How to Train for a Firefighter Academy: Cardiovascular Endurance

March 21, 2013 | John Hofman

Must See Conditioning Videos

Fire suppression places a high amount of mental and physical stress on firefighters. Since the demands are so high, fire recruits entering a training academy are selected for their above-average physical fitness.

Studies have shown that high levels of cardiovascular training, resistance training and flexibility training allow firefighters to perform their jobs more safely and effectively. However, many firefighters are no fitter than the average couch potato. In fact, some firefighters are overweight and have high levels of cholesterol, which can potentially lead to cardiac disease.

Preparing for a career in the fire service starts before entering the academy. Recruits need to prepare physically to withstand the strenuous demands and extreme working conditions. All candidates must be in good physical condition. Recruits unable to perform firefighting tasks due to a lack of physical conditioning are usually not even accepted into an academy. Some who are accepted lack sufficient endurance to fight a fire. (Learn more ways to build endurance.)

Generally, firefighter academy training focuses on cardiovascular endurance and muscular endurance, but these are not the best approaches to meet the demands of firefighting. Instead, high intensity interval training (HIIT) and circuit weight training have been shown to significantly increase physical performance in firefighter cadets. (Do this HIIT Rip Trainer workout.) Thus, it is important that both aerobic and anaerobic workouts be part of an aspiring firefighter's training program.

Many fire academies require a physical fitness assessment, which vary from academy to academy. The most common is a 1.5-mile run test. It is recommended that fire recruits have a VO2 Max of at least 45 ml/kg/minute upon entry to an academy. This equates to 12 minutes in the 1.5-mile run test.

To begin preparing for entry into a fire academy, first assess your 1.5-mile run six weeks prior to your start. Once you have your baseline time, focus on improving it. If you do not meet the 12-minute time, try incorporating tough intervals runs to increase your overall cardiovascular endurance. The better shape you are in before entering the academy, the better chance you will have to succeed. Remember, this is a life-long career, so make sure you prepare well in advance.

Here are some examples of workouts that will help you improve your overall endurance, so you will be in the best shape possible for the academy.

Interval Runs

  • 6x400m with a three-minute rest between runs
  • 3x1200m with an eight-minute rest between runs

Although not all departments require an entrance physical, recruits should consult their doctors before starting any exercise program.

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 152,523
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,325
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,267,361
Load More
Workout Like a Solider

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,450,145
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,117,693
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 895,904
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,240
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,255

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Adeline Gray Is Going for Gold

Adeline Gray Is Going for Gold

5 NBA Players Who Found Their Game After Losing Weight

5 NBA Players Who Found Their Game After Losing Weight

Obstacle Race Training: Get in Shape With This Finisher

Obstacle Race Training: Get in Shape With This Finisher

5 Brutal Sprint Drills That Push the Lactic Threshold

5 Brutal Sprint Drills That Push the Lactic Threshold

Improve Your Aerobic Fitness in the Off-Season

Improve Your Aerobic Fitness in the Off-Season

The Mount Everest Treadmill Challenge

The Mount Everest Treadmill Challenge

A Slo-Mo Must-See: Ike Taylor's 4-Man Battle Rope Squats

A Slo-Mo Must-See: Ike Taylor's 4-Man Battle Rope Squats

Get in Football Shape Fast With Metabolic Runs

Get in Football Shape Fast With Metabolic Runs

Get in Shape Fast With Todd Durkin's 5 Intense Workout Finishers

Get in Shape Fast With Todd Durkin's 5 Intense Workout Finishers

Get in Basketball Shape With the Right Workout

Get in Basketball Shape With the Right Workout

Prepare for Your Season With These Conditioning Drills

Prepare for Your Season With These Conditioning Drills

Get in Shape With This Basketball Conditioning Workout

Get in Shape With This Basketball Conditioning Workout

Test Your Toughness With the Who Dat? Challenge

Test Your Toughness With the Who Dat? Challenge

Can You Handle the Husker Toughness Test?

Can You Handle the Husker Toughness Test?

Why Better Conditioned Athletes Have Fewer Injuries

Why Better Conditioned Athletes Have Fewer Injuries

Off-Season Conditioning: Full-Body Med Ball Workout

Off-Season Conditioning: Full-Body Med Ball Workout

Training with the Elevation Training Mask 2.0

Training with the Elevation Training Mask 2.0

How to Build Soccer-Specific Conditioning

How to Build Soccer-Specific Conditioning

STACK Challenge: 500-Meter Row

STACK Challenge: 500-Meter Row

How to Avoid Hockey Conditioning That Slows You Down

How to Avoid Hockey Conditioning That Slows You Down

Get in Shape With 5 Intense Lower-Body Finishers

Get in Shape With 5 Intense Lower-Body Finishers

High-Intensity Interval Training: How Much Is Too Much?

High-Intensity Interval Training: How Much Is Too Much?

Win the Fourth Quarter With These Basketball Sled Push Finishers

Win the Fourth Quarter With These Basketball Sled Push Finishers

LaTroy Hawkins' Epic Battle Ropes Workout

LaTroy Hawkins' Epic Battle Ropes Workout

7 Footwork Drills That Give You an Advantage

7 Footwork Drills That Give You an Advantage

LeBron James's Insane Conditioning Drill

LeBron James's Insane Conditioning Drill

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Interval Sprints

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Interval Sprints

STACK Challenge: Finish Strong

STACK Challenge: Finish Strong

Are High-Intensity Workouts Making You Fat?

Are High-Intensity Workouts Making You Fat?

4 Simple Drills to Improve Your Endurance

4 Simple Drills to Improve Your Endurance

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Fartlek Run

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Fartlek Run

Can You Survive the ‘100 Bears’ Challenge?

Can You Survive the '100 Bears' Challenge?

Alternatives to Boring Cardio Training

Alternatives to Boring Cardio Training

Who Invented the Burpee?

Who Invented the Burpee?

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Trail Running

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Trail Running

Baseball Conditioning: Why You Need an Aerobic Base

Baseball Conditioning: Why You Need an Aerobic Base

4 HIIT Workouts That Will Get You in Shape Fast

4 HIIT Workouts That Will Get You in Shape Fast

Football Players: 2-Week Crash Course in Football Conditioning

Football Players: 2-Week Crash Course in Football Conditioning

WATCH: Ronda Rousey's Intense New Bag Drill

WATCH: Ronda Rousey's Intense New Bag Drill

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Hill

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Hill

YardBarker