FRF Functional Exercise for Firefighters- Prisoner Squats

This bodyweight exercise can improve performance and posture.

What makes an exercise "functional" for firefighters, EMTs, and medics?  In order to answer this question, we must first define what functional training means.   The definitions can be varied and broad and often the term functional training is abused and over-used.  The best definition that I found and one that I think really pertains to the fire service comes from the Mayo Clinic.  They define functional training as: “Training the body for the activities performed in daily life”.


In the context of first responders, our daily life or shift requires us to lift heavy patients, drag heavy firehose, climb stairs with heavy gear, carry equipment, lift and hoist ladders overhead, all of which require good core strength and mobility.   Therefore, for an exercise to be "functional' for a first responder, it must help us perform one if not all of those activities.

FRF Functional Exercise of the month.

To help you and your crew understand how to create and determine functional exercises, I will be creating special monthly posts.  Each month I will break down an exercise and explain why it is functional for us as firefighters, EMTs, and medics.

This month's exercise is the Prisoner Squat.  I think this is a functional exercise because it can immediately improve hip mobility and posture.  Two elements first responders need to develop in order to reduce the chances of injury.  Try to perform the prisoner squats before your next FRF workout and shift.

FRF Functional Exercise for Firefighters- Prisoner Squats


Exercise overview:  This is a great option to work the postural muscles of the shoulders and upper back and mobility of the lower body.  This is a great option for an active warm-up and/or strength.  

Muscle Groups Involved:  Hips, lower body, upper back, shoulders, and neck.

Coaching Tips:  Start with your arms on the back of your head with your elbows out.  It is very important to keep your abs tight throughout the entire motion.  Draw the abs in and slowly descend towards the floor, bend at the hip and knee, like you are sitting in a chair.  Go as low as you comfortably can, pause, push through your feet, and return to starting position.  Do not lean forward or let your knees swing in or out.  Keep a slow, controlled pace.  Repeat as directed. Repeat as directed by your FRF workout and your level of fitness.  Perform each rep with control.   

Click here for a PDF to print and put in your department workout room.

Let me know if you have any questions.  You can reach me via the "contact FRF" tab.  Please share this information with your crew and print out the exercise and place it in your workout rooms.

Stay safe and #GETFRF,

Zam (Aaron Zamzow)

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