How to Incorporate Fire Ground Movements into Your (firefighter ) Workout…

If you’ve been following my blog posts you know that I think interval training is very applicable to what we (as fire rescue athletes) do on the fire ground. Many of the programs that I create (FRF Ultimate Fire Athlete) incorporates intervals at the completion of each workout, I call them 10-minute Interval Overhauls. These interval Overhauls are a combination of exercises that challenges the total body, allows me to work on firefighter skills and simulates work on the fire ground. And they can really “jack-up” your metabolism too! You’ll discover these Overhauls can more realistically simulate the exhaustion felt on the fire ground and rescue scene.

There are thousands of options for these overhauls (which I blog about often). If you create your own, I would like to know about it so please email me your ideas.  Remember these 10- minute intervals are done at the end of your workouts, you can do them in gear, in the firehouse or in the gym (depends on what you have available). The most important piece of equipment is a good interval timer (which you can get for free). I set the timer for 10 rounds at 30-40 seconds of work and 30-20 seconds rest. You can change the times based on the exercises you choose and your level of fitness. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.  The first option uses exercises and resources found at most firehouses. The second option I usually perform at the gym and the third just uses a treadmill.

Overhaul Option #1 (Firehouse Option)

For this finisher you need a sledge (the heavier, the harder), an old tire, some old fire hose, steps (or something to step-up on) and an interval timer set to 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest for 10 intervals (10 minutes total time). 

You should set-up 5 different stations (which you will repeat 2x each).    You can do them in any order:  sledges on the tire (overhead and side), run steps (you can carry equipment or weights to make it more challenging), crawls (like you are searching for a victim), battling hose-lines (see picture), and a core exercise (we like to add a plank).
You can add any fire ground exercises you wish like raising a ladder, dragging a victim, hose-line drag…be creative.

Overhaul Option #2 (Gym Option)

For this finisher you will be performing some challenging bodyweight exercises.  All you need is a jump rope, some room to move and an interval timer set at 30-40 seconds work and 30-20 seconds rest (depends on how hard you want to work). 

You will alternate between 5 different exercises and repeat them 2x each.  I like to do burpees, jump rope, mountain climbers, sprinting (if I have the room) or med ball slams and a core movement.   You can choose a bunch of different exercises, I try to choose ones that get my heart moving and incorporates the entire body.

Overhaul Option #3  (Treadmill Option)

Incline Treadmill- This is a great overall Interval Overhaul, it may not have a fire ground skill but can help you become efficient climbing. (If you really want to challenge yourself you can try to perform this with a weighted vest or SCBA).

I start the treadmill, and walk for 2 minutes to get my body ready for the motion, then I set the pace to about 4.0 mph, and the incline to 6.0 incline. This is my starting point, which I’ll increase the incline level as the workout goes on. I mix in 30 second rest periods where I step off the sides of the treadmill during this workout, in order to make the intensity levels more varied and higher intensity during the work intervals.

Here’s how to do this:

• First 1 minute (after 2 min warm-up): speed 4.0, incline 6.0
• 30 second rest (step off side while letting treadmill keep running)
• Next minute: speed 4.0, incline 7.0
• 30 second rest (step off side while letting treadmill keep running)
• Next minute: speed 4.0, incline 8.0
• 30 second rest (step off side while letting treadmill keep running)
• Next 1 minute: speed 4.0, incline 9.0
• 30 second rest (step off side while letting treadmill keep running)
• Next 1 minute: speed 4.0, incline 10.0
• Last minute bring treadmill back to 3.5 mph and 0 incline
Total of 10 minutes….and a lot of sweat.

Progression: the next time you perform this workout, try to increase the incline level a bit more on each interval.

One of the biggest challenges we face as fire rescue athletes is finding ways to mimic the intensity and motions of the fire ground.   These interval overhauls- Interval training combined with fire ground movement patterns (crawling, climbing, dragging) is the best way.  There are numerous options for these overhauls, you could include performing them on-air and in full gear.  Give them a try, this could also be a great option for crew workouts in the firehouse.  

Leave a Comment