A Fireman’s job is not only dangerous it is highly physical much like a professional athlete or a soldier. Fire academies, like police academies do a good job of getting their recruits in shape. The problems arise after the firemen have been on the job for a number of years. Some studies show that as many as 70% to 90% of veteran firemen are overweight or obese (source). This isn’t a good situation for them, the department or the community they serve. Fortunately strides are being made to convince the fire service community of the importance of being firemen fit. A firemen’s job is rugged so firemen workouts have to be up to the challenge, emphasizing muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness and raw power.
The Core of Firemen Fit
Core training is a staple, and although it is often over emphasized, it really does need to be a part of firemen workouts. Firemen use their core hauling hoses, climbing ladders and swinging axes. Ground based, full body routines engage the core, but you can also use some specific core exercises (source). Crunches, flutter kicks and the leg glute bridge are just a few examples of exercises that target your erector, hip and abdominal muscles.
A Firemen’s time and energy are valuable, but intense, effective workouts don’t have to be more than 20-30 minutes anyway. The two example routines listed below can be easily adapted to address particular weaknesses or time constraints.
Weighted vest sprints, box jumps or stair climbs
Backpack push-ups (load pack with books, cans or weights)
Walking lunges with dumbbell
Clean and press (barbell or dumbbell)
Leg glute bridge
Weighted twisting crunch sit-ups (hold small weight plate behind your head)
Both workouts can be completed using traditional sets and repetitions or as a circuit.
Find the Time for Firemen Fit
Firemen aren’t the only people who have to deal with the physical and psychological stresses of shift work. Under these conditions habits like proper nutrition, adequate sleep and a consistent exercise program are even more important. Regular exercise helps you sleep better and even out the transitions from night to day shifts that can jumble your sleep schedule. But even if you’re not a firemen or a shift worker, incorporating firemen workouts into your routines will help you boost your fitness to new levels.