What is a Firefighter Workout?

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  • Written By: Grayson Millar
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 16 December 2019
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The firefighter workout is a type of exercise routine originally developed to help firefighters keep in top shape in preparation for the physical exertion required for their occupation. As opposed to many traditional strength training workouts, the firefighter method concentrates on endurance training through the use of kettlebells instead of dumbbells and barbells. In addition to the muscle-building work with kettlebells, the firefighter workout generally includes interval cardiovascular training. The small amount of equipment required for a firefighter routine makes it a flexible workout that is doable in a variety of settings, from a fire station to the convenience of one's own home.

Instead of focusing on specific muscles or muscle groups, as do most gym-based strength training workouts, a kettlebell workout provides a full-body workout and specifically targets the core muscle group. By targeting the core muscles, a firefighter workout enhances muscle building while burning fat. As a kettlebell is often swung instead of lifted, its use provides a larger range of movement than the lifting of a dumbbell or barbell and involves more muscle groups. Kettlebell exercises are often done standing up to take advantage of the range of movement the kettlebell allows for, including jerk, push press, and clean motions.


In addition, kettlebell exercises are easily blended into one another, which adds an endurance dimension to the strength training workout. As a result, a firefighter workout, even prior to separate cardiovascular work, provides a great deal of cardio training that is generally lacking in a large portion of strength training workouts. Consequently, a kettlebell workout tends to burn more calories than most strength training routines.

Interval training complements a kettlebell workout by burning additional calories and building muscle through quick bursts of speed. A firefighter workout will often incorporate interval cardio training, such as wind sprints, to add to the high-intensity, full-body exercise of the kettlebell training. As opposed to extended cardio training like jogging or distance running, interval training continues to build muscle instead of just burning calories. As all that is required for a firefighter workout is one or more kettlebells, it is an ideal workout for firefighters on duty at the station and people who prefer to work out at home.


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