James has been a firefighter for over 16 years and more recently a Crew Manager having passed the rigorous promotions process. James is a long-standing expert in the field of Fire fighter Fitness, and wrote the bestselling book ‘How to become Firefighter Fit’.
‘Too many people turn up for the physical selection tests to become a firefighter having not prepared properly, by either not having reached the required standard or more usually, not trained in the correct way.
Most Fire & Rescue Services test for the sort of abilities you need to have to be able to do the job e.g. the physical ability to carry hoses and ladders. Most people’s fitness training doesn’t really prepare them for this type of activity, so a lot of very traditionally fit applicants are surprised to find they haven’t made the grade.
So how do you best prepare physically for these tests?
Well, the role of a firefighter is varied from a physical point of view. They need a high level of stamina, strength, endurance and flexibility. The tests will highlight any weaknesses you have in these areas.
The key to passing these tests is having a good balance in these four disciplines.
Strength – to carry bulky fire service equipment or pitch heavy ladders
Endurance – to run out lines of hose over long distances or drag unconscious people to safety from buildings.
Flexibility – work for long periods in confined spaces such as tunnels or lift shafts
Stamina – to carry out a detailed search of a smoke filled building, overcoming obstacles whilst conserving air in breathing apparatus.
What if you could train in a way that meant you improved strength, endurance, flexibility and stamina in a fraction of the time and was in such good shape that you could breeze through fire-fighter physical selection tests?
The answer lies in calisthenics or body weight fitness training.
First off, you don’t need to go to a gym, nor do you need any equipment, nor do you need to leave the house and best of all, you can complete a killer workout which hits all muscles and improves overall fitness in around 20 minutes.
Calisthenics train the muscles of the body in a natural way and because much of it involves balance, you hit muscles in a different way than when using weights.
Certain exercises will also improve your strength, endurance and flexibility at the same time. For example, an exercise known as the crab, back bridge or back bend whereby you lie on your back and then push off the ground so your back arches and your hands and feet are supporting your whole body will work every muscle of the body and greatly improves flexibility. It requires strength to push off the ground and as you hold the position for longer, the endurance in your muscles will improve.
The key to passing the physical selection tests is having overall fitness and having high levels of strength, stamina, endurance and flexibility.
Calisthenics will quickly deliver the results you want and need, whoever you are and whatever your current fitness level, if you put the work in. It also has the benefit of being a safe, natural way to train, with no unnecessary impact on your wallet.
Don’t waste time training the wrong way for something so important. The road to fitness and to passing firefighter physical selection tests comes in the form of body weight training, and it’s time for you to get started.