Physical fitness characteristics of a front-line firefighter population

Michael R. Antolini, Zach J. Weston, Peter M. Tiidus


Firefighters require a high level of physical fitness in order to meet the demands of their profession. While physical performance testing is required to join the department, firefighters are not subject to further formal exercise or performance testing throughout the duration of their careers. The purpose of the present study was to gather information regarding the physical fitness of front-line Canadian firefighters, to determine whether a testing battery predictive of both performance and future injury risk is viable, and to make recommendations regarding the format of fitness testing and training programs for front-line firefighters. Front-line, career firefighters were tested on a variety of physical fitness measures related to body composition, strength, power, and endurance over three testing sessions. Large ranges of data were found for many of the measures taken and tests performed. Body fat percentage had the most significant correlations with other performance tests while performance in the pushup test and vertical jump correlated strongly with many of the more sophisticated fitness tests. Some firefighters may not possess adequate fitness levels to optimally perform their job responsibilities. Simple field tests may form the basis of predictive testing batteries for both fitness and future injury risk, though further research is needed.


front-line firefighters; physical fitness; Functional Movement Screen; injury risk; VO2max

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ISSN 1406-9822 (print)
ISSN 2228-3501 (online)
Journal DOI: