Firefighters are constantly pushed to the limit – both on the job and in training. Their fitness, as well as their mental and physical endurance, need to be at the highest level at all times. This is something that firefighter Bec Meachin knows well.
Bec Meachin, a firefighter and endurance event competitor which has even earned her a much needed sponsorship deal with HAIX, she constantly strives to ensure her fitness is the best it can be and encourages others to do the same.
Below, she offers her advice for getting ‘firefighting fit’.
“I have a set workout when I’m close to an endurance challenge, performing it once or twice a week, but it’s great to do at any time to improve your fitness and keep pushing yourself.
I do the routine in full firefighter kit – weighted vest or BA (Breathing Apparatus) set optional, but recommended if you really want to push yourself.
1) Warm up:
Start with 10 minutes of stretching and warming up to prevent injury and ensure my muscles are limber – especially my legs, since they take the brunt of the workout.
2) Farmers Carry:
One dumbbell in each hand, walk forwards and engage your core for about 25 metres. Repeat 6 times. I do this with 10kg dumbbells, but you can adjust to whatever feels comfortable of challenging.
3) Sled Drag:
Using a sled, tyre or equivalent with a rope hooked around it, drag the sled behind you. Arms should be straight down and by your sides. Pulling it 20m = 1 rep.
4) Sledgehammer Tyre Hit:
This is quite straightforward – take a sledgehammer and hit a tyre with it, making sure to watch your form carefully as you go.
5) Run out a length of 70mm hose (or equivalent i.e a rope) and make it up again.
Making up hose doesn’t sound that tricky, but trying to do it with a BA set on your back makes it so much harder. Getting a technique you’re quick at is important here, there’s no right or wrong.
6) Dummy Drag:
Take a dummy and drag it backwards for a set distance, ensuring you’re holding it properly (your arms looped under each of the dummy’s arms) and not dragging it by a limb. Remember, this is meant to simulate rescuing a real life person – you have to be careful how you move them.
I use a 70kg dummy for this exercise. This can often be the most challenging event in a firefighter endurance challenge and it always takes places right at the end, when competitors are at their most tired.
Repeat the above three times. Don’t forget to stretch and cool down afterwards!
- Mix things up – If I don’t vary my routines, I get a little bored and then I might not bother training at all; alter the weights and switch the reps to keep things interesting.
- Compound movements are equally as important – I’ll perform this routine closer to a challenge for one or two days a week, but I spend my other training sessions working on compound movements: benches, squats and deadlifts. They work all the key muscle groups and they’re fun too.
- Plan ahead – Have a planner of workouts you’ll do for that week to keep motivated. You can use it as a way to ‘tick off’ workouts when you’ve completed them – very motivational when you’re getting started with training.
- Set Goals – Whether you’re training for a firefighting challenge or simply looking to get fitter; set goals, keep workouts interesting and, most importantly, keep going!