Simple Exercises to Boost Your Firefighter Workout

 

 

firefighter workout | firefighter fitness

When we are designing our TACFIT Fire Fighter fitness programs, we start by selecting exercises that are very specific to tasks that firefighters are called upon to perform.  Loaded Carries are simple exercises that you can add to your firefighter workout to improve your strength and enhance performance.

Check out this great article from Strength Coach Dan John:

 

Click Here:  LOADED CARRIES

 

Video:

What is the best nutrition plan for firefighters?

 

 

 

firefighter nutrition | firefighter workouts

We spend a lot of time talking about firefighter fitness and firefighter workouts, but we haven’t spent much time talking about nutrition. I think that it is safe to say that nutrition is 60-80% of the battle in terms of maintaining ideal body composition and general health, especially as we get older. Christian and I are often asked, “What is the best nutrition plan for firefighters?” My answer has always been, “It depends on the firefighter.” There are so many “diets” out there, it can be difficult to decide which is the best one. Some say it is the Paleo Diet, others swear that eating vegan is the way, and intermittent fasting is gaining popularity.

John Berardi, PH.D. from Precision Nutrition does a great job of addressing the issue in this article: Best Diet

 

Are you meeting your performance and body composition goals? If not, I encourage you to take a hard look at your nutrition. It is up to you to experiment with different foods, portion sizes, and meal timing to see what will best meet your needs.

Please feel free to share your experience with different approaches to nutrition and hit us up with any questions that you might have.

Train hard and stay safe!

-Ryan

Firefighter Core Strength Development: Part 3

In part 3 of this Firefighter Core Strength Development series, you will incorporate light weight and more complex movement into the exercises. It is critical that you focus on maintaining the breathing, structure, and movement techniques that you have learned in Parts 1 and 2. If you find that you are unable to maintain motor control, you feel any discomfort, or if you are unable to maintain proper position throughout the movement, reduce the weight you are using or focus on Part 1 and 2 exercises for another week or two.

 

The Power Chamber Workout: Part 3

 

Day 3: Torque-Assisted Rotation

 

Exercise 1 – Floor V Lift Control Pause

Tacfit Firefighter | firefighter workout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can use a med ball, dumbbell, kettlebell, sandbag, or water jug, but optimally a clubbell because of the displaced mass on one side.

Begin on your back with the weight resting on your chest in your hands. As you begin your exhale, you’ll start to lift up into your Floor V like on Day 1 Exercise #1: legs locked, quads tight and pelvic wall contracted, lower back flat to the Earth, weight extended over head with elbows locked and shoulders pulled down into pack position. If you have a clubbell, hold two handed, overhead, with the barrel pointing toward the Earth. (You’ll alternate grips each round). Time the end of your exhale, the control pause, to create maximal tension in the hollow body position shown above.

Relax back and legs down as the weight returns to your chest, inhaling through the nose.

Perform the Floor V Lift 10 times in one grip (if you have a clubbell; irrelevant for symmetrical weights) for 10 consecutive breath cycles taking no breathing breaks in between. You’ll alternate grips each round if using a clubbell.

 

Exercise 2 – Lunge Twist Control Pause

Tacfit Firefighter | firefighter workout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can use a medicine ball, dumbbell, kettlebell, sandbag, even a water jug, but optimally a clubbell due to its displaced center of gravity maximizing the torque assist. Your arms will be extended in front of you, elbows locked parallel to the ground. If you have a clubbell, then hold it in a barbell grip, parallel to the ground with the barrel pointing to one side, both hands over hooking the neck.

As you step forward into your front lunge, begin twisting at the waist to the outside of the advancing lead leg. Get two 90 degree angles of upper-to-lower leg, without touching knee cap to ground, rear shin parallel to ground. When you twist the torso (mid-back rotation), DO NOT change the relationship of your arms to your chest. They should remain directly in front of you EQUALLY perpendicular from your chest. Don’t let the arms twist, but only the waist! Twist LESS but properly to make this more than a mere delt raise for time, please!

As you begin stepping forward, start your exhale. As you reach the full twist, where the weight of the clubbell (or med ball, dumbbell, etc) threatens to pull your arms to the side beyond the perfect alignment in front of you, your core will resist the over-rotation. Time the end of your exhale, the control pause, for the tightest Power Chamber position at the end of the twist. Make it a tight dead stop, so that as you begin to step back and untwist, you relax back with your inhale through the nose.

Perform the lunge twist 10 times on one side for 10 consecutive breath cycles taking no breathing breaks in between. They must be consecutive. You’ll alternate sides each round.

 

Exercise 3 – Standing Side Bend Control Pause

Tacfit Firefighter | firefighter workout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, you can use a med ball, dumbbell, kettlebell, sandbag, or water jug, but optimally a clubbell because of the displaced mass on one side. Hold the weight over head with elbows locked and shoulders pulled down into pack position (you should be able to see your neck on both sides in a mirror). If you have a clubbell hold it in barbell grip overhead parallel to ground, with the barrel to one side.

As you lean AWAY from the barrel side, so that the muzzle / bottom of the clubbell faces the sky (or either side if you have symmetrical weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, medballs, etc), exhale and side crunch back down to neutral position. DO NOT change the relationship of your arms to your ears. Don’t let the arms rock and roll, but only side bend at the ribs! Lock your hips by rooting down on soft knees, strong legs. Keep hips parallel to the ground throughout the entire exercise.

Start your exhale as you begin your side bend. As you reach the full bend, where the weight of the clubbell (or med ball, dumbbell, etc) threatens to pull your arms to the side beyond the perfect alignment overhead, and threatens to pull your opposite hip bending to the side, your obliques and lat will resist the over-rotation. Time the end of your exhale, the control pause, for the tightest contraction as you meet the end of that side bend. Make it a tight dead stop, so that as you begin to unbend, you relax back with your inhale through the nose.

Perform the side bend 10 times on one side for 10 consecutive breath cycles taking no breathing breaks in between. You’ll alternate sides each round.

 

• Only use maximum of 30 seconds between each exercise transition (from #1 to #2, and #2 to #3) for optimal effect.

• Shake out your body in between exercises and rounds while performing fast, powerful exhalations.

• Take a 2 minute break in between. Repeat that circuit of 3 exercises for 10 breath cycles for 4 total rounds.

 

Special thanks to Coach Scott Sonnon for developing the Power Chamber workout. Try incorporating these exercises into your daily routine and you will quickly observe a tremendous increase in core strength. Focus on Part 1 for a few weeks, and then proceed to Part 2, then Part 3. If you have been doing some core work already, try cycling through all 3 parts 1-2 times per week.

Train hard and stay safe!

 

Click Here for Part 2

 

Click Here for Part 1

 

 

 

Firefighter Core Strength Development: Part 2

 

Last week, we introduced you to Part 1 of Scott Sonnon’s “Power Chamber Workout”.  The emphasis in part one was core activation to achieve the basic “Power Chamber/Hollow Body Position” using body weight resistance.  Movement, structure, and breathing were all integrated to help develop motor control and core strength.  This week we are going to build on what you have learned by adding band resisted rotation.

 

The Power Chamber Workout: Part 2

 

Day 2: Band Resisted Rotation

 

Exercise 1 – Core Anti-Pitch (Resisting Back Arch) Control Pause

Tacfit Firefighter | firefighter workout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Securely tie a resistance band to a pole behind you. Grab a hold of the band at the end in both hands, one hand grabbing the other. Turn and get down on your knees turning away from the band with the band held over- head like a sword, elbows locked TIGHT!

Press your hips forward until fully extended with arms overhead so you can just barely see your hands without tilting your chin up. Keep your head in a neutral position facing forward.

Exhale into the Power Chamber position from Exercise #1 on Day 1 (the Floor V): tuck the tailbone, squeeze the glutes and pelvic floor, contract the corset, suspenders and 6 pack, pull the lats, shoulder blades down, slightly rounding mid-back with flattened lower-back, leaning forward so the band’s resistance starts pulling you backward.

Inhale as you reverse the technique outlined above, relaxing into your starting position. Perform 10 consecutive breathing cycles, with the tightest position on the end of your exhale, your control pause.

 

Exercise 2 – Core Anti-Yaw (Resisting Waist Twist) Control Pause

Tacfit Firefighter | firefighter workout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hook the band in one elbow and cross your arms on your chest, with your hands touching the front of your shoulders, elbows to ribs as best you can. Females come underneath your chest before crossing your arms to avoid unnecessary discomfort. Males, if your shoulders are too tight to place your shoulders to ribs, AVOID using your arms to substitute for this core anti-rotation.

With the elbow hooked side facing the anchor point, side step away from the anchor point of the band until it gets horizontal to the ground with no slack, but isn’t tight. Then rotate your hips and feet away, usually about 45 to 90 degrees wrapping around the upper arm slightly of the hooking elbow. Keep your arm to chest position tight! Keep rotating the entire stance, and adjusting your side step until you find the “sweet spot” where you can just BARELY hold position of your feet while resisting the band pulling your torso twisting in the direction of the band.

Now twist fully shoulders in line with hips and begin the 10 consecutive breath cycles, holding the end position as long as you absolutely can without inhaling, at the control pause.

Slightly unwind to inhale, before you exhale into the anti-rotation posture again. Alternate sides each round, not within the round; stay on one side for the entire 10 breaths.

 

Exercise 3 – Core Anti-Roll (Resisting Side Bend) Control Pause

Tacfit Firefighter | firefighter workout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tie a resistance to an anchor point to the side of you so that the band will be parallel with the Earth when your arms are held overhead. Grab the band with both hands, like in Day 2 Exercise #1 (Core Anti-Pitch), and side step away from the anchor point until the band threatens to pull your overhead arms to the side, with one bicep and shoulder threatening to touch your ear.

Pack both shoulders down, arms locked perpendicular to the ground. Keep side stepping, and side-crunching, until you find the “sweet spot” where you can just BARELY hold position (side crunch) without being pulled off your far foot, and without letting your shoulder blade come out of pack AND without letting your bicep touch your ear, arms locked (exhale tightly and side crunch to use your core and lats).

Exhale into full counter-rotation, anti-side bend, and at your tightest hold the control pause, until you absolutely must inhale, and then relax with an inhale slightly into side bend. Don’t add any extra breaths between repetitions, performing 10 consecutive breath cycles. Alternate sides each round, not within the round; stay on one side the entire 10 breaths.

 

• Only use maximum of 30 seconds between each exercise transition (from #1 to #2, and #2 to #3) for optimal effect.

• Shake out your body in between exercises and rounds while performing fast, powerful exhalations, like if you’re out in the cold winter and trying to warm yourself (some of us are! LOL!)

• Take a 2 minute break in between. Repeat that circuit of 3 exercises for 10 breath cycles for 4 total rounds.