EMS Tips

Injuries: Always a concern for EMS professionals Part 2

In my previous post I talked about using the abdominals. Remember, to use the abdominals and suck in the belly button. Do not push out! This has to be the first muscle group used with all movement.

Why are the abdominals important?

The body works from the center, out. The abdominals are in the center of the body. Therefore, when used, serving as a foundation from which the rest of the body can work. It is the same idea as the foundation of a house. You would not build a house on a weak or cracked foundation, would you? That would make the rest of the house vulnerable to collapse. It is the same way with the body. Without a solid foundation (the abdominals) the rest of the body is vulnerable to injury.

The abdominals and the back

Believe it or not, through various connective tissues, the abdominals actually wrap around and connect to the lateral aspect of the vertebrae. When the abdominals are contracted (by pulling the navel to the spine) they pull laterally on the vertebrae. Because of the pull of the muscle fibers, this action compresses the vertebrae together. This significantly increases spinal stability; decreasing injury risk to the low back. In addition, as mentioned above, provides a solid base to perform movement.

Think of stacking 4 or 5 foam blocks. The tower of blocks standing by itself is extremely unstable and will fall incredibly easily. However, with just a little pressure applied to the top block, the whole tower becomes significantly more stable. This is the same idea of how the abdominals stabilize the spine.

Remember the abdominals

As I mentioned previously, as training officers you have the opportunity to drive the importance of the abdominals home. People have to be reminded of how to use them, and simply to use them. It is not natural to use the abdominals in this manner. People have to consciously think about using the abdominals until muscle memory is created. This requires reminding them to do so.

Nathan Place is a Certified Athletic trainer that specializes in training of tactical EMS athletes. If you would like to contact Nathan Place, you may do so at You can also listen to Nathan on the EMS Office Hours podcast.


By First Arriving

Dave is an EMS provider based in New York City for over 20 years and has been blogging for over 10 years. He is experienced in all facets of EMS Service Management, Emergency Management, and specializes in Event Medical Services. He maintains a blog at, is an Columnist, and will be authoring on all things social (including Social Media) here at The Social Medic.