The Four Stages Of Firefighter Fitness
It’s no secret that firefighting is a physically demanding job where fitness plays an important role. Words such as ”occupational athlete” or “tactical athlete” are used by many fitness professionals when discussing the type of physical training needed for job performance. Yet, most do not realize that firefighters are not athletes; they are firefighters, and that means they come in all different shapes, sizes, and abilities. What is even more important is to understand where they are in their career.
Many people today are trying to create simple solutions to a difficult problem. What is becoming even more dangerous are how certain training modalities are claiming that “their way is the only way firefighters should train.” Nothing could be further from the truth. This would be like saying, “There is only one way to vent a roof” or the “smooth bore nozzle is the only way to go.” What we need to do is to step back, look at the needs of the firefighter, assess where they are in their career, and prescribe the best fitness solution.
Firefighters go through four phases throughout their career, which we characterize with the following terms: Academy, Probationary, Firefighter, and Chief. Each phase has a different priority, which will help develop a more specific physical training program that will meet the needs of the firefighter. Let’s take a closer look at each phase.