How to Create a Workout for Your Crew…
Let’s face it, working on your cardiovascular conditioning can be very boring. Personally, I suffer from workout ADD, I constantly like to change things up to keep me interested in the workouts. Over the last couple of years, I have toyed with various workouts on shift; high intensity, heavy lifting, stretching only, and even some yoga. I have found that these crew interval workouts are not only very effective but a great way to incorporate fire ground movements and good way to build crew camaraderie.
Click the video below.
Creating a crew Workout.
Step #1- Choose at least 4 exercises for the active warm-up
Every good fire rescue workout begins with an active warm-up. Choose 4 or 5 movements (chops, knees side to side, inverted hamstring, spidermans) and perform them at least 5 or 6 reps each. If you are very tight you will want to repeat them again. If I am working with my crew, I have each member choose one. You can read more about active warm-ups and get some great ideas by clicking here.
Step #2- Choose the exercises for the interval (6 or 8 exercises)
After the warm-up, choose either 6 or 8 exercises and do them for either 3 or 4 rounds. The exercises you choose will be based on what equipment you have available and personal preference. When beginning these intervals, I would recommend starting with 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest for each set. As your fitness levels progress you can decrease the rest and increase the work times. Again, if working out with my crew, I encourage them to each choose an exercise. Here are some great ideas for exercises:
- Bear Crawls
- Dumbbell Crawls
- Stairs (with weight or high-rise bag)
- Crawl up stairs
- Tire or sled push (power sled)
- Carries- single hand or double hand, or Foam Bucket Carry ( side or overhead)
- Sledges on a Tire
- Tire Flips
- Medicine Ball Slams
- Medicine Ball Wall Throws
- Battling Hoselines
- Mountain Climbers
- Jump Rope
- Squat Jumps
- Side to side shuffles
- Side to Side Lunges
- Any Core Exercise- Plank, rotational plank, side plank, bird dogs, etc
Step #3. Perform a 4-minute cool-down and stretch.
Mobile and flexible athletes move more efficiently and can be less likely to suffer injury. Unfortunately, from my research I have found that stretching is the most often “skipped” part of an athlete’s workout. For one, it’s done at the end of the workout when you just want to be finished. And, for two, it can be boring. To combat these “excuses” I try to stretch for 4 minutes. I set an interval timer and switch stretches every 20 seconds. Try to do 6 different stretches for two times each (4-minutes total).
Click here to see an example of a 4-minute Stretch Routine for firefighters.
The intensity of the workout is dependent on the individual. If someone is just beginning they can go at their own pace and just try to complete the interval. You can also decrease the rest interval duration and increase the burn phase and you can also change the intensity and speed of the exercise. Make these workouts fun and try to include everyone!
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