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December 27, 2019

A Calling For Grit

Firefighting is one of the most honorable careers that exist. Firefighters are, seemingly, everyday citizens who have dedicated themselves to helping their communities reach safety and stay safe during times of extreme emergencies, where mere seconds can mean life and death. There is a level of danger embedded into their duty. 

Each day, with each call, they’re entering into unknown, hazardous situations that will command their absolute attention and challenge their physical capabilities. No, there is really nothing casual about being a firefighter. The job is in the name. These people go out fight against fire. Their calling takes real grit. 

The firefighter’s life is fast-paced and filled with unforeseen challenges. To be safe and successful on the fireground requires serious physical and mental strength. Firefighters work long days and nights. As a team, they must be organized and ready to respond immediately when an emergency message is received by dispatch.

The Training Challenge

To create an effective system of response, Fire Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs across the nation take on the major responsibility of providing their personnel with the proper training and tools to keep them functionally fit and ready for the rigors of the fireground. They often face the challenge of accomplishing this on a limited budget, with limited space in their fire stations. 

That is what our article will be exploring today. How to build the essential gym for your fire station to help your operators get strong and mimic the physical challenges they meet in the field.

Thanks to creative innovations in workout equipment, the job of designing a well-planned gym for strength training has become much less challenging and more cost-effective than it was in the past.

Creating Space

An obstacle nearly every fire department faces is a limited amount of space for training. But, with some creative thinking and a slight adjustment on the perspective of a firehouse, you’ll find that space opens up very quickly. 

The first obstacle you’ll likely face is how to create space for training. The easiest, most effective way to open up large amounts of space is actually pretty simple. When you’re going through a team training exercise, move your trucks into the parking lot and you’ve just created a very large workout space for your team. Using the equipment we’ll review in this article, you’ll be able to transform your bay area into the perfect training space and return it to a storage and work area in minutes.

Your next big challenge to overcome in creating a fire station gym is your equipment. We’ve identified how to create space for your team training, but how will you get the proper gear for training without taking up a quarter of your apparatus and vehicle maintenance bay areas? You’re only planning to move them outside when you are training, not park them outside for good. 

You’ll want to consider using wall-mounted racks. These are great for providing multiple workouts with hardly no space used at all. And they are very budget friendly, giving you multiple exercise stations in a single unit. They can be equipped with pull-up bars, fold-up benches, spotter arms, and usually come standard with squat racks and bench press racks. 

For storing your bumper plates, mount a weight tree to the wall with posts for each plate size. Weight trees take up virtually no space and will hold all of the plates you’ll need for your team’s training.

Bars and barbells can easily be stored and accessed with wall-mounted bar and barbell racks. Like the other racks mentioned here, they take up inches of floor space and will be able to store all of your bars and barbells.

You can get much more complex with your equipment, but incorporating the rack systems mentioned above will give your team the essential foundation for building and maintaining their functional fitness. Keep it simple as you build out your training area. You’ll stay on budget and you’ll have used hardly any space whatsoever.

Essential Equipment  

There are some fundamental types of weight equipment you’ll want to use when outfitting your essential training area. With a budget and limited space in mind, these additions will work perfectly for your fire station. You can keep it simple and still see tremendous results.

Barbells, Bumper Plates, and Dumbells

A vast number of exercises can be implemented with these three pieces of weight equipment. Barbells allow you to perform an array of presses and lifts. They are excellent for building strength. Add bumper plates for extra weight and use another person as a spotter when members are pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone and reaching for their next-level benchmarks. Dumbbells are perfect for mimicking actions that team members will encounter in the field. They can be used for nearly any type of strength training movement.

Kettlebells and Medicine Balls

Kettlebells are considered one of the best all-purpose pieces of equipment for conditioning. Like the dumbbell, they are excellent tools for re-creating the type of dead-weight encounters your team will see in the field, like lifting and moving heavy hoses and other cumbersome firefighting equipment. Medicine balls are great for the same reasons and can be passed between teammates to simulate various team actions that happen while working in the call of duty.

Sandbags and Ply Boxes

Sandbags are perfect for mimicking any sort of drag and lift sequences team members encounter. The dead weight of large sandbags are similar to a person who has suffered an injury and is unable to move her or himself. They are great for practicing the transfer of equipment or injured pedestrians between teammates. And they mirror anything that needs to be dragged to a position while on the fire ground. Plyo boxes can be used to recreate stairs, platforms, and any other raised surface firefighters must traverse while performing their duties. They can also act as a platform for lifting and placing sandbags and kettlebells on, an act that is commonplace in the field.

As you can see, building the essential gym for your fire station doesn’t have to be complex. You can keep it simple and set your training area up for a wide variety of field interactions. If you are looking to create a training space in your fire station and could use some expert help, give Simpson’s Fitness Supply a call or text at 720-979-9093 or email and set your appointment to visit our shop. We can help you design and outfit your fire station with all of the proper equipment you’ll need to keep your team functionally fit and ready for the call of duty. Contact us today and get started on your fire station training area!

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