As a full-time firefighter for 15+ years I know how important fitness is to my job. But could the same training style for firefighting be helpful for someone not in the fire service? This is a great question I get asked often. My response is easy, training for firefighting is a lot like training for life. Both require bending, rotating, lifting and pulling in various positions. So how does a firefighter train?
Firefighting requires you to be well rounded with both strength and endurance. Having only one puts you half ready for the jobs needs. I will list in order a few common exercises that benefit not only firefighters, but everyone else that wants to be well rounded in both strength and endurance. I prefer to perform strength training prior to cardiovascular training, but that is only my preference. Find what works best for you and get moving!
Here is how I plan a typical 1 hour workout. I find keeping the work out to 1 hour max, works best with the hectic schedule the fire department can have. Please keep in mind that I rest very little during this 1 hour. Try to limit the rest time between exercises to 1 minute or less. Begin with a 5-10 minute dynamic warm up (jumping rope, skipping, lunges, etc). After the dynamic warm up I move right into the strength training, which will last 30 minutes or less.
First I start with big compound muscle movements. Next I move into accessory style exercises. That just means exercises that generally use a smaller group of muscles and helps compliment your big compound movements. Finally I finish up with exercises that help build up any weaknesses I current have. Again, these are also accessory style exercises so don't try and do big compound movements here.
Now that the strength training is done I will move onto my cardiovascular training for the day. Depending on that days training, this could be more of an aerobic or anaerobic workout. I try to limit this to 30 minutes or less. So here is an example list of what a typical training workout would look like.
1. Barbell squat, barbell deadlift or a barbell push press
These are your Compound Movement Exercises
2. Rotational medicine ball twist, slams or throws, dumbbell farmer walk carries, kettlebell swings, TRX rows or weighted box step ups
These are your Accessory Exercises
3. Push ups, pull ups, dips, or grip exercises like plate holds
These are your Exercises to improve Weaknesses
4. Treadmill interval sprints, 5K treadmill run, elevated treadmill (5% grade or higher) walk/jog/run, rower sprints or stepmill at 60 steps a minute or faster
These are your Cardiovascular Exercises
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