage your core muscles so they see and added benefit as well.  This exercise will help you with a variety of tasks you are faced with.

Quite simply we start on our hands and toes. You want to make sure that your hand position is even with your shoulders not in front or
behind them. The width of your hands is up to you, for more difficulty being them closer together, for easier pushups move them apart. Ensure to keep your legs, back, and head in a straight line. The simply bend at the elbows and lower your chest to the ground within about a Dixie cup length of touching the ground then push back up to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.  Again for added difficulty change your hand with, or add some weight to a book bag, and add books for weight. If this is too difficult then do the Knee Pushups variation shown below

Do these until you can build up to the normal pushups.

Always remember to warm up before, and cool down/stretch when done.

As always, if there are concerns about your health, make sure to check with your doctor or decrease the intensity of the workout.


This post written by Robby Owens, auther of AverageJakeFF (averagejakeff.wordpress.com).


Don’t forget to follow on twitter – @stickysidedwn



Don’t miss a great training opportunity!

October 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m a firm believer that you can never be too old to learn. That’s probably part of the reason why I’m currently taking an EMT-I class.  That and there is always something new to learn. learning doesn’t need to only be done sitting in a classroom listening to an instructor read some slides. Learning includes reading magazines, checking out websites, interacting with others just to find out new and exciting information.  Things are constantly changing in this field. Granted, some times new things are really old practices reapplied, but if you don’t continue to learn you’ll never know what is out there.

If you have never attended the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) you are missing a great opportunity. Fire, EMS, Emergency Management, and public safety are offered the opportunity to take classes from nationally and internationally known instructors. You have the opportunity to take classes on topics you may have never thought about and see vendors that you might never get a chance to interact with, were it not for this conference. On top of that you are given an opportunity to network and socialize with public safety members from around the world. You get to form relationships and make friendships that can last a lifetime.  While the name may say “Fire”, this is a conference for all members of emergency services!  For more information you can visit www.fdic.com

On a second note, the Virginia Office of EMS holds one of the largest EMS specific conferences on the East Coast every November.  While registration for the 2011 Symposium is closed, the planning committee is currently accepting proposals for the 2012 program.  If you, or someone you work with/know, is interested in presenting EMS related topics, visit https://oems-notes.vdh.virginia.gov/SymClass2012.nsf/Welcome?OpenForm and submit your topics. The Call For Papers ends December 15, 2011, so act fast!

As always, stay safe, and feel free to follow me on twitter – @stickysidedwn

You might actually be sick!?!?!

October 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

So, the title of this post might seem a little strange, but I promise, keep reading and it will make more sense.  A few weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to participate in an online forum regarding the education of families and shift work staff on the impacts of those who who work shift work and the physical impacts on the shift worker themselves.  Two weeks ago I was able to participate in that webiner. Also involved was a Motorcycle cop from the West Coast, an air traffic controller, a columnist for the Miami Herald (her specialty was work life balance), and the facilitators.  It was a wonderful opportunity to discuss how the shifts we work truly impact us and our families.

Do you consider yourself a “shift worker” or are the hours you work just part of what you do?  Ddid you ever consider that you weren’t meant to work odd shifts?  I was asked during the webinar whether or not I consider my husband’s job shift work and I had to laugh because I don’t. It’s a known schedule where he is gone for 24 hours. When I’m running at the volunteer rescue squad, it’s not a shift, it’s my duty.  Honestly, how many of you consider yourself “shift workers”?  Yeah, it’s a 24 hour (or 12 hour, or 8 hour, or whatever) shift, but it’s just part of the job, just a schedule that is given to you. When you consider the impacts the job/shit places on you physically and mentally and also on your family, it because much more obvious that the job goes beyond the physical dangers that you may face when running calls.  Do you feel excessively tired, have trouble focusing or just overall out of it most of the time?

Did you know that those feelings are actually part of an medical disorder? It’s called Shift Work Disorder. Here is some information on Shift Work Disorder (SWD):

SWD Is Common

  • As many as 20% of US workers are involved in some form of shift work, including permanent or intermittent night work, early morning work, or rotating schedules.1,2
  • Approximately 10% to 25% of night-workers and rotating-shift workers have shift work disorder
  • This means that up to 1 out of every 4 night- or rotating-shift workers may be suffering from shift work disorder1-4
  • Over 15 million Americans work odd hours or non-traditional shifts, and are “at risk” for SWD.3
  • Of these, 3.75 million Americans are estimated to have SWD

Along with the insomnia/sleep issues, there are other areas of your life that SWD can impact. People with shift work disorder may experience:

  • Trouble focusing
  • Drop in work performance
  • Missed family and social activities
  • Worsening of heart and stomach disorders
  • Sleepiness-related accidents
  • Increased irritability

All of this information can be found at: http://thewakeupsquad.com/

If you find yourself having any of these issues on a recurring basis, consider that it’s your shift that is causing them. Look at opportunities to change your shift, take a day off, or seek medical assistance to ensur ethat you don’t allow the SWD to take over your life!

EMS Fitness Exercise #3: Superman

October 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Alright, so besides the exercise posts, I know the site has been a bit empty. I promise that I have some great updates/posts in the works. Finding the balance between work/family/EMT-I/blogging has been a bit unbalanced recently, but things are calming a bit.

Until then, here is the third in the series of exercises that you can do at home (no gym required) to assist in strengthening yourself and becoming a more fit provider. Remember, when in doubt start slow and check with your doctor before getting too crazy in an exercise program.


In anything we do back and core strength is important. The stronger your core the better form you will have on heavier lifts, which will lead to less injury. This exercise will strengthen your lower back and core muscles. You need no equipment and you can do it anywhere.

The Superman is a back extension exercise. You start lying face down on the floor and then lift your arms, legs, and chest off of the ground so that only your lower stomach, pelvis, and top of your legs are touching. You hold for 1-3 seconds, and then lower back down. Do 3 sets 8-10 reps.  If this is not challenging enough you can add ankle weights or canned food to your hands in order to increase difficulty.

Be sure to warm up before, and stretch/cool down after.

This post written by Robby Owens of AverageJakeFF blog (averagejakeff.wordpress.com). He can also be found on Twitter – @averagejakeff

EMS Fitness Exercise #2 – Body Weight Lunges

October 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

This post is the second in a series on EMS Fitness.  This is designed as information and suggested activities that can improve your fitness and strength.  As always, please remember that you should always check with your doctor for any limits you have.

This exercise is also built to strengthen the legs but also adds in some core strength to your work out. It also recruits/engages some
different muscle groups that will help with your leg strength and endurance.  The beauty is it takes zero equipment, and you can do it anywhere!

Body Weight Lunges:

Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart and then take a long step forward with your right foot, bending at the knee with both legs. The
goal is to keep the weight of the lunge on the front heel, while keeping you back straight. Keeping your back straight engages your core stabilizer muscles, and makes sure you keep good form. Hold the position for 1-3 seconds, and then return to the starting position. Then repeat with the left leg. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps. If this is to easy you can add some weight by adding books to a book bag, or using the EMS jump bag as added weight.

Make sure you warm up first, and cool down/stretch afterward!


Once again, this post is written by Robby Owens. You can check out his blog at averagejakeff.wordpress.com and on twitter (@averagejakeff).

EMS Fitness Exercise #1 Body Weight Squat

October 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

Think about it how many times in a shift are you lifting something? In order to stay injury free we need to ensure that we are lifting
with our legs, and not our back. To ensure that we can lift what is required of us we need to have strong legs that can lift heavy weight but also not give into fatigue. Here is a simple body weight exercise that will build leg strength and endurance and takes no equipment, you can literally do this exercise ANYWHERE!

Body Weight Squat:

Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart then squat down like you are sitting in a chair. The immediately stand up. Ensure you keep you
back as straight as possible, and remember the deeper you squat (while keeping good form) the more muscles you will engage and the more progress you will see. If you feel they are too easy then add some weight to yourself.  You can use what you have, add books to a
book bag, put on the EMS aide bag, or just hold a heavy book over your head.

Always make sure you are getting regular physicals, and check with your doctor before starting any workout routine or diet. Also make sure
you warm up prior to doing any exercise, and then make sure you stretch/cool down after the exercise.

This post was written by Robby Owens, author of the Average JakeFF blog which can be found at averagejakeff.wordpress.com.

What about the EMS Provider?

October 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

I often tell people I workout so I can eat like crap. However, the converse is NOT true because even if I didn’t eat like crap I would still workout. Why? Because it’s best for me, my family, my ambulance crew, and my patients. A healthy provider means I can focus on making good decisions, have the stamina to treat my patients (whether it be CPR, running to get equipment, lifting them into the ambulance, etc).  In June I saw a number on the scale I wasn’t really happy with and as such made some big changes in my life and by August I had lost 25 pounds. I have hovered between the 20-25 lbs lost mark for the last month and not only do I feel better about myself, but my stamina, strength, and overall well0being has signficantly improved. I can run around with my boys, have more energy to get my “to-do” list done and lit and work during calls in a safe and helpful manner. My mental clarity is better, allowing me to make good patient care decisions quickly.

Every year the United States Fire Service releases the study of the causes of Line of Duty Deaths (LODD) for Firefighters. If you haven’t read this year’s (or any year’s report), check it out here: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/ff_fat10.pdf.  The report really does show us in the emergency service field where we are still making bad decisions. It lets us focus on what we need to do, most of the time looking at heart disease and vehicular crashes as causes of a significant number of LODDs.  Becuase of the recognition of the “health” issues facing fire service personnel, we have seen an increase in the number of programs designed to strengthen firefighter fitness, including Peer Fitness Trainers through the IAFF, the Heart Healthy Firefighter program through the National Volunteer Fire Council, and various fitness blogs include  www.fireservicewarrior.com. I’ve always wondered though, what about hte focus of improving fitness of the EMS provider?

I am reminded frequently (in a playful manner) that as an EMS provider, my job is quite different from that of my Firefighter husband’s 🙂  And he’s right (but don’t tell him I said that). The physical demands of the job are different, unless the firefighter is riding on the ambulance.  Very rarely do we get to see fitness recommendations beyond the fire service. The scenarios, equipment, and justifications focus on the impact the exercises will have on the firefighter.  But, I don’t fight fire, I treat patients! What about the EMS provider?

Over the next few weeks I’m going to post exercises (courtesy of guest bloggers) of exercises that can not only be done to help in the job function, but can also be done by anyone, with or without access to a gym.  I hope that you find them helpful and even if you don’t do these exercises, you take the opportunity to make changes (diet, sleep, fitness) and recognize the need to take care of yourself to be able to best take care of others!

Until next time!

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