In my last article, I talked about the importance of firefighters maintaining good physical and mental shape. But how is this even possible if you’re stuck in a firehouse for 24 hours surrounded by a cake of temptation, iced with bad habits, and sprinkled with an odd work schedule? Sounds delicious, right? It isn’t. It’s actually one of the hardest things to resist whether you’re a new firefighter or a seasoned one.

 

Here are some tips on how to maintain good fitness and nutrition, on both your on- and off-duty days:

 

Workouts

 

firefighting, firefighters, firefighter fitness, fitness for firefightersOn Duty: There are plenty of people in your department who will say, “I need to save my energy for the ripper we’re going to have later.”That’s totally understandable, but if you’re still waiting for the “ripper” on your off-days, then I’d rather see you do something while you’re at work so you get on some kind of routine.

 

Even if you only have twenty minutes to workout, do it. Try doing anything metabolic - Tabatas; barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell complexes; or what we at Training for Warriors call a hurricane. If you have time to watch an episode of Duck Dynasty, you have time for a quick workout. Always aim to do something, preferably before a meal, to ensure your metabolism is revved up.

 

Off Duty: The toughest thing is the schedule. You may be tired after your shift from a lack of sleep or physically tired from the day before, but the longer you put off your workout, the less likely it is to occur. Do yourself a favor and get to the gym right after your shift is over.

 

There is no such thing as a Monday/Wednesday/Friday plan with this rotating schedule. Plan out your workout schedule for the month ahead. I’ve made this month easier for you by including three workouts below.

 

Nutrition

 

On Duty: If you’re on duty, there are temptations all around, from the snacks in the firehouse, to take-out menus everywhere you turn, to the shift cook who happens to use exclusively unhealthy ingredients. And then there’s the additional temptation to help yourself to seconds.

 

firefighting, firefighters, firefighter fitness, fitness for firefightersPack your meals and you’ll have no excuses. Have a healthy go-to snack ready for when you’re feeling the munchies.You’ll save money and not have to deal with any of the above hurdles, so long as you stick with it. The only hurdle to going this route is the jokes you’ll hear from the guys.

 

Off Duty: Don’t stop with the planning and packing your healthy meals, keep it going!

 

Sample Workouts

 

Exercises labeled A/B are to be performed as a superset with no rest in between.

 

Workout - Day 1:

 

1. Vertical Jumps (5 x 4)

Jump as high as you can, using your arms. Land softly under control, and immediately explode into your next jump.

 

2A. Back Squats (4 x 6)

Use any object as added resistance on your back to perform these. Some examples of choices for added resistance are: partner, sandbag, fire hose, weighted vest, heavy ropes, etc.

 

2B. Feet Elevated Push-Ups (4 x 12)

Elevate your feet on any stable object about knee height. If you are advanced enough add resistance across your upper back (sandbag, weight plate, use a weighted vest, partner manual resistance, heavy ropes, etc.)

 

3A. Single-Leg Glute Bridge (4 x 12)

Bend one leg toward your hips, flex your ankle, so that your knee is slightly less than 90 degrees, and only your heal is in contact with the ground. Keeping the other leg off of the ground, squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips off the ground so that your knee, hip, and shoulder are in alignment.

 

3B. Pull-Ups (4 x 8)

Use an overhand grip with your hands just outside shoulder width. These can be done on a regular bar, stable ceiling parts, stable doorway parts, etc.

 

4A. Sprints (3 x 40 Yards)

If you are new to sprints, or have not sprinted in a while sprint at about 75-80 percent speed for at least your first week, and progressively increase the speed as you build yourself up. If you have a shorter area, just make sure the total is 30 yards.

 

4B. Forward Drags (3 x 20 yards)

Drag any heavy object forward (human dummy, partner, sandbag, fire hose, heavy ropes, etc.)

 

5A. Plank (Feet Elevated) (3 x 30 Seconds)

If you are advanced enough add resistance across your upper back (sandbag, weight plate, use a weighted vest, partner manual resistance, heavy ropes, etc.)

 

5B. Leg Lifts (3 x 15)

Start on your back with hands across your chest. Brace your abs. Keep your legs straight. Lower as close as you can to the ground without touching.)

 

Workout - Day 2:

 

1. Broad Jumps (5 x 4)

Jump as far forward as you can using your arms. Land softly under control, and immediately explode into your next jump.

 

2A. Walking Lunges (4 x 8) (8 Each leg)

If you are advanced enough do these with added resistance such as: partner, sandbag, fire hose, weighted vest, heavy ropes, etc.

 

2B. Standing Overhead Press (4 x 10)

Used any form of resistance that you can (partner, sandbag, fire hose, weighted vest, heavy ropes, etc.) Make sure these are done standing. Brace your abs, squeeze your glutes, and make sure you lock out overhead.

 

3A. Single-Leg Glute Bridge (4 x 12)

Bend one leg toward your hips, flex your ankle, so that your knee is slightly less than 90 degrees, and only your heal is in contact with the ground. Keeping the other leg off of the ground, squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips off the ground so that your knee, hip, and shoulder are in alignment.

 

3B. Bent-Over Row (4 x 10)

Use any form of resistance that you can (partner, sandbag, fire hose, weighted vest, heavy ropes, etc.). Bent forward so that you upper body is about parallel with the ground. Keep your spine in a neutral position and your head straight throughout the entire exercise.

 

4A. Stair Sprints (3 x 30 Yards)

If you are advanced enough do these with added resistance such as a weighted vest or all of your uniform on. If you have shorter flights of stairs just make sure the total is 30 yards.

 

4B. Backward Drags (3 x 20 yards)

Drag any heavy object backwards (human dummy, partner, sandbag, fire hose, heavy ropes, etc.)

 

5A. Plank (Feet Elevated) (3 x 30 Seconds)

If you are advanced enough add resistance across your upper back (sandbag, weight plate, use a weighted vest, partner manual resistance, heavy ropes, etc.)

 

5B. Leg Lifts (3 x 15)

Start on your back with hands across your chest. Brace your abs. Keep your legs straight. Lower as close as you can to the ground without touching.)

 

Workout - Day 3:

 

1. Object Jumps (5 x 4)

Jump over an object about knee height (partner on hands and knees, box, bench, fire hose, sandbags on top of each other, etc.) Just make sure the object is stable in case you hit it.

 

2A. Step-Ups (4 x 6) (6 Each Leg)

Use an object about knee height (bench, small table, chair (without wheels), etc.) Make sure the object is stable. If you are advanced enough do these with added resistance such as: partner, sandbag, fire hose, weighted vest, heavy ropes, etc. Step up and come to a balanced position without touching your opposite foot to the object, then return to the floor. The foot of the working leg does not come off of the object until all 6 reps. are complete. Do not alternate legs.

 

2B. Standing Object Curls (4 x 15)

Do these with added resistance such as: partner, sandbag, fire hose, weighted vest, heavy ropes, etc. Make sure these are done standing.

 

3A. Single-Leg Glute Bridge (4 x 12)

Bend one leg toward your hips, flex your ankle, so that your knee is slightly less than 90 degrees, and only your heal is in contact with the ground. Keeping the other leg off of the ground, squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips off the ground so that your knee, hip, and shoulder are in alignment.

 

3B. Standing Object Triceps Extensions (4 x 15)

Do these with added resistance such as: partner, sandbag, fire hose, weighted vest, heavy ropes, etc. Make sure these are done standing. Bring your arms overhead, then bend your elbows so that your elbows are pointed straight up toward the ceiling, and your upper arm is perpendicular to the ground. Finish with your arms extended.

 

4A. Object Carry (4 x 30 Yards)

Carry any heavy object (human dummy, partner, sandbag, fire hose, heavy ropes, etc.)

 

4B. Lateral Drags (3 x 20 yards)

Drag any heavy object sideways (human dummy, partner, sandbag, fire hose, heavy ropes, etc.)

 

5A. Plank (Feet Elevated) (3 x 30 Seconds)

If you are advanced enough add resistance across your upper back (sandbag, weight plate, use a weighted vest, partner manual resistance, heavy ropes, etc.)

 

5B. Leg Lifts (3 x 15)

Start on your back with hands across your chest. Brace your abs. Keep your legs straight. Lower as close as you can to the ground without touching.)

 

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

See more about: ,