Training For The Firefighting Athlete
Today’s firefighter is faced with an increasingly difficult and physically demanding job. Like professional athletes, the firefighter must be in a state of readiness on the job not worrying about chasing the next exhaustive workout instead opting for a more balanced training program that will support them through their entire career.
In 20+ years of working with professional athletes you start to pick up on habits and patterns that lead to long productive careers. At the end of the day the goal of any athlete is being available to participate and play. Regardless of performance, just having the opportunity to participate is step one and usually leads to more opportunity. However, if that athlete is not available to participate because of injury, especially because of poor training or habits that has a long-lasting negative effect. The goal of physical fitness is to provide the athlete/firefighter with career longevity. Too many firefighters are chasing the next taxing workout instead of investing in year-round training program that includes the most important aspects of the job. Those aspects include a base level of strength, job specific mobility and flexibility as well as a capacity that fits the demands of the job.
A well thought out training program takes the athlete through a 12-month plan that allows time for rest and recovery as well as more intense phases of volume and intensity. Workouts involve a one-off training stimulus that typically produces a desired, in the movement effect, fatigue. Not always a bad thing but in the long run following a road map to health and performance will bring about long-lasting results of health and wellness not just sweat and fatigue.
There are no powerlifters who play hockey, however, hockey can learn things about how to get strong, initiate power and ultimately how to move weight from power lifting. That’s what the best athletes do, they learn from all the different aspects of athleticism and use what they need to propel in their given sport. Firefighters need to take a play from the athletes paybook and learn how the most elite level athletes train and prepare. Strength, conditioning (notice I did not say cardio), mobility, flexibility, power etc etc is what is necessary to preform the job. So, Train Like An Athlete and get on a program!