Making do when it Comes to Fitness

“But our fire department doesn’t buy us exercise equipment!”

Wah, wah, wah…

I think those departments are few and far between these days but I know they still exist. And to those departments we all say “Shame on you!” The public expects “tactical athletes” and deservedly so. The least you can do is provide your people with equipment.

Moving on now…

Okay, the good news is that having quality fitness equipment is optimal but you can get in great firefighter condition with stuff you find around the station and general calisthenics.

As a side note, there is actually an added benefit to working out with station stuff. There is a thing called specificity of training. What that means is that you’re training specifically for the activity you’ll be performing. In other words, if you’re going to try to swim from Miami to Cuba, your workouts center around swimming, not Zumba, (Well, maybe a little. You are going to Cuba). If you’re going to enter one of those Strongest Man in the World Contests then you’ll be lifting those danged huge stones and pulling the fire engine with a barge rope, not kicking soccer balls.

It’s the same here. This doesn’t justify not providing fitness equipment at all. You still need strength training and cardio conditioning. But, if your activity is going to be pulling 2 ½” hose, climbing stairs, and pulling sheetrock then its hard to beat working with those tools in a circuit.

This is a little station course we put together when I was at Station 7 in Cobb County. We did some other stuff but this routine helped us win the award of “Cobb’s Toughest” back to back in 2009 and 2010.

The great thing is that, if you’re just beginning, you can start it in your gym clothes. As you get conditioned put on your bunker gear, then add a breathing apparatus, then go on air.

These are the stations we did and the equipment we used for our courses as an example. You set up yours any way you like.

I always liked to start off with tailboard steps. 25 each leg was good.
We also liked to alternate between upper and lower body as much as possible. Tire chops were next.
Mountain Climbers in gear with an SCBA…
I can’t do chin ups with an SCBA on but, for those who can, more power to you!
I can do tire flips though…
I had duct taped 2 sections of 2 1/2″ together individually but that wasn’t heavy enough for these guys so they made a single!
This is why I liked a weighted vest instead of the SCBA.
Jumping Jacks are pretty simple but they are good to your heart rate up between stations
The Hose Roll. It doesn’t look like much but try it at the end of your circuit on your ramp; down and back, down and back.

With all that said, I want to give you one great resource. 555 Fitness (www.555fitness.org). We used their app quite a bit at Station 25 and I use it from time to time when I’m out of pocket. They have a section strictly for bodyweight exercises. On top of that they provide fitness equipment and grants to fire departments. I’m not sure how it works but you can always contact them.

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