Strength and Conditioning Programs for Wildland Firefighters

Circuit Training

Circuit Training

Mixing aerobic and strength training together is an ideal way to keep your workouts fresh, and simulates the rigors of firefighting

Perform each exercise for 1 minute, then rest for 1 minute. If you find that you cannot perform a certain exercise for a full minute, do sit-ups or substitute another exercise in its place until the minute is up.

This should take just under an hour to complete and you should feel pretty toasted afterwards. Modify the times accordingly, beginners might want to start with a 45s / 60s exercise / rest ratio to start off. As conditioning improves, gradually increase circuit time increments as appropriate.

1.) Jumping Jacks 2.) Crunches 3.) Lunges
4.) Pull-Ups 5.) Divebombers 6.) Bicycles
7.) Mountain Climbers 8.) Dips 9.) Squat Thrusts
10.) Diamond Push-Ups 11.) The Plank 12.) Jump Rope
13.) Stairs 14.) Bicep Curls 15.) Push-Ups
16.) Plyometrics 17.) Chin-Ups 18.) Jog
19.) Dead Hangs 20.) Step Test 21.) Forearm Burners
22.) Broad Jumps 23.) Ab Wheel/Crunches 24.) Heel Raises
25.) Wide Grip Push-Ups 26.) Farmer’s Walk 27.) 10 yard Sprints

Most crews incorporate some sort of circuit training routine into their fitness programs, though the specific exercises will vary from crew to crew.

Here’s Matt Prentiss, Superintendent of the Wyoming Hotshots describing his crew’s circuit training routine:

“We’ll stretch first, do a short jog, maybe a mile and half run, to get everyone warmed up, then we’ll come back and do the circuit. We usually set up 10 or 12 stations, and go for 45 seconds, then take a 30 second rest. We’ll pair up people, so one person will do the exercises while the other one rests. Usually, we’ll do situps, jumpsquats, curls, boxes (step-ups), wall-sits, push-ups, as well as a mixture of plyometric training and some other strength training exercises. On average, we’ll do 2 or 3 circuits per session.”

You can read the rest of our interview with Supt. Matt Prentiss here


The “300” Workout

Remember “300” – that darkly lit, vaguely homoerotic movie about a bunch of Spartan warriors fighting Persians in loincloths? No? Well, your girlfriend does. The media hyped up the workouts that the actors and stuntmen did to get so chiseled. They avoided isolation exercises like bench presses and curls in favor of large scale movements that emphasized athleticism. Rather than eating a bunch of Myoplex and looking bloated, they wanted the actors to look like they spent all day wrestling, throwing spears, and moving heavy things around. So the workout they devised emphasized lots of push-ups, pull-ups, deadlifts, jumping, squats, dips, and kettle bell lifts. The philosophy behind the workout was very similiar to that of CrossFit (read out interview with CrossFit Trainer Ken Urakawa here.) To track progress throughout the 4-month training period, the trainers would put the actors and stuntmen through a circuit they dubbed “The 300” – it’s pretty core. Check it out: “The 300”

  • 25x Pull-up +
  • 50x Deadlift @ 135# +
  • 50x Push-up +
  • 50x Box Jump @ 24″ box +
  • 50x Floor Wiper @ 135# (one-count) +
  • 50x KB Clean and Press @ 36# (KB must touch floor between reps) +
  • 25x Pull-up
  • 300 reps total

Think you can handle it?

For more information about their training, and the gym where they trained, check out “Gym Jones

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