When it comes to firefighting, cardiovascular fitness is essential. Without proper fitness training, firefighters won’t have the capability to adapt to the physically taxing conditions that they experience while battling a blaze. While one might assume that burns or entrapment are the primary dangers that firefighters face, this isn’t the case. Rather, the leading cause of death in firefighters is cardiac-related events, such as heart attacks or strokes. By improving one’s cardiovascular fitness, such prevalent health risks can be greatly reduced. Here are some of the best cardio training exercises for firefighters to keep you safe and healthy while out on the job.
High-intensity interval training
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a great way to increase your cardiovascular capacity. It involves alternating between high- and low-intensity exercises or high-intensity exercises and brief rest periods.
One of the reasons why HIIT is such an optimal exercise for firefighters is because it resembles the varying levels of physical intensity that they undergo while fighting fires. Examples of HIIT exercises to try include springing up stairs and walking back down or alternating between rapidly jumping rope for 30 seconds and then slowly jumping rope for 30 seconds. The type of exercise you choose to do is up to you, as long as you are getting your heart rate up.
Whether you love it or you hate it, there is no denying that running is one of the best cardio exercises out there—this also makes it one of the best cardio training exercises for firefighters. Plus, it is one of the most widely accessible exercises to do; all you need are a pair of running shoes and a place to run such as down your street, a treadmill, or a nature path. Ideally, firefighters should aim to go on a run three to four times a week for at least 20 to 30 minutes at a time. To make this exercise even more impactful, consider adding a weighted pack or tackling some hills for an added challenge.
Circuit training allows you to enhance several areas of fitness—from boosting muscle strength to improving your endurance. This type of exercise involves cycling through several different high-intensity aerobic exercises with minimal rest between each one. Typically, circuit training exercises are composed of anywhere between five to ten individual exercises. Examples of exercises that a circuit may include are jump roping, lunges, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, or burpees. After completing each exercise in the circuit, you’ve accomplished what is known as one set.