Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crossfit and Firefighters

Crossfit for Firefighters
As firefighters we NEED to be functionally strong.  We need to do strength training that represents the conditions that we could face on a fire ground.  You need to be able to give 100% in order to save your life or that of another person. Regular functional strength training may be the single thing that gives you the power and stamina to get out of a life threatening situation. Be safe and be prepared!

As triathletes now is a great time for us to be putting time in the strength bank.  Those of us who periodize our training typically take this time of the year off, or may be in the early stages of base building.  The off season is the best time to make gains in power.  

The Crossfit movement is gaining momentum in the multisport and endurance sport worlds.  You will be seeing more extreme training plans popping up.  Crossfit Endurance has already been taking the bull by the horns and mapping out WOD's (Workout of the Day) that will kick your butt AND incorporate multisport training!  Take your training to the next level.

Whether you subscribe to Crossfit and regular strength training or not, give this a try for a month and watch your speed, power and agility grow exponentially!
Complete this workout 5 times in circuit style intervals.  Using the pattern of 1 minute per station followed by a 20 second rest, this workout will take about 7 minutes per circuit.  You may rest up to 2 minutes between each circuit.  After 5 circuits, complete the 6th circuit with no rest intervals.  With the Warm Up and Cool Down, the workout will take about an hour. You can have 1 firefighter at each station (5 firefighters) for the entire workout -- Develop crew integrity!!

The goal of this workout is to push you mentally and physically; push through the burn and complete each station.  Your effort at each station should push your heart rate into an anaerobic state, just like on the fire ground.
Warm Up:  Run for 10 minutes - Quick warm up and then a strong sprint (push for a 1 mile sprint).  Any cardio warm up is fine, but be certain that you are getting your heart rate up!
3, 2, 1... GO!
STATION 1:   “Sled Pull” with a rope, pull a rolled 100’ section of 5” hose across the apparatus bay floor from a seated position without foot anchors.  Use a 40’ section of utility rope.  Tie to the hose roll, pull on this rope.  Consider placing extra weight on top of the hose roll to increase resistance (50# bag of salt/sand).  When you've pulled the 'Sled' to you, run the rope out and pull again.  Try to get 3 full length pulls in this minute.

Try this exercise as if you were rowing: stretch forward, grab the rope and pull while you lean back.  This will work your lower back and help prevent the common back injuries.
STATION 2:  “Step Ups” while holding a rolled 50’ section of 1 ¾” fire hose, step up onto the tailboard of an ambulance (or any sturdy surface greater than an 18” height).  Remember to alternate which foot steps up first.

Do not lean forward.  Keep your chest out and your shoulders back.

STATION 3:  “Hose Ropes” swing ropes alternately creating ‘waves’ with the rope.  Take a 25’ section of  1 ¾” fire hose, anchor it in the center around a non-movable object so that both couplings of the hose are at the starting point (You'll want to duct tape around the anchor point so the hose doesn't pull one way or the other).  Grab the hose below the couplings and make ‘waves’ with the hose.  Single Waves, Double Waves; mix it up with Isometric Squats, Skaters Lunge or run in place. Keep your upper body upright with a straight back!

STATION 4:  “Hammer Time” Use a heavy sledge hammer to hit an object on the floor (preferably one that is meant to be beat on).  Kneeling or standing - alternate the dominate hand at the 30 second time mark.

STATION 5:  “High Rise Lunges” while draping a high rise hose pack or a 50’ section of 2 ½” across your shoulders, do step lunges 40’ out and back.  Upon reaching the starting point, do 10 full squats.

Keep a straight and upright back.  Push your chest out.  When you squat - "Ass to the Grass" or You're Doing It WRONG!
Cool Down:  Rowing machine or Elliptical machine for 10 minutes. Any cardio is fine.  Strong and steady effort, but not anaerobic.
Lastly, after you've completed this routine a few time and can "comfortably" go through it without being excessively sore the following few days:  Do it in your turnout gear!  If you're not a firefighter or do not have turnout gear to 'play in' then use heavy pants, boots and a heavy coat (Carhart gear come to mind).  Consider this a heat acclimation drill.

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