Firefighter Workouts on Shift– To workout or not?

  May 13, 2014
Do you workout on shift?  Should you workout on shift and what is the best workout to perform?

This is a major concern for the fire rescue athlete.  On one hand we know we should be working out to stay and get fit for duty. Yet , if we burn out in the gym we won’t be able to perform when it really matters. I recently posted an interval workout (Click Here to Read it) that received a lot of hits and emails. Most of the emails dealt with this question more importantly asked “what is the best form of exercise to perform on duty?”

Here is my take on the question.  We all know that when the bell goes off the fire rescue athlete MUST be ready to perform.  With that in mind, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to perform a grueling workout on duty.   I personally prefer some lighter cardio interval training, some core and/or rehab exercisesfoam rolling, and stretching.

One of the benefits of being a firefighter is that (for the most part) we know our schedules well in advance and should plan our more intense workouts for off-duty days and save the on-duty days to recover from them.   This requires some planning but is the most effective way to be “fit for duty.”

Here is a great example of a “planned”  week of workouts for the fire rescue athlete.  This is similar to the weekly schedule found in the FRF Ultimate Fire Rescue Athlete Program.

Sunday
Fullbody Strength or Metabolic Workout- This type of workout challenges all muscle groups including the core.  Metabolic workout has short intervals and more power movements, strength workouts utilize longer rest intervals and heavier resistances.

Monday
Cardiovascular Interval Training-  Higher intensity cardio workout like sprints, hills or FRF Interval

Tuesday
Firehouse Shift- Foam rolling and light stretching between calls

Wednesday
Fullbody Strength or Metabolic Workout- This type of workout challenges all muscle groups including the core. Metabolic workout has short intervals and more power movements, strength workouts utilize longer rest intervals and heavier resistances.

Thursday
Firehouse Shift- Recovery day, maybe some foam rolling and/or stretching

Friday
Day OFF- This is a great day to take a day off, especially if you had a tough shift the night before

Saturday
Firehouse Shift- Cardio Interval and foam rolling, possibly some fire-ground circuits.

Sunday
Fullbody Strength or Metabolic Workout- This type of workout challenges all muscle groups including the core. Metabolic workout has short intervals and more power movements, strength workouts utilize longer rest intervals and heavier resistances.

Obviously everyone’s schedule is a little different, I included the following Sunday to set up the next week where you may not have as many shifts.  The main idea is to plan your workouts to help you continue to work towards your fitness goal and to “be ready” on-shift.

If you are currently spinning your wheels about your workout plan or are looking for a new plan?  Take a look at the FRF Ultimate Fire Athlete Workout…I think it is the most efficient and effective workout for fire rescue athletes.

Please leave some comments and as always email me with questions. 
Stay Safe and Healthy,
A. Zamzow