Firefighters are amazing people. For one, they risk their lives to save ours and also, they just look part. Should you follow this firefighter workout to the letter, you could also build broad shoulders, strong back and everlasting endurance. Not to mention other benefits like improved cardiovascular health and metabolism.
The firefighter workout has been put together HAIX ambassador Bec Meachin, who is a firefighter and endurance event competitor herself and as they say, likes to get her hands dirty and be close to the action. As she explains, "firefighters are constantly pushed to the limit – both on the job and in training – so their fitness, as well as their mental and physical endurance, need to be at the highest level at all times".
Being a generous person she is, Bec is not only keen on keeping her own fitness levels high but she is also passionate about getting other firefighters – and individuals like yourself – to do the same. Below, she offers her advice for getting ‘firefighting fit’.
If you like using the best kettlebells and you want to attain the kind of self-belief and physique that fire fighters have, give this full body workout a go. Even the best home workouts can get boring after a while, and what a better way to spice things up in than trying a firefighter workout?
How to do this firefighter workout
The firefighter workout consists of three sets of five exercises. Start with 10 minutes of stretching and warming up to prevent injury and ensure my muscles are limber – especially the glutes and quads since they take the brunt of the workout. In between the sets, rest for 2-3 minutes to allow your muscles to recover.
Don't forget to drink plenty before and during the workout: you will be working pretty hard. To help your muscles recover faster, have some protein after the workout. This doesn't have to be the best protein powder shake or the best protein bar, although having either of these is a quick and convenient way to top up protein levels in the body.
Below is the firefighter workout, in Bec's words.
1. Farmers carry
One dumbbell in each hand, walk forwards and engage your core for about 25 metres. Repeat 6 times. Bec recommends doing this exercise with a pair of 10 kg dumbbells, but you can adjust to whatever feels comfortable or challenging, even.
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3. Sledgehammer tyre hit
This is quite straightforward – take a sledgehammer and hit a tyre with it, making sure to watch your form carefully as you go. Also, be ready for the rebound: as the hammer goes down, make sure you are in full control of your core and the back. Keep hitting the tyre for 45-60 seconds without a break.
3. Run out a length of 70mm hose (or equivalent i.e a rope) and make it up again.
Making up hose doesn't sound that tricky, but trying to do it with a BA (breathing apparatus) set on your back makes it so much harder. Getting a technique you're quick at is important here, there's no right or wrong. If you haven't got access to a full firefighter breathing apparatus, you can use a weighted vest instead. And instead of a firehose, you can use your garden hose and pull that out. Just make sure the rest of the household is fine with it.
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4. Sled drag
Using a sled, tyre or equivalent with a rope hooked around it, drag the sled behind you. Arms should be straight down and by your sides. Pulling it for 20 metres equals to one rep. Do at least 2-3 reps per set.
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5. Dummy drag
Take a dummy and drag it backwards for a set distance, ensuring you’re holding it properly (your arms looped under each of the dummy’s arms) and not dragging it by a limb. Remember, this is meant to simulate rescuing a real life person – you have to be careful how you move them.
Bec uses a 70-kilo dummy for this exercise. This can often be the most challenging event in a firefighter endurance challenge and it always takes places right at the end, when competitors are at their most tired.
Assuming you haven't got a dummy at home, you can fill bag with sand and drag that instead. Or, you know, anything large and heavy like a large bag of compost or life-size mannequin. We all have at least one of those at home.
Firefighter workout: Bec's top tips
Bec's first tip is to mix things up. Repetition is important to train muscles but after a while, your body can get used to the exercises and won't get stimulated as much as when you did it in the first time. "Alter the weights and switch the reps to keep things interesting", Bec says.
Compound movements are also recommended by Bec. She'll perform the above routine closer to a firefighter challenges for one or two days a week. Ror the rest of the time, she'll be doing her other training sessions that includes bench presses, squats and deadlifts. "They work all the key muscle groups and they’re fun too", she explains.
It is also paramount to plan ahead. As Bec puts it, "have a planner of workouts you'll do for that week to keep motivated. You can use it as a way to ‘tick off’ workouts when you’ve completed them – it's very motivational when you’re getting started with training".
And finally, if you want to follow that plan through, set goals for yourself. "Whether you’re training for a firefighting challenge or simply looking to get fitter; set goals, keep workouts interesting and, most importantly, keep going!", Bec concludes.