High Intensity Cardio Challenges for the Firehouse

Time is always been and will always be the number one reason we miss workouts.  As Fire Rescue Athletes, we work unusual hours and our workouts are often interrupted by calls.  Lately I’ve been creating and testing some highly efficient cardio interval workouts on my bootcamp classes and crew.  Today’s blog will give you  two of the more effective ones and teach you some ways to integrate them into your busy schedules and workouts.
The 5 Minutes of Hell Interval Challenge
I like to use this interval challenge at the end of workouts or bootcamp classes.  It really challenges your body’s ability to recover while continuing to work at a high intensity, just like it is on the fire ground.  All you need for this interval workout is a wall and a timer.   You can check out a video overview of the 5 minutes of hell  (click here) and/or read the instructions below:
  1. Set the interval timer for 10, 30 second intervals (no rest).  You will move from one exercise to the next without rest……just keep moving.  The five exercises for the interval are mountain climbers, burpees, side to side shuffles, crawling and the wall sit (or the plank).
  2. Start the interval timer and perform the first exercise (mountain climbers)as fast as you can for 30 seconds.  After the first 30 seconds, switch to burpees for the next 30 seconds; continue to switch exercises every 30 seconds.  After you perform the wall sit (or plank) repeat a second time.  You do not get to rest between exercises; just go from one to the next every 30 seconds until the 5 minutes is up.


You can make this interval more challenging by adding more difficult exercises (squat jumps, sledge hammers, body drags) or by adding more time for the intervals (change from 30 to 45 seconds) or by wearing a weighted vest.  Give this one a try…or try the “sprint challenge” below.
The 5 minute sprint challenge
All you need for this cardio interval is a stopwatch and 20 to 40 yards of open space.  The goal of this interval is to gas you out and force your body to recover quickly.  You can check out a video overview of the workout by clicking here and/or read below. Here’s what you do:
  1. Measure out 25 to 40 feet, the longer the distance the more difficult the workout, mark the distance with a cone or water bottle (any object will do).  Personally, I measure out about 30-35 yards (or the distance of the Firehouse truck bay).
  2. Start the stop watch and sprint down to the object, touch it and sprint back.  Take a look at the time and rest until the stop watch reads 30 seconds, then sprint again.  Repeat this every 30 seconds for 5 minutes.


You should sprint 2x per minute and 10 times total.  The faster you run, the more rest you get (if it takes your 9 seconds to sprint down and back then you get 21 seconds to rest).  Repeat a total of 10 times (5 minutes total).
You can make this more challenging by doubling the total time to 10 minutes (20 sprints), increasing the distance or adding a weighted vest.  Enjoy this one, it sure gassed me.
Let me know what you think of these workouts or ways that you integrated them into your workouts.
Stay safe,
Aaron Zamzow

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