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5 great fire station exercises
Firefighter fitness is crucial to reducing injury and minimizing rehab time. Here are 5 ways you can keep your body in great shape
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By FireRescue1 BrandFocus Staff
Fitness is important for everyone, but for firefighters, staying in shape has been shown to reduce injury, decrease rehab time, and improve health and wellbeing. The numbers say that in the long term exercising while on duty greatly reduces the severity of injuries that firefighters suffer. In a recent article on FireRescue1, Sara Jahnke noted that “those who exercised on duty most days were half as likely as their peers to have a non-exercise injury.” And that It’s a win for individual firefighters and the department as a whole.
But it can sometimes be difficult to get motivated to exercise, to find time to exercise or even to know what exercises are best. So, we polled FireRescue1 readers to see what they do at the station to stay fit and came up with a great list of exercises that you can do. We got a lot of great suggestions. Some were humorous, like Josh Cole Hammerschmidt’s suggestion about “Lifting the plates from the dry rack to the cabinet…” or Jeremy Lovy, whose favorite exercise is “carry[ing] a huge ego around all day.”
But others had more serious suggestions. Here are the five top station exercise suggestions to help you stay in firefighting shape.
- Gear up and work out
If you’re going to work out at work, you might as well dress the part, right? Working out in your gear has a two-fold benefit: you’re conditioning yourself to the stress your equipment imparts while staying fit. Nicholas Bush suggests while “bunked out with SCBA, [taking a] brisk walk until [your oxygen] bottle is empty.” That way you can work on managing air consumption while “working up a sweat.” Jared Paul-Thomas Cobb also recommended integrating your gear into your workout by doing snatch squat thrusts in full turnout gear.
- Sometimes the classics are the best options
One exercise that came up repeatedly – and can easily be done almost anywhere – was best summarized by Joshua Amezquita: “Squats. Builds overall strength for all obstacles that can be faced.” Other suggested similar classic exercise like pull ups.
Another option is combining multiple exercises. Kristen Bozarth recommends planks and push-ups. “Planks target core strength and…push-ups [target your] arms and chest…” Best of all, you can do them anytime and anywhere. Finally, Ryan Cumbie suggested that the best exercise to do is the burpee. In his words, “Leg, arm and cardio. Great for anyone looking to get fit or stay fit.”
- Getting into a post-call routine
Using your call schedule to break up your exercise routine into smaller chunks is another excellent way to fit in fitness and create a consistent routine. Brian Taz Garcia does “20 push-ups after every call. We average 10-18 calls a shift.” Adding that up, you’re looking at 200 or more pushups each shift. That’s more than enough to keep you in shape.
- Make it a team activity
Exercise at the station doesn’t have to be done individually. Try a team sport. Your department can work on team-building while it works out. James Loveland suggested a great on-duty exercise is “[b]asketball. It's a fun team sport!” You could also try dodgeball.
- Hit the (station) gym
If your station has exercise equipment or a gym, then you’ve already got the perfect place to work out. But what are the best exercises you can do with equipment? Sebastian Romeling votes for the “clean and jerk as heavy as possible 5 times/week,” while Brandon Winning James says the best thing to use is the “Stairmaster [at] 18 resistance and 18 incline for 3 miles.” No doubt you’ll feel the burn with that.
There’s no one right or wrong exercise to do. But cultivating healthy routines and habits will make a difference—in how you perform in the field, in your rate of injury, and ultimately in your overall wellbeing. You can read more exercise suggestions from FireRescue1 readers or suggest your own in the comments below.