firefighter fitness training

PowerLifting Primer

This PowerLifting Primer Article is taken directly out of our eBook – which contains all the basic information, science, research, nutrition, etc. regarding our Firefighter-Hybrid Workout

Power Lifting Primer

While the firefighter hybrid workout attempts to target many aspects of fitness, and does a great job at conditioning, at its core, the firefighter hybrid workout is a strength and condition program. The cornerstone of this program is powerlifting, plain and simple.  Powerlifting exercises include the squat, deadlift, bench press, press and power cleans. Our workout works because the backbone of the workout primarily consists of these multijoint and multilmuscle movements as well as assistance exercises consisting of targeted movements. Life, sports, and fire-fighting for that matter are all multiple joint movements by nature. You work out your body as it was meant to be worked out – not constricted by some expensive machine or other isolated movements.

So why do we powerlift? Put simply, they are considered functional movements and mimic movement in everyday life. Functional movements mean that they are mechanically safe for the body to perform. As an example, you squat every day. Any time you get up from a sitting position, you are squatting. It is an essential movement to everyday life. There is a myth out there that powerlifting is unsafe and you will injure yourself doing it. One of the most popular myths is the danger of the deadlift. When done safely, this is one of the most effective movements you can do as an athlete. It releases a massive neuroendocrine response from the body that is essential to gaining muscle and a health. Depending on where you obtain your information, when compared to numerous other sports and activities, powerlifting has by far one of the lowest rate of injury and is actually considered one of the safest sports to participate in.

We must stress, however, that these exercises need to be learned properly. We will attempt to show you the proper form and methods to lift. It is incumbent upon yourself to make sure you know what you are doing. Take video of yourself, have a friend watch you lift, or find someone who knows what they are talking about and is willing to work with you. We cannot stress that enough.

Powerlifting involves your entire body when done properly. This is the complete opposite of isolation exercises. When you decide to take on this style of working out, prepare to sweat every day in the gym. All of these movements involve great concentration and full body involvement. As an example, when squatting, you may think this only involves the glutes, hamstrings and quads. But in addition to those muscle groups, it will take every muscle fiber in your body to move that heavy weight from the bottom of the squat to the top. This applies to all lifts. When you get to heavier loads, proper form and full body involvement will be essential.

One of the most important benefits of powerlifting, as mentioned earlier, is the neuroendocrine response. It’s like taking steroids without the nasty side effects. What this means is a change in the body’s hormonal response to exercise. This is one of the main reasons why isolation movements are inadequate. They cannot elicit the same kind of response from exercising a single muscle group versus an athlete’s entire body. Some of the most important hormones needed in athletic development are testosterone and growth hormone (human and insulin-like). These will lead to higher muscle mass in a shorter amount of time, among other benefits. The style of our workout, heavy loads, smaller sets and shorter rest periods, are all associated with higher hormonal releases. This should be reason alone as to why doing any other type of workout is a massive waste of time!

General References;

Relative Safety of Weightlifting and Weight Training – Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research – Brian Hamill, 1994

Early-phase neuroendocrine responses and strength adaptations following eccentric-enhanced resistance training – Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research – Yarrow JF, Borsa PA, Borst SE, Sitren HS, Stevens BR, White LJ, 2008

Resistance Training for Health and Rehabilitation – James E. Graves and Barry A. Franklin – 2001

Get Anabolic! Tempo Training, Varied Rest Intervals – Charles Poliquin – October 7, 2011

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