Top 5 Exercises Every Military Member and First Responder Should Be Doing

As we know, military members and first responders have high-stress jobs and are frequently positioned in emotionally, mentally, and physically demanding scenarios. Even when not in a high-pressure environment, service members are responsible for the transportation of more gear than the average day-job would call for. In preparation for high-performance scenarios and during them, service members are responsible for being fit for service in order to properly heed the call. We’ve comprised a short list of what we believe are the top 5 exercises every service member should be doing in order to maintain a level of fitness that can get the job done. Back-squat, dumbbell bench-press, barbell deadlift, dumbbell lunge, and strict pull-up. What all of these exercises have in common is that they promote whole-body strength, core stability, and midline muscle development. Due to the type of conditioning needed to be able to haul gear and freely move the body with weight attached to it, we’ve settled on these simple exercises as core tenants of military and first responder strength.

Back-squat - Simply put, we believe the back-squat is an absolute must for service members. Strong legs, hips, and core are paramount to carry gear, save your back, and keep you steadily upright.

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Dumbbell bench-press - Specifically, dumbbell bench-press improves the pressing strength needed for overall upper body strength and holding things overhead (especially people!) Dumbbells add greater need for balance and mobility.

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Barbell deadlift - Deadlifts promote total-body strength, specifically posterior chain fortitude. This is important when carrying external loads, keeps you upright, and makes carrying a pack lighter on your lower back.

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Dumbbell lunge - Most importantly, lunges build single-leg, unilateral strength. They also improve grip strength, create a strong base for carrying stuff, and are a great way to improve the ability to get off the ground quickly.

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Strict pull-up - This might be the perfect exercise. Strict pull-ups are a definite prescription for all military members and first responders. If you can’t pull yourself up, how will you be able to pull someone else up? Enough said.

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Brian Shotwell