We don’t have to tell you that firefighting is a challenging and physically demanding job. We can, however, help you boost your endurance and agility; and what firefighter doesn’t want that? If you’re not in good physical shape, your career will be more difficult than what’s necessary, and it might not last as long as it could. Whether you’re a firefighter in training, a new crewmember, or a seasoned firefighter—you should be familiar with the best cardio training exercises for firefighters. If you’d like to learn more; read our guide below.
Good Old-Fashioned Running
You probably didn’t want to hear this, but it’s true—running is one of the simplest and most effective cardiovascular workouts. The good news is that there are several different ways to run. You could run outside, which is especially nice when the weather cooperates. Alternatively, you may be in a gym (depending on your state’s COVID-19 regulations). We’re not telling you that you need to become a marathon runner, just a regular runner. Over time, you’ll figure out what feels comfortable, and you can slowly push yourself from there. If running is just too much impact on your joints, bicycling and elliptical machines are good alternatives.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
If you don’t have a lot of time to work out, you might want to consider HIIT workouts. There are hundreds of variations of HIIT workouts, so you’ll just have to try them all. HIIT workouts can be as short as 7 or 10 minutes and as long as 30 minutes. The point is, you’re working out very hard with little to no rest in between for a short period of time. Aside from the time benefit, many HIIT workouts also work multiple muscle groups in addition to your heart. It’s kind of like killing multiple birds with one stone.
While circuit training is primarily strength training, it’s also an excellent cardio workout. If you’re not familiar with circuit training, the general idea is that you complete your lifting sets back to back with very little rest between. Much like HIIT workouts, you’re working multiple muscle groups in circuit training—all while getting the cardiovascular benefit. Strength is vital for firefighters, as the minimum required PPE weighs around 45 pounds. Think of it like an additional 45 pounds on your back while running.
If we’re being honest, the best cardio training exercise for firefighters is a mixture of different exercises. Nobody enjoys doing the same workout over and over, that’s why we introduce a variety of workouts into our routine. Give each of these workouts a try and see what you enjoy and what you don’t, and adjust your workout routine from there.