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Stay fit with these 4 tough fire station workouts

Part of a firefighter’s job is to stay strong, and these exercises will help you build muscle and endurance



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By Police1 BrandFocus Staff

To succeed as a firefighter, you have to be tough. You might find yourself pushing past heavy debris, carrying victims from buildings and moving ladders around the fireground on a day-to-day basis, all with 50 or more pounds of gear on. You need an enormous amount of physical and mental energy and endurance to face the stressful and life-threatening situations firefighters find themselves in every day.

But training and conditioning at the firehouse often winds up being just cardiovascular exercises such as jogging and some strength training with weights. If you want to be among the toughest on your squad, it’s necessary to go above and beyond these common exercises.

These four exercises will make sure you’re the tougher than the average firefighter and ready for the next challenge.

1. Kettlebell swings and sled dragging

Kettlebell swings are among the toughest cardiovascular exercises. The kettlebell swing builds power, core strength and stability. It engages the lower back and abdominal muscles, and has minimal joint impact.

Sled dragging can also condition muscles, as well as build tolerance to lactic acid. Because it can be as intense as jogging is for the heart and lungs, sled dragging can be a low-impact option for increasing cardiovascular endurance.

2. Duty-specific workouts

Exercising or even performing basic fire station duties in your gear can help you get used to feeling the weight of your equipment and help you stay fit. Running 3 to 5 miles on the treadmill or outside in your gear can help you build cardio health and prepare you for being on the fireground. Another great exercise to do in your gear is stair climbing, which can be done on a stair-climbing machine or on actual stairs in a building or stadium.

Crawling is also a large part of firefighting, and doing bear crawls, crab walks and ladder crawls can help build core strength and stability. After you’ve practiced the basics and can keep your hips down, you can try crawling with gear on as well. Form and frequency are important when it comes to crawling, so while you should do these exercises often, make sure that you have proper form from the start.

3. Burpees and more

This exercise engages leg, arm and core muscles. Burpees don’t require any equipment, and since they engage so many parts of the body, they burn a lot more calories than moderate exercise.

Push-ups workout the chest and arm muscles, while squats engage and condition leg muscles, helping you climb up stairs and push heavy obstacles. Pull-ups engage the biceps and triceps to help you lift heavier objects.

4. Sumo dead lift

People debate the differences between the sumo and traditional dead lifts. The sumo dead lift actually places less of a load on the spine, which makes it an easier exercise on the back than the traditional dead lift.

To do the sumo dead lift, be sure to pull your shoulders down and back so that your hips are forward. It’s important that your legs are doing the lifting rather than your back. Have someone else watch your form while you do this exercise, and once your back starts to round, drop some of the weight.

Strength and toughness can sometimes mean different things. Working out and staying fit is important, but training to build endurance and prepare for the job of firefighting will make you a better and more effective firefighter.

Staying physically fit with these exercises will help you condition yourself to withstand stressful environments and help you maintain the mental and physical endurance necessary to power through the most difficult of situations.