Before we released Cruiser Ready we ran a brief control group because we wanted some feedback.
The most common feedback we got was a statement:
‘Oh yea this works…why?’ from officers who tried The Rookie.
Non officers asked, ‘Why all seated?’
After a few months, the Rookie workout still gives me an awesome workout…I don’t even have to move to The Sarge or LT. I did Rookie Code One tonight…30lb KB and 18 minutes. Tomorrow, Code 2…can’t wait.
To know why it works we have to go back to basic kinematics, using diagrams I drew back in 2002.
Your body is made up of biokinematic elements (image 1). Image 1 is an overall view of the body, with primary joints listed as elements. But, joints, bones, muscles…they are all elements that make up the structure that is your muscular-skeletal system. When you have three of these elements, for example, a joint, bone, joint, you have a biokinematic chain (Image 2).
Now, let’s look at Image 3. When you have an open chain, the elements can move freely in space. Your joints move in space, your bones move in space, your muscles move bones. You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself about…
But, when you connect an element, such as your hand and wrist (a series of elements but for this article we consider them one) to something, say another element (such as the hip listed as number 4) or an external weight, you create a closed chain. Something interesting happens when you create a closed chain. The next element in the chain will move to adjust around the point that is closed. So for example, in Image 3, your elbow (2) and shoulder (1) will move, but the hand will not. If you move the elbow, the shoulder will rotate, and then move to the spine for rotation, all the way down to your hips. It’s pretty easy to see this yourself – go grab a closed door handle and see how your body moves. Your hand is closed so the elbow and shoulder will begin to move.
Knowing this from my years of combatives I began to look at fitness and how we could maximize two things. One, range of motion, such as in the back, and two, joint mobility, or your joint’s ability to move to their maximum range of motion. The problem became chains and movement around closed points. When we move with a kettlebell or a club, or any weight, we have created a closed chain the rest of the body will move around. This is why the bench press and other seated methods are so effective…they remove the elements compensating and isolate the chain you are wanting to put through a routine.
Then I began to look at officers and how most of their time is spent: seated, and why many fitness professionals become aggravated with training officers after the newness fades.
General workouts for officers are great, there is no doubt. Just doing a fitness routine is great but many times officers have limited range of motion in their spine, like their lumbar and mid back. Their shoulders are held in limited positions most of the day. So, when they do work out, it aggravates these elements, like the shoulders, and lumbar.
In addition to this, general kettlebell exercises and steel club exercises have whole body compensation, as the lower body will move to adjust around the closed element. Now we have limited range of motion in elements moving around another closed point…this creates limited chains. On paper it’s theoretical, but in reality…it hurts.
So, I stepped back and looked at the chains and realized we must isolate the lower body completely at first to effect the range of motion. When the lower body is isolated we can begin to focus on the back range of motion, as well as the shoulders, elbows, wrists. They have no lower body compensation around the closed point so they must perform to their range of motion. This doesn’t seem like rocket science, but for those aren’t officers, many in the fitness community don’t recognize how the job creates limitations on the range of motion. These limitations are then aggravated in general weight lifting routines, creating a vicious cycle where the officer may limit how often they work out due to discomfort – or simply stop working out or committing to a fitness routine in general. I have seen many fitness professionals become aggravated with training officers simply because they do not understand why the officer isn’t progressing. It’s because they aren’t an officer…and I can tell you, after a 12 hour tour, you not only don’t want to work out but you are so stiff you may not be able to. No one said police fitness is easy!
I knew there had to be a better way.
Thus, Cruiser Ready was born.
We have had a lot of questions about why we are doing things seated…now you know why.
In part two we discuss how Cruiser Ready is organized in order to further develop the range of motion in the mission position…and why the gains are felt so much more powerfully than most short-period of time.