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This 12-week program will take you from the level of a beginning trainee and prepare you for more advanced workouts. This program is specifically designed to develop the strength and conditioning needed to successfully pass the Physical Abilities Test.

Firefighter Fitness Program

Beginning Level

This 12-week program is specifically geared towards developing the strength and conditioning needed to perform safely and effectively on the emergency scene. This program will also develop the strength and endurance necessary to successfully complete the Firefighter Physical Abilities Test (PAT).


It has been designed with the entry-level trainee in mind. It begins conservatively to allow your body to adapt to the workouts without risking injury from doing too much too fast. The 12-week program will progress you at a scheduled pace to give your muscles and cardiovascular system the time it needs to recover between workouts and adapt to the increased activity and demands being placed upon it. Be patient and trust the process.


This program is also made up of primarily multi-joint, compound movements to develop the overall strength needed to do the work required on the fire ground. Balance movements and isolated joint exercises have their place, but this program is designed to get you strong enough and fit enough to do the job. As fitness progresses, balance and isolation exercises will be included in other programs requiring more advanced fitness and experience.


Throughout this book, you will see highlighted text in the workouts. This indicates a link to a video that demonstrates how the exercise is to be performed.

Firefighter Fitness Program Beginner Level




Phase 1 includes a full-body workout that involves mostly compound, multi-joint exercises effective for building muscle and developing strength. The higher rep range for this workout phase will develop the muscle memory necessary to ensure you will be able to handle heavier weights as the program progresses. These higher rep ranges will also maximize caloric expenditure during the workout.

The interval workout also is made up of compound movements, focusing on power and strength. You will perform 30 seconds of each movement followed by 30 seconds of rest. Your target Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is 9-10 (see page 20) to develop the anaerobic endurance that will carry over to both the PAT and working on emergency scenes.

You will perform the full-body resistance workout on Monday and Friday, and perform the interval workout on Wednesday. This will provide 24 hours of recovery between workouts, which will allow your body to prepare for the next workout.


Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday will be your rest days for this first phase.

Phase 1

Weeks 1-4

Coaching Tip


Before you jump into the program, I would like to take a minute to provide some coaching tips for you to apply when working through the program.

  • The results you experience will be directly related to the amount of effort you apply to each workout.


  • Review the Rate of Perceived Exertion table on page 20. Although this table illustrates the amount of effort when performing a cardiovascular exercise bout, it can also be applied to lifting weights. When you are lifting weights, you should be feeling a RPE of 8 when approaching the end of a set. For this workout, we are not going to complete muscular failure. That is for more advance workouts and should be specifically applied in a workout. Complete muscular failure should not happen for each and every set. Science has shown that there is no added benefit to taking a muscle group to complete failure every set. In fact, the science shows that taking each set to failure actually negatively impacts the workout.


  • The interval workouts are designed to be exhausting. Go 100% for each exercise bout. If you hold back, you are only cheating yourself out of the gains you are after.


  • When selecting the amount of weight to use for a given exercise, keep it simple and don't over-think it. Each workout gives you a range of repetitions. If you can't perform all of the sets for the minimum number of repetitions, your weight is too heavy and you need to reduce the amount of weight being lifted on the next workout. If, however, you can perform all of the prescribed sets for maximum repetitions and you feel as if you could complete one or two more repetitions with that weight, then it is time to increase your weight. A good rule of thumb is to increase weight by 5 pounds. This is a small enough amount that it will be manageable, but not so much of an increase that you will not be able to stay withing your rep range target.

Phase 1

Weeks 1-4

Full-Body Resistance Workout

(Monday & Friday)



 

ExerciseBody Part
Sets/Reps/Rest
DeadliftLegs/Back
3/12-15/90 Sec
Barbell Bench PressChest
3/12-15/90 Sec
Wide Grip Lat PulldownBack
3/12-15/90 Sec
Barbell Standing Overhead PressShoulders
3/12-15/90 Sec
Standing Barbell CurlArms
3/12-15/90 Sec
Cable Triceps ExtensionArms
3/12-15/90 Sec
CrunchesCore
3/12-15/60 Sec

This whole-body workout will be performed two times per week during this phase of the program.

Perform all exercises as prescribed. Complete all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next. 

 
ExerciseTime
Air Squat30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Push Up30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Single Arm Dumbbell Power Row (Left)30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Single Arm Dumbbell Power Row (Right)30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Goblet Squat with Dumbbell30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Dumbbell Clean30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Step Back Lunges30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Plank
30 Sec
Rest2 min

Phase 1

Weeks 1-4

Interval Workout

(Wednesday)

For this interval workout, you will need dumbbells to perform some of the exercises. Review the exercises so you are familiar with them before starting.

When you have your equipment ready, start the workout.


You will perform this circuit a total of four times.

Phase 2

Weeks 5-8

This phase of the program gives you a two-day split format, still made up mostly of compound, multi-joint exercises effective for building muscle and developing strength.The two-day split allows you to increase the volume of work per muscle group during each workout. The rep range has been lowered slightly to emphasize hypertrophy as well as developing strength.

You now have two interval workouts still comprised mostly of compound movements, focusing on power and strength. You will perform 30 seconds of each movement followed by 30 seconds of rest. Your target Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is 9-10 to develop the anaerobic endurance that will carry over to both the PAT and working on emergency scenes.

In addition to increasing the intensity of your workouts, you will also be working out more frequently during this phase. You will be performing your resistance program on Monday and Thursday, while performing your interval workout on Tuesday and Friday.


Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday will be rest days for this phase.

Phase 2

Weeks 5-8

Resistance Training Day 1

(Monday)

 

ExerciseBody Part
Sets/Reps/Rest
DeadliftLegs/Back
3/10-12/2 Min
Goblet Squat with DumbbellLegs
3/10-12/2 Min
Romanian DeadliftLegs
3/10-12/2 Min
Walking LungeLegs
3/10-12/2 Min
Single Leg Calf RaiseCalves
3/15-20/30 Sec
SupermanCore
3/10-12/1 Min
CrunchesCore
3/12-15/1 Min

This workout will be performed once per week for this phase of the program.

Perform all exercises as prescribed. Complete all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next.

For calf raises, perform exercise with both right and left leg before taking rest.

Phase 2

Weeks 5-8

Interval Training Day 1

(Tuesday)

 
ExerciseTime
Air Squat30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Push Up30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Single Arm Dumbbell Power Row (Left)30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Single Arm Dumbbell Power Row (Right)30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Goblet Squat with Dumbbell30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Dumbbell Clean30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Step Back Lunges30 Sec
Rest30 Sec
Plank30 Sec
Rest2 min

For this interval workout, you will need dumbbells to perform some of the exercises. Review the exercises so you are familiar with them before starting.

When you have your equipment ready, start the workout.

You will perform this circuit a total of 4 times

 

ExerciseBody Part
Sets/Reps/Rest
Barbell Bench PressChest
3/10-12/2 Min
Incline Dumbbell FlyeChest
3/10-12/2 Min
Wide Grip Lat PulldownBack
3/10-12/2 Min
Dumbbell Bent Over RowBack
3/10-12/2 Min
Barbell Standing Overhead PressShoulders
3/10-12/2 Min
Standing Barbell CurlArms
3/10-12/2 Min
Cable Triceps ExtensionArms
3/10-12/2 Min
CrunchesCore
3/10-12/1 Min

Phase 2

Weeks 5-8

Resistance Training Day 2

(Thursday)

This workout will be performed once per week for this phase of the program.

Perform all exercises as prescribed. Complete all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next.

 

Exercise


Time
Jump Squat


30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Push Up


30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Single Arm Dumbbell Power Row (left)30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Single Arm Dumbbell Power Row (right)30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Dead Curl Press


30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Alternating Dumbbell Shoulder Press
30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Dumbbell Clean


30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Lunges With Dumbbells

30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Plank


30 Sec
Rest


2 Min

Phase 2

Weeks 5-8

Interval Training Day 2

(Friday)

For this interval workout, you will need dumbbells to perform some of the exercises. Review the exercises so you are familiar with them before starting.

When you have your equipment ready, start the workout.

You will perform this circuit a total of four times

Phase 3

Weeks 9-12

This final phase of the program gives you a three-day split program. Day one is an upper body "pull" day, day two is an upper body "push" day, and day three is leg day. The rep ranges have been lowered again, still in the range that emphasizes hypertrophy and strength development. The three day split, again, increases the volume of work performed for each muscle group..

You have two new intervals for this phase. One interval is a core-focused workout that serves as your core / abdominal workout for each week. The other interval workout is the same format as previous workouts. Your target Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is 9-10 to develop the anaerobic endurance that will carry over to both the PAT and working on emergency scenes.

In addition to increasing the intensity of your workouts, you will also be working out more frequently during this phase. You will be performing your resistance program on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Full-body interval workout on Tuesday and the interval core-focused workout on Thursday.


Saturday and Sunday will be your rest days.

 

ExerciseBody Part
Sets/Reps/Rest
DeadliftBack/Legs
3/8-10/2 Min
Wide Grip Lat PulldownBack
3/8-10/2 Min
Narrow Grip Seated RowBack
3/8-10/2 Min
Cable Pulldowns - V BarBack
3/8-10/2 Min
Barbell ShrugsShoulders/Traps
3/8-10/2 Min
Dumbbell Upright RowShoulders/Traps
3/8-10/2 Min
Standing Barbell CurlArms
3/8-10/2 Min
Hammer Curl With DumbbellArms
3/8-10/2 Min

Phase 3

Weeks 9-12

Resistance Training Day 1

(Monday)

This workout will be performed once per week for this phase of the program.

Perform all exercises as prescribed. Complete all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next.

Phase 3

Weeks 9-12

Interval Workout

(Tuesday)

 

Exercise


Time
Jumping Jacks


30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Dive Bomber Push Up


30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Mountain Climbers


30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Jump Rope Drill


30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Squat Thrust Triple Jack

30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Crunches


30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Oblique V Ups (Left)


30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Oblique V Ups (Right)


30 Sec
Rest


30 Sec
Plank


30 Sec
Rest


2 Min

For this interval workout, you will not need any equipment. Review the exercises so you are familiar with them before starting.

When you are ready, start the workout. 

You will be performing this circuit a total of four times

Phase 3

Weeks 9-12

Resistance Training Day 2

(Wednesday)

 

ExerciseBody Part
Sets/Reps/Rest
Barbell Bench PressChest
3/8-10/2 Min
Incline Dumbbell PressChest
3/8-10/2 Min
Dumbbell Decline FlyeChest
3/8-10/2 Min
Dumbbell Standing Overhead PressShoulders/Traps
3/8-10/2 Min
Dumbbell Lateral RaiseShoulders/Traps
3/8-10/2 Min
Narrow Grip Bench PressArms/Chest
3/8-10/2 Min
EZ Bar Supine Triceps Extension (Skull Crusher)Arms
3/8-10/2 Min

This workout will be performed once per week for this phase of the program.

Perform all exercises as prescribed. Complete all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next.

Phase 3

Weeks 9-12

Core Circuit

(Thursday)

 

Exercise


Time
Crunches

45 Sec
Rest

15 Sec
Reverse Crunches

45 Sec
Rest

15 Sec
Oblique Crunches

45 Sec
Rest

15 Sec
Flutter Kicks

45 Sec
Rest

15 Sec
Plank

45 Sec
Rest

15 Sec
Side Plank (right)

45 Sec
Rest

15 Sec
Side Plank (left)

45 Sec
Rest

15 Sec
Superman

45 Sec
Rest

15 Sec
Swimmers

45 Sec
Rest

1 Min

Circuit Instructions are on the next page

It should take you approximately 8 minutes 45 seconds to complete one round of this circuit.

When performing these exercises, perform as many reps as possible (AMRAP), resting as needed for the full 45 seconds. Keep strict form. Doing 45 seconds of an exercise with poor form does nothing for the muscles you are targeting and could lead to injury. Concentrate on form.

When you have completed the circuit, rest for one minute and then repeat for three rounds total.

Phase 3

Weeks 9-12

Resistance Training Day 3

(Friday)

 

ExerciseBody Part
Sets/Reps/Rest
Barbell SquatLegs
3/8-10/2 Min
Leg PressLegs
3/8-10/2 Min
Seated Leg ExtensionLegs
3/8-10/2 Min
Romanian DeadliftLegs
3/8-10/2 Min
Prone Hamstring CurlLegs
3/8-10/2 Min
Walking LungeLegs
3/8-10/2 Min
Calf Raise, Single LegLegs
3/8-10/1 Min

This workout will be performed once per week.

Perform all exercises as prescribed. Complete all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next.

For calf raises, perform exercise with both right and left leg before taking rest.

Congratulations!!!



You have completed the 12-week Firefighter Fitness Program. You should be stronger than you were 12 weeks ago and should be able to feel your improved cardiovascular conditioning. If you were also making smart food choices and paying attention to your nutrition, you should also be leaner than before with noticeably more muscle mass.


At this point, you are ready to advance into more challenging workouts.


Enjoy!!





The following pages provide reference material and a workout log for you to download and print to use to track your progress.

FIREHOUSE FITNESS IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY

© 2018 Tim Hennigan

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact:

Tim Hennigan

t.hennigan@hotmail.com