What is the Best Firefighter Workout Program?

This topic is near and dear to mine and your hearts and careers–Workouts for Firefighters and Fire Rescue Athletes. Over the last couple of months I’ve been researching, talking, tweaking and writing about some of the more popular workouts seen in firehouses across the world.

Read the Pros and Cons of P90X (click here) and CrossFit (click here) for Firefighters

I’ve received a ton of feedback about those articles both good and bad (please keep it coming) and used all of this information to create what I believe is one of  the BEST Workouts for Firefighters-The Ultimate Fire Rescue Athlete. Why is it one of the best?  Because it contains these five vital components that are essential for the Fire Rescue Athlete.  Does your current program include these components?

#1.  The program must be planned using sound periodization and science (click here to read more). The program must be planned using sound periodization and science. Training should follow a developmental approach or progression. This means there should be a hierarchy of training. First it is essential for the fire rescue athlete to develop a training base that should increase the body’s functional capacity. Once this is accomplished, the intensity of the exercise is increased to emphasize strength and muscular development. In more general terms, we can also say we develop stability, then strength, and finally power. Regardless of what the training program looks like, it cannot violate this developmental approach. This is one variable that CrossFit does not do, people are getting injured from performing too many presses or pulls or jumps without having a sound base.


#2.  The Fire Rescue workout program MUST place a large amount of focus on Core Strength and Balance. Low back pain is the number one reason firefighters retire early. In order for a program to be effective, it must utilize exercises that focus on the developing the glutes, shoulder girdle, hamstrings, hips and abs.

#3.  The program must  focus on cardiovascular conditioning and recovery.  When you think of cardiovascular conditioning most people think of running or biking, which in most cases emphasizes aerobic conditioning.  Fire Rescue athletes need to have a good level of aerobic fitness but cannot overlook the value of challenging the anaerobic systems.  If you’ve ever humped a “charged” hose line up some stairs or dragged a victim or axed a roof open you realized the importance of anaerobic fitness.  An effective Fire Rescue fitness program will set a good cardiovascular base then challenge the cardiovascular system with intervals.  Intervals are one of the best way to simulate the high level of fitness required on the fire ground.


#4.  The program must (at some point) contain full-body functional strength exercises. Functional strength exercises increase balance around the joints and helps prevent injuries by stimulating stabilizing muscles. Functional strength movements like the push-up, goblet squat, lunge, pull-up strengthen all joints of the body in numerous planes.


#5.  THIS IS ESSENTIAL!   Programs must include an active warm-up and flexibility training. The warm-ups prepare the body for movement, boosts heart rate, blood flow to the muscles, and core temperature. These movements also improve the function of your nervous system. Think of this component as taking a few minutes to warm-up a car that has been sitting outside in cold temperatures all night. The main goal of this the active warm-up and flexibility component is to improve the long-term mobility and flexibility of your muscles. The more flexible the muscle and joint around the muscle; the better the fire rescue athlete recovers and the less chance of injury.

This is not an all encompassing list but it will definitely give you enough information to help decide if a program has what it takes to be effective for the fire rescue athlete. I truly do believe that the Ultimate Fire Rescue Athlete Workout is the most effective and efficient workout for firefighters….don’t take my word for it, take other (click here).

Stay safe and healthy,

Aaron Zamzow

If you’re looking for the best program for firefighters…try the Ultimate Fire Rescue Athlete. 

 This is the same program that Doug Franklin and Lisa Charbonneau and John Hattrup used to get “Fit for Duty.”  

You can be next….

What other Fire Rescue Athletes are saying about the Program.

*The Results shown are based on active and strict participation in our program. Results may vary based on individual user and are not guaranteed.*

“Hey Aaron, I’ve done a lot of different fitness programs…..P90X got me ripped but made me feel slow and tired on the fire ground. Then I tried CrossFit, it got me in great shape, but eventually my joints were hurting and my performance struggled. I bought the FRF Ultimate Athlete (actually to prove you wrong) but you NAILED It! I finished the first 8 weeks and I am in the best shape of my life…strong, lean and able to “fly” on the fire ground….Nice work!”
-T Higgins (Illinois)

“I must admit, I was that guy that everybody on the department was afraid to work with. I was 60 pounds overweight and a “heart attack waiting to happen.” I decided to purchase the FRF Foundations program and FRF Ultimate Fire Athlete and give it a go. I am happy to say that I am down 50 pounds and halfway through the FRF Ultimate Athlete program. I have some more things to improve on but had to tell you how your program has changed my career. I am now the guy people ask about fitness (to which I send them to you). Thank You!”
-Mike Miller (NSW Fire Department)

“Aaron, Thank you very much for creating the FRF Ultimate Fire Athlete! I started the workouts in prep for the Civil Service PAT, trying to get on the job FT. I tried Crossfit a few months ago and got the same feeling after your workout, without the painful back and knees! Your workouts are great, easy to follow and man, do they kick my a$$. Thank you!”
-Charlie K (Massachusetts)

“So far, I LOVE IT! Lost 8 pounds in the first month and my core is stronger than ever. I feel more flexible and move faster. The interval overhauls are a great idea and an easy way to incorporate “real” fire ground movements. Looking forward to the next 8 weeks…..”
-R. Heltsrtun (Wisconsin)

“Great stuff! Since I incorporated your workouts into my training, my ability on the fire ground has skyrocketed. That cardio spike can be felt at nearly every fire I ever fight.”
-A Willis (Tennessee)

“Finally someone gets it! I’m a professional firefighter searching for a fitness program that understands the demands of my job. Aaron’s program not only makes you a more efficient firefighter but a leaner, stronger athlete. The program is written for athletes yet is practical and easy to follow. I use the workouts with my crew, we are all seeing great progress. I HIGHLY recommend this program to anyone who is serious about being the best Fire Rescue Athlete they can be. …losing weight and reaching their fitness goals.”
-C. Gaylord (Minnesota)


“So far, I LOVE IT!  Lost 8 pounds in the first month and my core is stronger than ever. I feel more flexible and move faster.  The interval overhauls are a great idea and an easy way to incorporate “real” fire ground movements.  Looking forward to the next 8 weeks…..”

-R.  Heltsrtun (Wisconsin)


Click here for more information about the  Ultimate Fire Rescue Athlete Workout Program. 


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