Physical fitness characteristics of a front-line firefighter population

  • Michael R. Antolini Departments of Kinesiology & Physical Education and Health Sciences, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo ON
  • Zach J. Weston Departments of Kinesiology & Physical Education and Health Sciences, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo ON
  • Peter M. Tiidus Departments of Kinesiology & Physical Education and Health Sciences, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo ON
Keywords: front-line firefighters, physical fitness, Functional Movement Screen, injury risk, VO2max

Abstract

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.
Published
2015-12-07
Section
Articles