7 Fitness Tips for First Responders (2023)

While the term athlete “athlete” has generally been used to describe people who compete in individual or team sports, a new category of athlete has emerged in recent years that doesn’t involve competition. Today, members of the military, law enforcement and first responders such as firefighters or paramedics are often described as “tactical athletes” because of the physically demanding nature of their jobs. As a result, the field of tactical strength and conditioning has emerged to provide appropriate exercise and fitness programs to meet the fast-changing nature of these physically demanding jobs.

Exercise programs for tactical athletes and first responders should address a variety of needs, including mobility, movement efficiency, aerobic capacity and power. This is in contrast to a traditional approach to strength training that focuses on only one body part or muscle group at a time. Here, firefighters and tactical strength and conditioning experts share seven tips for designing effective workout programs for first responders.

7 Fitness Tips for First Responders (1)

1. Proper mobility training and dynamic warm-ups are essential for injury prevention.

Joey Figone, a captain with the Menlo Fire Department in Northern California and an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Peer Fitness Trainer (for firefighters), helps run his department’s training academy. He ensures that mobility and flexibility are key components of the fitness programs for new recruits.

“When speaking with new recruits about fitness, we emphasize that a healthy, functioning body is essential for job longevity,” explains Figone. “To help reduce the risks of injury from performing the physically demanding tasks of the job, we make mobility and flexibility training a key part of the conditioning program at the academy. We provide foam rollers to our recruits and then take the time to teach them how to use them properly. In addition, we teach recruits how to perform a complete full-body dynamic warm-up prior to starting a workout.”Learnhow to use foam rollers to help improve mobility and joint range of motion.

(Video) First responder fitness tips

Figone explains that they need to account for the daily fire-training schedule when designing programs for firefighters. “When it comes to planning the fitness programs we work inversely proportional to the daily fire training schedule,” he explains. “If the day includes a lecture, then we do a more challenging workout, but if they are doing live fire training, we do a lower-intensity workout. The one constant is that we always perform a complete dynamic warm-up before every workout.” This dynamic warm-up can help you to prepare for any workout or physically demanding activity.

Steve Cruz, an Arizona-based career firefighter and ACE Peer Fitness Trainer, agrees with the need for mobility training for his crews. “In our department, we use mobility exercises for injury prevention and put our members through the Functional Movement Screen on an annual basis in an effort to keep our folks from getting injured,” explains. “It helps us assess and identify both asymmetries and limitations that our personnel may have. We then focus on improving mobility, strengthening stability and teaching proper movement preparation workouts for our guys.” Cruz adds that foam rollers, therapy balls and yoga all play an important role in his own personal fitness program while on duty.” Learn more about the benefits of movement preparation.

7 Fitness Tips for First Responders (2)

2. Strength is the MOST important component of fitness for first responders.

John Hofman, MS, is a Tactical Strength and Conditioning Specialist with Southern California University Health Sciences and specializes in designing fitness programs for firefighters and first responders. When asked about the most important component of fitness for first responders Hofman’s response was unequivocal. “Strength!” he says emphatically. “To reduce injuries on the job, we want to get them strong. Most low-back injuries are due to lifting heavy patients onto the gurneys, which requires high levels of strength and power. We tell firefighters in our program that if you want to be injury free, get strong because the stronger you are, the harder you are to break.”

Because many fire stations don’t have the room (or budget) to buy an extensive amount of exercise equipment, Hoffman uses the following bodyweight exercises to help the firefighters in his program get stronger:

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  • TRX Back Row. According to Hofman, this exercise “helps offset the poor posture of many first responders that results from being loaded down with up to 85 pounds of equipment.”
  • Lateral Step-ups. “Firefighters spend more time on one leg than two,” explains Hofman. “We want to give them specific exercises that can improve both strength and balance.”
  • Side Plank. “Because they often work with uneven loads, firefighters can often become unbalanced,” explains Hofman. “This exercise can help strengthen the core and lateral hip muscles like the gluteus medius, which results in a more balanced body.”

Cruz follows the same approach. “The workouts we do for strength include pushes and pulls for the upper body, and squats and hip hinges for the lower body,” he explains. “The equipment we use includes dumbbells, kettlebells, TRX suspension trainers and battle ropes, which allow us to do circuit training while on duty.”

  • Battle Ropes Waves. This exercise features 30-second intervals at a fast pace followed by 30 seconds of active rest while performing a plank or body-weight squats.
  • Goblet Squats Using Dumbbells. This exercise is performed for 20 to 45 seconds.
  • Dumbbell Renegade Rows. Perform this exercise by alternating arms for 20 to 45 seconds.

7 Fitness Tips for First Responders (3)

3. Working as a unit is critical for first responders, so exercises are designed to help promote teamwork for the crews on each shift.

Exercise provides many benefits for firefighters, including the ability to function as a team during extremely stressful situations. As a result, many fire fighting crews make time to exercise together during their shifts.

“Fitness is mission critical to our job,” explains Jess Specht, a battalion chief in the Oceaside, Calif., fire department. “Exercising during their shift helps our crews develop camaraderie and unit cohesion, while preventing many injuries that can occur on the job.”

Cruz agrees. “Exercising together definitely helps to establish unit cohesion and team work within the crews of each shift. In addition, working out together helps our personnel to develop the physical ability to perform the wide variety of job functions necessary for working a scene.”

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7 Fitness Tips for First Responders (4)

4.Investing in proper fitness equipment can help fire departments save money in the long run.

In addition to a lack of time, a major obstacle for working out at a fire station is having the proper equipment. Some departments have a budget for purchasing exercise equipment for each station, while other departments simply lack the resources to invest in good equipment. One solution for getting the funds to invest in the proper workout gear is to highlight the fact that exercise can help firefighters prevent a number of physical issues, including back pain, shoulder strains or obesity-related health problems.

When a firefighter gets injured while on duty, a department is affected in two ways. First, it has to pay for the firefighter’s salary while he or she is injured and unable to work. Second, it has to pay overtime for a firefighter to cover the hole in the shift.

“When we proposed our budget to the city council, we highlighted the cost savings from keeping firefighters injury-free and on the job. Our city responded with the budget for purchasing fitness equipment for each of our eight stations,” says Specht. “Each one now has a few cardio machines and a variety of equipment including medicine balls, squat racks, barbells, benches and dumbbells.”

7 Fitness Tips for First Responders (5)

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5. There are a number of different ways that crews can make time for exercise or fit in a workout.

“The crews on each shift have their own strategies for working out together,” explains Specht. “One of the houses goes to a commercial health club while another will run the stairs and train on the beach. My crew likes to train at our station house. We do high-intensity interval training for cardio and design exercise circuits with our strength training equipment. We’ll pick five to 10 exercises and rotate through each one for a specific amount of time.”

7 Fitness Tips for First Responders (6)

6. Exercise is important, but it’s important to work at an appropriate intensity while on duty.

“We do try to exercise during our shift, but in my experience I have found that it is best to save heavy weightlifting days or really intense workouts for our days off,” asserts Cruz. “You do not want to be in the middle of a hard workout while on duty, and have the tones go off for a three alarm fire. You are just setting yourself up for fatigue, which could lead to a member of your crew getting seriously injured.”

7 Fitness Tips for First Responders (7)

7. Working out promotes mental wellness and helps firefighters and first responders deal with stress.

“Due to the stresses we experience while on a call, it’s extremely important for firefighters and emergency medical services to exercise because it can enhance mental wellness,” argues Cruz. “Mental wellness and physical fitness go full circle because being fit gives you the confidence to do the job safely without getting injured. In addition, if you look good and feel good about yourself, your self-confidence and performance on the job both increase.”

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The men and women who are first responders may not be compensated as well as professional athletes, but they can borrow from the exercise techniques of the pros to stay in optimal fitness for the demands of their jobs. Clearly, exercise offers a variety of benefits for first responders, and there are a number of different ways they can stay fit to do their jobs.

“Exercise programs that include the essential components of fitness, specifically strength, cardio, and flexibility,” says Cruz, “are key for helping us perform at the top of our game.”

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FAQs

What are the most asked fitness questions? ›

13 Fitness Questions Every Beginner Has, Answered
  • How often should I exercise?
  • What time of day is best to work out?
  • How long should my workouts be?
  • Do I need to warm up before my workouts?
  • Should I do strength training, cardio or both?
  • Should I lift weights for strength training?
2 Jun 2022

What is physical fitness long answer? ›

Physical fitness involves the performance of the heart and lungs, and the muscles of the body. And, since what we do with our bodies also affects what we can do with our minds, fitness influences to some degree qualities such as mental alertness and emotional stability.

How can I get fit 10 tips? ›

Check out our 10 fitness tips below to help you reach your fitness goals and stay healthy throughout the year.
  1. Start somewhere. ...
  2. Set goals. ...
  3. Move every day—no matter what. ...
  4. Get enough sleep. ...
  5. Try something new. ...
  6. Make it fun. ...
  7. Get outside. ...
  8. Give one percent more.
1 Feb 2021

What are the 7 fitness tests? ›

Testing health-related components of fitness
  • Strength - Hand grip dynamometer.
  • Strength – One rep max test.
  • Cardiovascular endurance - Multi-stage fitness test.
  • Cardiovascular endurance – Twelve minute Cooper run or swim.
  • Flexibility - Sit and reach test.
  • Speed - 30 metre sprint test.

What are the top 10 fitness facts? ›

Top 10 Fitness Facts
  • Exercise Boosts Brainpower. ...
  • Movement Melts Away Stress. ...
  • Exercise Gives You Energy. ...
  • It's Not That Hard to Find Time for Fitness. ...
  • Fitness Can Help Build Relationships. ...
  • Exercise Helps Ward Off Disease. ...
  • Fitness Pumps Up Your Heart. ...
  • Exercise Lets You Eat More.

What is fitness simple words? ›

Experts define physical fitness as “one's ability to execute daily activities with optimal performance, endurance, and strength with the management of disease, fatigue, and stress and reduced sedentary behavior.” This description goes beyond being able to run quickly or lift heavy weights.

What are the 10 importance of physical fitness? ›

Here are just a few: Physical activity helps you live longer and prevent many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipid (cholesterol and triglyceride) profile, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and colon and breast cancers.

What are the 10 example of physical fitness? ›

The following are common examples of physical activity.
...
55 Examples of Physical Activity.
AerobicsBadminton
SkiingSkipping Rope
SnowboardingSquats
StretchingSurfing
SwimmingTable Tennis
23 more rows
16 Jul 2020

What are the 4 main goals of fitness? ›

The Most Common Fitness Goals and how to Reach Them
  • Get healthy in body and mind to live a longer and more fulfilled life.
  • Lose weight/fat.
  • Gain weight/muscle.
  • Lose fat and gain muscle (aka “tone” up) (aka “look good naked”)
2 Mar 2017

What are the 6 skills developed by fitness? ›

There are six skill-related fitness components: agility, balance, coordination, speed, power, and reaction time. Skilled athletes typically excel in all six areas.

What are the 5 components of fitness choose 5 answers? ›

There are five components of physical fitness: (1) body composition, (2) flexibility, (3) muscular strength, (4) muscular endurance, and (5) cardiorespiratory endurance.

What is the 10 fitness bucket list? ›

Create a Fitness Bucket List
  • Do three unassisted pull-ups. ...
  • Achieve and maintain your ideal weight.
  • Learn to do a cartwheel.
  • Increase your flexibility until you can do a split.
  • Earn your black belt in karate.
  • Compete in a triathlon. ...
  • Bench press your own weight.
  • Complete a Century Bike Ride.
14 Jan 2021

What is your top fitness tips for beginners? ›

Top 10 Tips for Exercise Beginners
  1. Set Realistic Goals. It may take some time to get the results you want. ...
  2. Be Consistent. Results come through regular and consistent activity. ...
  3. Too Much Too Soon. ...
  4. Accept Feelings of Discomfort. ...
  5. Time of Day. ...
  6. Will Power. ...
  7. Water. ...
  8. Try Something New.

How do I make myself super fit? ›

7 Time-Saving Workout Tips to Get Fit Fast
  1. Superset exercises. Supersets are one of the oldest tricks in the book — because they work. ...
  2. Time your rest periods. ...
  3. Keep it moving. ...
  4. Try high-intensity interval training. ...
  5. Plan your workout ahead of time. ...
  6. Have a back-up plan in case machines are taken. ...
  7. Ditch technology.
17 Jun 2017

What are the 7 skill components of fitness? ›

Components of Skill Related Fitness
  • Balance.
  • Power.
  • Agility.
  • Speed.
  • Coordination.
  • Reaction Time.
30 Jun 2021

What are the 7 skills related fitness? ›

Skill-related components of physical fitness
  • power.
  • speed.
  • agility.
  • coordination.
  • balance.
  • reaction time.
8 May 2020

What are the 7 components of personal fitness? ›

The components of health-related fitness includes: body composition, muscular endurance, muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility.
  • Body Composition.
  • Muscular Fitness.
  • Cardiorespiratory Endurance.
  • Flexibility.
  • Balance.
  • Coordination.
  • Power.
  • Agility.

What is the number 1 best exercise? ›

1. Walking. Any exercise program should include cardiovascular exercise, which strengthens the heart and burns calories. And walking is something you can do anywhere, anytime, with no equipment other than a good pair of shoes.

What is the most important thing in fitness? ›

1. Aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise, which speeds up your heart rate and breathing, is important for many body functions. It gives your heart and lungs a workout and increases endurance.

What are 3 important things in a workout? ›

A complete fitness program must include three things: aerobic exercise, muscular strength and endurance conditioning, and flexibility exercise. Aerobic exercise does good things for your cardiovascular system and is an important part of weight management.

What is the importance of fitness? ›

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.

What is a good sentence for fitness? ›

How to use Fitness in a sentence. He was examined as to his fitness before being appointed. This fitness God has given to actions, as he has given laws to Nature; and the fitness is as immutable as the laws. The hotel is home to a fitness center and an indoor swimming pool.

Why fitness is important explain? ›

Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.

What are the 12 benefits of exercise? ›

What are the health benefits of exercise?
  • Help you control your weight. ...
  • Reduce your risk of heart diseases. ...
  • Help your body manage blood sugar and insulin levels. ...
  • Help you quit smoking. ...
  • Improve your mental health and mood. ...
  • Help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age.
30 Aug 2017

What are the 5 most important benefits of exercise? ›

The Top 10 Benefits of Regular Exercise
  • Exercise can make you feel happier. ...
  • Exercise can help with weight loss. ...
  • Exercise is good for your muscles and bones. ...
  • Exercise can increase your energy levels. ...
  • Exercise can reduce your risk of chronic disease. ...
  • Exercise can help skin health. ...
  • Exercise can help your brain health and memory.

What are the 11 types of fitness? ›

What are the key components of fitness?
  • Strength.
  • Muscular endurance.
  • Cardiovascular fitness.
  • Body composition.
  • Flexibility.
  • Agility.
  • Speed.
  • Coordination.

What are the 6 types of fitness? ›

There are six elements of fitness: aerobic capacity, muscle strength, body structure, body composition, balance, and muscular flexibility. Aerobic Capacity- This is your cardiovascular systems ability to transport oxygen to the working muscles to serve as fuel for energy.

What are the 5 SMART goals in fitness? ›

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym to remind you how to set a goal that maps out exactly what you need to do. These goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Don't just stack up data you get from a fitness device.

What are the top 5 components of fitness? ›

It can help to think of fitness as an umbrella term, with five main components:
  • Cardiovascular endurance.
  • Muscular strength.
  • Muscular endurance.
  • Flexibility.
  • Body composition.
5 Sept 2022

Why are the 5 components of fitness important? ›

The five health-related components of fitness can work as a useful guide toward achieving physical fitness. Each of the components — cardio, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition — are associated with better physical fitness and overall health.

What are 4 activities that can help improve your overall fitness level? ›

They keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy and improve your overall fitness. Examples include brisk walking, jogging, swimming, and biking.

What are the 4 parts of a fitness plan? ›

Make sure your routine includes aerobic fitness, strength training, core exercises, balance training, and flexibility and stretching.

What are the 5 skill related fitness components and provide an example? ›

The main components of physical fitness are agility, balance, coordination, speed, and power.

What are the 4 essential elements for fitness? ›

Here are the four main elements of fitness:
  • Aerobic Fitness. Aerobic fitness improves overall health and well-being. ...
  • Muscular Fitness. Strength training improves your muscle and bone health, and helps with weight loss. ...
  • Flexibility. Flexibility allows you to move your body freely. ...
  • Stability and Balance.

What is the 10 best exercise? ›

Why these 10 exercises will rock your body
  1. Lunges. Challenging your balance is an essential part of a well-rounded exercise routine. ...
  2. Pushups. Drop and give me 20! ...
  3. Squats. ...
  4. Standing overhead dumbbell presses. ...
  5. Dumbbell rows. ...
  6. Single-leg deadlifts. ...
  7. Burpees. ...
  8. Side planks.

What are the most underrated fitness tips? ›

The 10 Most Underrated Strength-Building Tips
  • Walk In, Warm Up. ...
  • Prioritize What Comes First. ...
  • Train Like an Egyptian. ...
  • Grease the Groove. ...
  • Get Explosive With Your Training. ...
  • Train Movements From a Dead Stop. ...
  • Avoid Substances That Lower Your Performance. ...
  • Don't Be a Jack of All Trades in the Gym.
25 Jul 2019

Do your best fitness quotes? ›

Top Quotes to Motivate Your Workout
  • “Strength does not come from physical capacity. ...
  • “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” ...
  • “If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done.” ...
  • “The body achieves what the mind believes.”
25 Apr 2021

How do I start a fitness journey for beginners? ›

Start by walking 15 to 30 minutes a day. Choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take stretch breaks throughout the day. By doing something small every day, you're setting up an exercise habit.

How do lazy people get fit? ›

Run for 20 seconds and then walk for 10, or skip for 20 and lay down for 10. You can do burpees, mountain climbers or even the plank (if you're brave enough), Tabata training will raise your metabolism and heart rate immediately and you should start seeing the benefits in no time.

How can I get super fit in 2 weeks? ›

Secret Exercise Tricks for a Lean Body in 2 Weeks, Say Experts
  1. Do at Least an Hour of Steady-State Cardio Per Day.
  2. If You Can, Embrace the Sprint.
  3. Consider Moving Your Exercise to Before Breakfast.
  4. Stay Active All Day.
  5. Try Something New.
  6. Consider Cardio in the Morning, Strength Training in the Early Evening.
10 Jun 2021

What questions should I ask a fitness client? ›

6 Key Questions Personal Trainers Should Be Asking New Clients
  • Do You Have Any Medical Conditions? ...
  • What Are Your Short and Long-Term Goals? ...
  • How Much Sleep Do You Get Per Day? ...
  • What's Your Daily Nutrition Like? ...
  • Are You a Smoker? ...
  • What Do You Do For a Living?

What are the 3 most important components of fitness? ›

There are five components of physical fitness that you need to consider:
  • Muscular Strength. This is the “power” that helps you to lift and carry heavy objects. ...
  • Muscular Endurance. ...
  • Cardiovascular Endurance. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Body Fat Composition.
11 Jun 2018

What are the 4 common fitness tests? ›

Generally, fitness is assessed in four key areas: aerobic fitness; muscular strength and endurance; flexibility; and body composition. To do your assessment, you'll need: A stopwatch or a watch that can measure seconds.

What's the most important thing in fitness? ›

1. Aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise, which speeds up your heart rate and breathing, is important for many body functions. It gives your heart and lungs a workout and increases endurance.

What do I say in a fitness interview? ›

General questions
  • Why did you become a personal trainer?
  • What are your personal fitness goals?
  • Can you teach any fitness classes? ...
  • What do you know about nutrition?
  • How important do you think customer service is to this job?
  • Why are you interested in working for our company?
  • What are your career goals?

What are 5 important questions to ask a client before building their app? ›

7 Questions to Ask Before Creating an App
  • Is there a market for this app? ...
  • What will my app do that isn't currently being done? ...
  • What problem does my app solve? ...
  • Who is going to use my app? ...
  • What platform should I develop it on? ...
  • What legal requirements are there for this specific type of app?
6 Feb 2019

What are the 7 components of fitness? ›

3.1. 3.2 The components of fitness, benefits for sport and how fitness is measured and improved
  • agility.
  • balance.
  • cardiovascular endurance (aerobic power)
  • coordination.
  • flexibility.
  • muscular endurance.
  • power/explosive strength (anaerobic power)
  • reaction time.

What are the 5 physical fitness test? ›

The series of tests assess the five components of physical fitness that make up total fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. Why do fitness testing?

What are the 10 types of physical fitness? ›

They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. You are as fit as you are competent in each of these 10 skills, and a regimen develops fitness to the extent that it improves each of these 10 skills.

What are the 8 fitness tests? ›

8 True Tests of Your Overall Fitness
  • Check 1: Is your core weak?
  • Check 2: Lower-body power.
  • Check 3: Anaerobic endurance.
  • Check 4: Mobility.
  • Check 5: The Beep Test.
  • Check 6: Upper-body power.
  • Check 7: The Go-Muscle Test.
  • Check 8: Flexibility.
29 Jun 2015

What are the 4 S's of fitness? ›

Pilates is a functional form of fitness that aims to enhance mobility by integrating and working the four S's: Strength, Stamina, Stretch and Stability.

Why is fitness important in life? ›

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.

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