Weight training & firefighting

English: ATSUGI, Japan (July 30, 2008) A Comma...

English: ATSUGI, Japan (July 30, 2008) A Commander, Naval Forces Japan firefighter douses a fire on a dummy aircraft during the annual off-station mishap drill at Naval Support Facility Kamiseya. Emergency response and rescue teams were tasked with putting out a simulated fire, and rescuing two personnel from a plane crash scene. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Seaman Barry Riley (Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Note: The title is specific to my life and what I feel comfortable talking about. Of course you can swap the word firefighter for other professions. Be it construction worker,commercial fisherman,police officer,military,taxi driver,doctor,accountant,teacher,coal miner,window washer,electrician,banker,etc. We all work hard and we all need exercise.

On the job as a firefighter we get some pretty good days sometimes but then we get some pretty shitty days too. Lately there have been some pretty big and serious fires all around the area. I have been to multiple alarm fires for the last 3 shifts. Today was a 3 alarm. Last shift we had a single alarm in the afternoon and then went to a multiple alarm in a neighboring town and then a 2 alarm right after that back in our city! 3 shifts ago we had car accidents and a 2 single alarms.

Somewhere along the way the job can certainly beat you up. I have a long way to go in my career and the last thing I want to do is blow out my back or sustain some other kind of lingering injury. I twisted my ankle on my last shift when I slipped on some ice that formed from the over spray of the hose line. Its still bothering me but I think it would have been worse if I didn’t weight train and work on my flexibility and mobility all the time.

As far as just being able to do the job (pulling plaster walls open and ripping down ceilings and dragging hoseline around corners, etc.) I have found that weight training has a ton of advantages. I’m able to work harder for longer and fatigue more slowly. My air supply lasts longer because I’m not breathing as hard and after the fire is placed under control and we are released back to normal duty , I still have energy and can last the rest of my shift.

Of course we all have our limits and no matter how prepared you are either physically or mentally, we all have our breaking points. We reach these points when everything keeps piling up on us and we begin to wear down. It is important to know when you are reaching your breaking point so you can back off  BEFORE you get there! You never want  to break yourself! This would be counter productive because it would take you much longer to recover and you actually may never want to go back again.

I have been there before, where I work a very demanding shift and when I leave work I am lacking sleep, somewhat dehydrated, a little under nourished and feeling sore and beat up. What I should be doing is getting some sleep and eating and re-hydrating but that little voice in my head is saying don’t be a puss you got squats today!

I have tried both ways. I have done my squats and hit it hard, the outcome; sometimes I felt okay and other times felt weak and tired and had a crappy workout and ended up having to take extra time off to recover. Or if I decided not to train and just rest then I would usually have a great workout the next day. So what I learned is that it is not worth it to workout that day. Just get the rest that  your body needs because you can’t train through being tired.

“Know yourself and know your enemy and you will win a thousand battles” ~ Sun Zu


One thought on “Weight training & firefighting

  1. Pingback: Operational Fitness Needs - Human Movement RX

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