The TACFIT Firefighter Workout Challenge was established as a benchmark training test for those using the TACFIT Firefighter First Alarm Program, which is an upcoming fitness program that was created to serve the specific strength and conditioning needs of firefighters.
There’s no doubt in my mind that active duty firefighters require a high standard of fitness in order to perform their job duties effectively, and it’s fairly accepted that most firefighters are pretty fit men and women already. But here’s the thing, there’s a difference between being fit, in general, and being specifically fit for your vocation. I would contend that most firefighters are generally well-conditioned for the vigorous demands of their careers, but not necessarily specifically conditioned to excel in the physical skills and attributes required to do their jobs well and return home safely.
That right there is the very reason why TACFIT Firefighter was developed, and this short workout can be used as a measuring stick to see how your fitness stacks up to the standard. And that goes whether you are a firefighter or not. So, consider this an official challenge (especially if you ARE a firefighter), and please give it a shot.
The TACFIT Firefighter Workout Challenge – Smoke Eater Level
Here is a demonstration of one round at the highest level of movement sophistication, affectionately called the “Smoke Eater” level. I guess that’s fireman lingo for a really tough dude who eats fire every day for breakfast. Below the video, you’ll see additional instructions for each of the four levels of workouts. For those of you whom are already familiar with TACFIT programs or the Circular Strength Training system, you’ll see some similarities.
Note: fire-proof suit and rubber boots optional.
All in all, the entire session takes less than half an hour. So, that was one round demonstrating one difficulty level of the challenge. There are four total: recruit, proby, firefighter, and smoke eater (beginner through advanced). Here’s a run down of the four workout options based on those difficulty levels…
Warmup (same for all four levels)
These are basic joint mobility exercises that were selected based on the exercises chosen for the “work portion” of the session. These will prepare some of the primary joints involved in the session to lube them up and get your body ready to work at a higher intensity. Don’t skimp on these. If anything, do at least the recommended minimum, if not more.
-Hitch-hiker elbow circles – 30 seconds per direction
-Knee-to-chest/Heel-to-glute – 30 seconds per leg
-Closed-chain knee circles – 30 seconds per direction
Training Portion (the “work”)
Instructions: Each minute, on the minute, for 20 minutes, perform the following exercises for the required repetition amounts (after choosing your level of difficulty). The goal of this protocol is to perform the reps as fast as possible with excellent technique. Try to make it a goal to finish your round with 20-30 seconds to spare, and use that additional time to recover as quickly as possible for the following rounds. So, if you finish 30 seconds early, then you have 30 seconds to shake out the tension, catch your breath, lower your heart rate, and reframe your focus for the next round.
The goal of the TACFIT Firefighter Challenge is to score as many points as you can – out of a possible 20 points total. If you don’t finish a round in time (takes longer than 1 minute), then start over with the next round as soon as the new minute begins. If it happens twice in a row, then consider either dropping down to an easier level and/or taking a full minute just to recover (skipping a round and losing a point). It’s better to not just make it to the end, but to finish strong, than to put in a sloppy performance. And that’s not just ego talking. Your body will thank you!
Here are the different levels of exercise difficulty…
Recruit (beginner level)
-Quad Press – 8 reps
-Forward Lunge – 5/side
-Sit-through – 3/side
Proby (intermediate level)
-Circular or ellipsis quad press – 8 reps
-Reverse Lunge – 5/side
-Leg-through – 3/side
Firefighter (advanced level)
-Quad hops – 8 reps
-Alternating jumping lunges – 5/side
-Half leg swoop to mountain climber – 3/side
Smoke Eater (mastery level)
-Clapping quad hops – 8 reps
-Airborne lunge – 5/side
-Full leg swoop – 3/side
Cooldown (same for all levels)
Like the warmup exercises, these cooldown exercises were specifically chosen to help you recover from the session you just completed. These will not only release tension that developed during the session, which will boost your recovery, but it will also strengthen some of the antagonistic muscles to help keep your body in balance and prevent over-specializations from developing. Again, don’t skip this part, and my recommendation is to exceed the minimum recommendations.
-Shinbox pose ( 45-90 seconds per side)
-Pigeon pose (45-90 seconds per side)
-Seal pose (45-90 seconds per side)
If some of those exercises seem completely foreign to you, or you got winded just from trying them out for a minute, then you’re in luck! For a limited time, you can get the complete TACFIT Firefighter Workout Challenge for FREE at the official website. I’m not sure how long this will be available, but I would jump on this while you still can (right away!).
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CST Coach, CST-KS
Health-First Fitness Coach
P.S. More info about TACFIT Firefighter coming soon!