In part 3 of this Firefighter Core Strength Development series, you will incorporate light weight and more complex movement into the exercises. It is critical that you focus on maintaining the breathing, structure, and movement techniques that you have learned in Parts 1 and 2. If you find that you are unable to maintain motor control, you feel any discomfort, or if you are unable to maintain proper position throughout the movement, reduce the weight you are using or focus on Part 1 and 2 exercises for another week or two.
The Power Chamber Workout: Part 3
Day 3: Torque-Assisted Rotation
Exercise 1 – Floor V Lift Control Pause
You can use a med ball, dumbbell, kettlebell, sandbag, or water jug, but optimally a clubbell because of the displaced mass on one side.
Begin on your back with the weight resting on your chest in your hands. As you begin your exhale, you’ll start to lift up into your Floor V like on Day 1 Exercise #1: legs locked, quads tight and pelvic wall contracted, lower back flat to the Earth, weight extended over head with elbows locked and shoulders pulled down into pack position. If you have a clubbell, hold two handed, overhead, with the barrel pointing toward the Earth. (You’ll alternate grips each round). Time the end of your exhale, the control pause, to create maximal tension in the hollow body position shown above.
Relax back and legs down as the weight returns to your chest, inhaling through the nose.
Perform the Floor V Lift 10 times in one grip (if you have a clubbell; irrelevant for symmetrical weights) for 10 consecutive breath cycles taking no breathing breaks in between. You’ll alternate grips each round if using a clubbell.
Exercise 2 – Lunge Twist Control Pause
You can use a medicine ball, dumbbell, kettlebell, sandbag, even a water jug, but optimally a clubbell due to its displaced center of gravity maximizing the torque assist. Your arms will be extended in front of you, elbows locked parallel to the ground. If you have a clubbell, then hold it in a barbell grip, parallel to the ground with the barrel pointing to one side, both hands over hooking the neck.
As you step forward into your front lunge, begin twisting at the waist to the outside of the advancing lead leg. Get two 90 degree angles of upper-to-lower leg, without touching knee cap to ground, rear shin parallel to ground. When you twist the torso (mid-back rotation), DO NOT change the relationship of your arms to your chest. They should remain directly in front of you EQUALLY perpendicular from your chest. Don’t let the arms twist, but only the waist! Twist LESS but properly to make this more than a mere delt raise for time, please!
As you begin stepping forward, start your exhale. As you reach the full twist, where the weight of the clubbell (or med ball, dumbbell, etc) threatens to pull your arms to the side beyond the perfect alignment in front of you, your core will resist the over-rotation. Time the end of your exhale, the control pause, for the tightest Power Chamber position at the end of the twist. Make it a tight dead stop, so that as you begin to step back and untwist, you relax back with your inhale through the nose.
Perform the lunge twist 10 times on one side for 10 consecutive breath cycles taking no breathing breaks in between. They must be consecutive. You’ll alternate sides each round.
Exercise 3 – Standing Side Bend Control Pause
Again, you can use a med ball, dumbbell, kettlebell, sandbag, or water jug, but optimally a clubbell because of the displaced mass on one side. Hold the weight over head with elbows locked and shoulders pulled down into pack position (you should be able to see your neck on both sides in a mirror). If you have a clubbell hold it in barbell grip overhead parallel to ground, with the barrel to one side.
As you lean AWAY from the barrel side, so that the muzzle / bottom of the clubbell faces the sky (or either side if you have symmetrical weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, medballs, etc), exhale and side crunch back down to neutral position. DO NOT change the relationship of your arms to your ears. Don’t let the arms rock and roll, but only side bend at the ribs! Lock your hips by rooting down on soft knees, strong legs. Keep hips parallel to the ground throughout the entire exercise.
Start your exhale as you begin your side bend. As you reach the full bend, where the weight of the clubbell (or med ball, dumbbell, etc) threatens to pull your arms to the side beyond the perfect alignment overhead, and threatens to pull your opposite hip bending to the side, your obliques and lat will resist the over-rotation. Time the end of your exhale, the control pause, for the tightest contraction as you meet the end of that side bend. Make it a tight dead stop, so that as you begin to unbend, you relax back with your inhale through the nose.
Perform the side bend 10 times on one side for 10 consecutive breath cycles taking no breathing breaks in between. You’ll alternate sides each round.
• Only use maximum of 30 seconds between each exercise transition (from #1 to #2, and #2 to #3) for optimal effect.
• Shake out your body in between exercises and rounds while performing fast, powerful exhalations.
• Take a 2 minute break in between. Repeat that circuit of 3 exercises for 10 breath cycles for 4 total rounds.
Special thanks to Coach Scott Sonnon for developing the Power Chamber workout. Try incorporating these exercises into your daily routine and you will quickly observe a tremendous increase in core strength. Focus on Part 1 for a few weeks, and then proceed to Part 2, then Part 3. If you have been doing some core work already, try cycling through all 3 parts 1-2 times per week.
Train hard and stay safe!
Click Here for Part 2
Click Here for Part 1