For this week’s Firefighter Workout installment, we are introducing the Spinal Rock.   The Basic Spinal Rock is a great exercise for firefighters to improve mobility in the spine and develop core strength through a full range of motion.

Back injuries are one of the most common reported injuries in the fire service and as a result, your Firefighter Workout must include functional, core strengthening exercises for proper injury prevention.

The conventional situp is a common exercise but a poor choice for core strength and injury prevention.  The situp’s training focus is more on the hip flexors as opposed to overall core development.  Many of the popular alternatives to the situp, such as crunches or ab machines, focus on isolation and as a result are not functional movements and neglect key stabilizing muscles.  The spinal rock meets this need by being a functional movement, targeting core strength through an entire range of motion, and includes all of the key stabilizing muscles that are necessary for success.


Coaching Cues:

  • Roll back one vertebrae at a time.  You do not want to “slap” your back on the floor.
  • Drive your knees towards the ceiling as you snap your hips towards your head.
  • Return to the starting position with your spine straight and chest up.
  • Exhale as you compress and roll backwards.  Inhale as you expand and return to the starting position.


Common Mistakes:

  • Slapping the low back on the floor as a result of failing to lower one vertebrae at a time on to the mat.
  • Placing weight on the back of the head instead of the shoulders.
  • Kicking the feet up towards the sky instead of driving the knees up and snapping the hips.
  • Being “hunched forward” as you return to the starting position.
  • Not breathing properly, exhale with compression, inhale with expansion.

Check out the instructional video:



We encourage you to give the spinal rock a try, focus on the coaching cues and proper form to receive the full benefit of this incredibly effective exercise.

Train hard and be safe!

TACFIT FireFighter