Blog

Try these exercises vital to firefighters

Try these exercises vital to firefighters

by Fadil Ameerally

Firefighters have many exercises they should do for a long, healthy career, but some are more important than others.

The foremost one is more of a category: cardiovascular. Without doing some cardio, it doesn’t matter how much weight you can lift or your ability to drag a heavy person out of a fire, because you’ll be out of breath by the time you reach that person to save their life. You would deplete the air in your tank by breathing heavy because your heart rate would be skyrocketing and your respiratory rate would be out of control.

That’s why some form of cardiovascular exercise is necessary at least three times a week, such as running outside or running stairs wearing a weight vest. Either of these will increase your chances of making it farther into that building to save someone. I enjoy running outside for my cardio, and I’ve noticed I don’t breathe as heavy when I’m working a fire scene because I’m in better shape now.

The second kind of exercise firefighters should do is dead lifts. Dead lifts have a bad reputation because a lot of people think they will get hurt performing them. While this can be true it’s most likely to happen due to improper form. However, they are hands down one of the best exercises for building overall strength. Let’s face it, a firefighter should be able to carry at least 100 pounds. I’m not asking you to try to deadlift 500 pounds, but you should use good form by lifting with your legs and not lifting with your back to pick up something off the ground to prevent injury. So incorporating 3 sets of ascending weight dead lifts at 10 reps per set, once per week into your routine —with good form — will strengthen your core, back, legs and even your cardiovascular system.

The shoulder press is another important exercise. Firefighters need a lot of shoulder strength to check for hidden fire. The only way to do this is to tear openings in walls and ceilings with cumbersome tools. Without the proper strength, you’ll find yourself fatigued quickly, possibly to the point of being useless.

This is where the shoulder press comes in because it concentrates on overall shoulder strength. Pushing weight from the shoulders to overhead is a lot of what firefighters do, so I recommend incorporating 3 sets of ascending weight at 10 reps per set, once per week into your training regimen.

Of course, these are just a few exercises for firefighters, but they are a beneficial foundation for anyone. So go push yourself in the gym!