Have you ever tried to lift the full weight of one of your friends? It's a difficult task. Due to the awkward distribution of weight and flexible nature of the human body, it's nothing like deadlifting weights in a gym. This difficulty only increases if your friend is out cold, completely limp, and unable to assist you. In that case, you're essentially trying to lift a 150- to 200-pound sack of potatoes off the ground.
Now imagine you're being shot at while you attempt this task, and your friend is wearing 75 pounds of additional armor and gear.
This extreme scenario can be a reality for members of the military, and it led to the development of a rescue technique called the ranger roll. Rather than attempting to drag the battlefield casualty slowly to shelter, or employing a second person to help with the weight, the ranger roll lets a single individual lift an unconscious casualty into a fireman's carry position.
Wil Willis spent four years as an Army Ranger and about ten years as an Air Force Pararescueman. He's also the host of History TV show Forged in Fire. When he's not on a TV set, he works as a personal trainer and tactical emergency trauma specialist, teaching students how to deal with major medical issues during intense combat situations.
In the video below, Wil illustrates two concepts to his students. First, he proves how difficult it is to lift a limp body off the ground and onto your shoulders. Second, he demonstrates the ranger roll technique, and shows how it uses momentum to roll the body onto his shoulders. It's 7 minutes long, but certainly worth watching (and pretty humorous, too). Note: Video contains some NSFW language.
As noted by one of Wil's students, if you pull off this move on video during a real emergency, you'll be a YouTube sensation. Seriously though, if you think you may need to use this technique someday, find a patient friend and start practicing. It sure beats trying to dead-lift 200 pounds of “pudding with sticks in it”.
Thanks to Cameron C. for sending us a link to this video.