Today’s firefighter must physically train at a level different than before. The days of just jogging a few miles and doing some curls and bench press are long gone. With the influx of Cross Training, Cross Fit, Core Training and every other type of name you can come up with – the bottom line is – we as firefighters need to physically train as specifically as we can for our job tasks.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak with some of the best coaches and trainers of Professional Mixed Martial Artists. They all seem to have the same idea. If you want to be good at a specific sport, you must train the body and mind to endure during those moments of physical exhaustion. Obviously I’m not talking about golf or playing poker.
The following is a challenging, task oriented, job related workout that can be done at the fire station. It’s great for camaraderie and allows for all types of variations. This workout should be done the first and last shift of a segment. Be sure to properly warm up by walking, biking or some light jogging for 10 minutes or so. We may find ourselves doing some of these actions in a moments notice on scene. This is a circuit type routine and you can start at any one of the stations.
Station #1: Take a curl bar with one 10 lb plate and use a push/ pull ceiling motion. Do 10 reps with the right hand high, followed by 10 reps with the left hand high. Works the shoulders, traps, grip and core.
Station #2: Using an exercise mat, place yourself in a “plank” position. Be sure to keep your back flat. Control your breathing. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Works the abs/core
Station #3: Take a section of 1 1/2″ hose, loop it around the base of the hose tower. In a “Giddyup” motion (like riding a horse) do 15 reps each arm, either separately or at the same time. For a better description watch YouTube’s “Battling Rope Work Outs.” We purchased a 2″ Poly/Dacron Rope 50 ft. that works well. You can cap one end of the hose line and put water inside for extra weight. A simple knot on the other end works fine. Works shoulders, grip, core, and legs
Station #4: Take two sections of 2 1/2″ hose and ladder strap or tape them to keep them from unrolling. Use the halyard from the hose tower and hoist e package two times. All the way up…all the way down. Hand over hand. Works the grip, lats, and shoulders
Station #5: Using a sledgehammer, strike a tire 20 times, switching grip each hit. Use an overhead swing – NOT an axe chop swing.(I got an old tire from a tire shop. Select one about the size we use on our heavy apparatus) Works grip, shoulders, core, back, and legs
Station #6: Using good form, pick up and carry two dumbbells, preferably different weights (example – 35lbs and 45lbs) and walk 100′. Turn around and walk back to starting location. Works grips, traps, legs, back, and endurance.
Station #7: Using an over hand grip, take an Olympic bar, lift it from the ground to your shoulders. Press it over head. Put it back down. Do that 10 times. If you don’t have an Olympic Bar you can substitute with a pike pole. Use full range of motion. Works the whole body.
Add a push up, pull up and jumping jack station. Do 10-15 reps at each one. After you’ve completed all the stations, start again. Shoot for four or five complete rotations. Go as hard as you want or as easy as you want, just DON’T STOP MOVING !! You can finish this workout in about 35-40 minutes. This workout, with walking or jogging to the next station, closely resembles how we operate at an incident. Stretch and cool down after.
Hopefully you will give this circuit routine a shot. If you are already doing this type of workout at your station I would love to hear about it. We can feature your workout in another issue!!
Train Hard, Train Safe
Special thanks to FF/PM Mike Mattison, FS 72-B (Male Model) for demonstrating each exercise.
By Michael Caro, Engineer, FS 107-B