Firefighters need to be in top condition at all times just to handle the rigors of their job. Whether you’re hoping to become a firefighter yourself, or you’re just hoping to get in shape like one, doing some firefighter workout routines can help. These workouts are no joke; be prepared to push yourself mentally and physically beyond what you think you may be capable of.
Getting Fit Like a Firefighter
For a firefighter, getting fit isn’t really an option; it’s a necessity. Firefighters need to be able to carry heavy equipment, climb tall ladders, and often carry people weighing more than 200 pounds on their backs. They may also need to move quickly in intense situations.
This means that a firefighter needs to have incredible and incredibly fit cardiovascular system, as well as quick thinking skills, agility, and strength. They also need to be able to keep going even when the situation becomes tough. That’s why a firefighter’s workout may be tough or intense as well; they need to be in top condition at all times.
There are plenty of exercise courses and routines that will get you in shape. Most of these are a great starting point for you if you haven’t been working out regularly to this point, and what to either train to be a firefighter, or to build up to a more intense workout. Training like a fireman, though, should be done only after you’ve built up some strength and endurance so that you don’t injure yourself while working out.
Access to Firefighting Equipment and Training Space
There are several different ways that you can take on a firefighter workout routine. One method involves using firefighting equipment, and/or the equipment that firefighters train with. Not everyone has access to this kind of equipment, or to the kind of vacant building or lot that is required to work in, however, so you may find that trying this type of firefighter workout isn’t going to necessarily work for you.
If you are training to be a firefighter, however, you will probably find that your prescribed workout looks something like this:
If you have access to a rope that can hold your body weight, rope climbing is an integral part of firefighter training. Be prepared to pull your bodyweight up the rope over and over again until you can do this quickly without struggling or straining.
Pulling Bags of Sand
Heavy bags filled with sand aren’t exactly the same shape, size, and maneuverability of a human being, but they’re the next best thing to train with. Pulling 100 plus bags of sand up and down flights of stairs will help prepare you for the real thing.
Flipping Tractor Tires
Flipping tractor tires end over end again and again is a great way to increase your upper body strength, as well as your cardio and endurance. Prepare to flip them from one end of a parking lot to the next and back again.
No Equipment Firefighter Workout Routine
If you don’t have access to firefighter training equipment, you can still train like a firefighter by using a combination of high intensity interval training, bodyweight training, and balance. This is a good workout routine for anyone looking to get into phenomenal shape, whether you’re a firefighter looking to stay fit on your off days, you’re hoping to get into the firefighter training program, or you just want to push yourself to the edge.
Bodyweight Training Circuit
Forget using the machines and equipment at the gym. Bodyweight training is one of the most effective methods of getting in shape, with little to no equipment or machinery. This bodyweight training circuit will help work every part of your body, is high intensity, and is guaranteed to help build your strength and endurance quickly. If you can’t do all the sets or reps at once, build up to them by adding on a few every few workouts until you can do them all without rest.
Vertical Jumps – 5 sets of 4 reps
Bend your knees slightly and jump into the air as high as you can using your arms to help gain momentum. Land softly with knees bent and immediately jump into your next rep.
Back Squats – 4 sets of 6 reps
Hold something heavy across your shoulders and back, like a rope, hose, or heavy bag. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground and come back up.
Push Ups with Feet Elevated – 4 sets of 12 reps
Place your feet on an object or surface that is roughly knee height from the ground. Put your arms and upper body into pushup position and lower yourself down.
Glute Bridge – 4 sets of 12 reps
Lay on the ground with one leg bent in toward your bum at a 90 degree angle with the heel resting on the ground. Extend your other leg into the air. Push down hard on your heel as you lift your hips up off the ground, pause and lower. Switch legs and repeat.
Pull Ups – 4 sets of 8 reps
Use an overhand grip with your hands just wider than your shoulders.
Plank – 3 sets at 30 seconds each
If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you’re probably already aware of just how tough, yet beneficial the plank excersize can be. You can also make this move more difficult by placing weights on your back as you hold the plank.
Place your hands beneath your shoulders and rotate your triceps forward as you extend your legs back into pushup position and hold.
Leg Lifts – 3 sets of 15 reps
Lay on your back with your legs extended out straight. Raise one leg up toward the ceiling and lower it until your heel is 1 inch from the ground, repeat.
Walking Lunges – 4 sets of 8 reps for each leg
Hold something heavy in your hands or across your back as you step forward into a deep lunge with one leg. Come up and swing the other leg forward into another lunge. Continue moving forward lunging with each step.
HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training
Rather than jogging away on a treadmill for 30 minutes to an hour without getting anywhere or seeing any results, HIIT works both your fast and slow twitch muscle fibers to get you incredible results very quickly. The idea is to combine both high intensity bursts of speed with moderate intensity recovery periods.
Tabatas are timed interval periods where you sprint as hard as you can for 10 seconds, then recover at a jog for 30 seconds and repeat for 10 sets followed by a longer rest of 2 minutes. Doing two or three tabatas will increase your cardiovascular fitness dramatically. You can also do them to nearly any type of fitness routine from pushups and burpees to the elliptical machine.
Sprints – 3 times for 40 yards apiece
Sprints are a great way of increasing your cardio strength and endurance at the same time. Aim for three sets of sprints for at least 40 yards a piece during a longer distance run.
Stair Sprints – 3 sets for 40 yards apiece
If you are short on time and on distance, consider running some stair sprints. Get up 40 yards of stairs as quickly as you possibly can, trying to increase your speed each time. If you want more of a challenge, try putting some weight on your back first to build up.
Anyone that is familiar with yoga classes or yoga technique can attest to how important balance is to your overall fitness level and your core strength. Taking a yoga course is a great way to increase your balance with poses like Tree, Airplane, Warrior Three, and Eagle. You can also work on your balance by using a stability ball to sit on while doing arm curls, or to place your feet on while doing your elevated pushups.
Using a balance plank can also help you increase your balance. Stand on an uneven board or plank that rolls under your feet while doing standing bicep curls and leg extensions. You’ll quickly find that your core strength increases at the same time that your balance does.
Once you reach your goals of either getting into the firefighter training program or reaching your desired fitness level, remember that you’ll need to continue to work out intensely to maintain your fitness level. It’s recommended that firefighters and others trying to maintain use a similar workout plan to this to help maintain their fitness levels:
- Run up and down stairs for 60 minutes at a time carrying 25 pound weights.
- Do regular pushup and bench press at least 200 pounds with a spotter.
- Do some combination workouts of jumping jacks, pushups, and squats when you have 20 minutes during busy days to help ensure that you always have time to get a workout in.
Train like a Fireman
Firefighters have to be in the best possible shape just to do their jobs. Whether you plan on joining their ranks, or you just want to ensure that you could, doing some firefighter workouts is a quick way to get you the results you’re looking for. Remember when performing these or any other exercises to work up to the more intense levels carefully and stop if you are injured or feel pain. Start this or any other exercise course today to help ensure that you have the strength and endurance you need tomorrow.