EnduraHow to Train for a Firefighter Academy: Cardiovascular Endurance | STACK Basic Training
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

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.

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Alternatives to Boring Cardio Training

As soon you hear the words "cardio training" in the gym your heart sinks already imagining the long term of treadmill, bike, or stairs about to begin....

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

Full Body Workout: 6-Week Conditioning Plan

Test Your Toughness With the Who Dat? Challenge

STACK Challenge: Finish Strong

STACK Challenge: The 10/10 Treadmill Challenge

STACK Challenge: 5 Minutes of Treadmill Torture

5 NBA Players Who Found Their Game After Losing Weight

Win the Fourth Quarter With These Basketball Sled Push Finishers

4 HIIT Workouts That Will Get You in Shape Fast

Essentials of Spring Football Training

Can You Survive These 4 Crazy Plate Push Finishers?

In-Season Baseball Pitcher Workout Program

How to Avoid Hockey Conditioning That Slows You Down

How Much Conditioning Do You Really Need?

Full-Body Conditioning Workout: 3 Loaded Carry Variations

How Sporting Kansas City Stays 'Sporting Fit'

Training Secrets of UFC Champion Johny Hendricks

Who Invented the Burpee?

Train Harder With Hill Sprints

LaTroy Hawkins' Epic Battle Ropes Workout

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Fartlek Run

Baseball Conditioning: Why You Need an Aerobic Base

LeBron James's Insane Conditioning Drill

Get in Shape With 5 Intense Lower-Body Finishers

Training with the Elevation Training Mask 2.0

Can You Pass Drew Brees' Conditioning Test?

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Hill

Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Altitude Training

Advanced High School Football Summer Conditioning Program

7 Footwork Drills That Give You an Advantage

Get in Basketball Shape With the Right Workout

In Defense of Cardio

The Mount Everest Treadmill Challenge

Off-Season Conditioning: Full-Body Med Ball Workout

Alactic Capacity: What It Is and Why Athletes Need It

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Interval Sprints

Get in Shape With This Basketball Conditioning Workout

STACK Challenge: 500-Meter Row

Get in Game Shape With 4 Conditioning Combos

5 Brutal Sprint Drills That Push the Lactic Threshold

Can You Survive the