by JT Yancy, MAT, LAT, ATC, CSCS

Military personnel are subjected to numerous testing criteria to assess their physical capabilities and to identify any shortfalls that may need to be addressed. These tests are critical in that they must be administered and monitored before being deployed or assigned to military exercises. If someone fails or struggles to maintain a standard then their team will carry the burden of that extra work load if it is not addressed. The most basic and fundamental aspect of any and all military tactical movements, job task, and physical training all require ONE consistent foundation.

Fundamental Foundation

“Sounds logical enough, JT, but what does this have to do with my work as an industrial athlete?”

Great question! As industrial athletes, we’re obviously not in the military. But our bodies go through many physical obstacles and tests on a daily basis as we complete our work tasks. We carry loads and place forces against our bodies that require this same very core, fundamental item from military training. If this fundamental item is not executed correctly, it could possibly result in an injury and loss of work. If you’re reading along and realizing you’re sitting or standing a little taller, or that you’ve pulled your shoulders back and popped your chest out, you already know what this fundamental foundation is. Say it with me, “GOOD POSTURE!”

Strong Is Never Wrong

If you’re still thinking this whole posture thing isn’t that big of a deal and unimportant, drop and give me 20 push ups. One thing I learned about my time in the military is that by the time you figure out how important this is, you are usually really strong from lots of extra push ups and have excellent posture. And at Work Right, we know STRONG IS NEVER WRONG!

Think on this: Have you ever been shopping or walking somewhere, seen someone, and thought to yourself, “They must have been in the military?” What you’re recognizing is that individual’s posture, how they stand, and how they carry themselves.

Protect The Back

Let’s think through how we might integrate this militaristic posture into our daily tasks as an industrial athlete. To ensure we wake up in the morning without feeling like we’ve been run over by a tank after a long day of lifting, bending, and carrying for extended periods of time, let’s focus on the “Gunnery Sergeant” technique. This technique is a posture form to take when lifting.

  • Push your chest out like you own the place.
  • Pull your shoulders back and set.
  • Place your feet hip width apart.
  • Keep your butt down.
  • Sit back on your heels.

When used correctly, this thought process can help prevent overexertion injuries associated with lifting heavy loads, especially to your oft-used back.

So, don’t be afraid when you’re out and about. Call on the mindset to remember that fundamental foundation. Pop tall with your chest out and shoulders back. Carry yourself proudly – and protect your back too!

JT Yancy, MAT, LAT, ATC, CSCS || JT is a Certified Athletic Trainer and a graduate of the University of Montana where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and Health and Human Performance and Master’s Degree in Athletic Training. A nine year United States Navy veteran, JT has been awarded a Purple Heart along with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. When he’s not spending time with his wife and 3-year old son, you can find him riding his custom Harley or building another one.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!