Firefighter Inspired Training Regiment

Gym & Fitness at Home

The following guide was contributed by my friend Terran Benjamin, a Philadelphia Firefighter. He's recollected some of his training during the Philadelphia Firefighter Academy along with tips for completing the more difficult exercises.


In order to get ready for the academy I was going to the gym 5 days a week, alternating workouts each day between legs/abs and upper body. Take note that each day I ran 1 1/2 mile on the treadmill at a 6.5-8 mph pace.

Stretching & Warm Up

Try to start your work out early in the morning. Early workouts have been known to resonate better with the rest of your day. So for us in the academy right after roll call around 0700 hours we began PT. Start with warm up stretches; 

  1. Shoulder stretch (10 seconds)
  2. Triceps stretch (10 seconds)
  3. Standing hamstring stretch (10 seconds)
  4. Quad stretch, each leg (10 seconds)
  5. Deep squat hold (20 seconds)
  6. Jumping jacks (20 reps)
  7. Push ups between 30-60 (as many as you can get out no breaks)

That was the warm up.

HIIT Style Workouts

Now our actual physical fitness training changed daily so this is a synopsis. When we first started we were told to create a 40 lb sandbag (image below) which we incorporated into most of our work outs.

These are pretty much HIIT (high intensity interval training) style work outs with very few breaks. 

sandbag example

Complete four sets of the follow regiment:

  • 20 Full Burpees
  • 15 Shoulder to Over Heads (with sand bag)
  • 10 Man Makers (lay sand bag in front of you so that when you drop into a burpee position the bag is directly in front of your face. On the way up grab bag and do a ground to over head.)
  • 10 Push Ups 
  • 15 Front Squats (with sand bag)  

Now some days we would do EMOM (every minute on the minute) style workouts.

Where we would start off with about 10 burpees every minute and if you finished early that's your rest time. Then it would gradually go up to 15-20 and so on until there's only about 10 of us left. This made it a fun competition. Also there are tons of workouts you can do with that sandbag. The ones I went over are just a handful. Some days we just put our bags on our shoulders and ran steps while other days we jogged 3-5 miles. 

Upper Body Day

  • Stretch
  • Dumb Bell Press: 70 lbs / 10 reps / 4 sets
  • Dumb Bell Fly (immediately after press): 40 lbs / 10 reps / 4 sets
  • Dips: 15 reps 4 sets
  • Pec Fly (machine): 80 lbs / 10 reps / 4 sets
  • Triceps Pull downs: 60 lbs / 15 reps / 4 sets
  • 21s (7 bicep curls to bottom of your pecks and back down, 7 from neck to middle of your pecks and back up, 7 full extension curls): 60 lbs / 4 sets
  • Hammer curls: 35 lbs / 10 reps / 4 sets

Legs and Abs

I mentioned I did at least 1 1/2 miles each day. On leg day I did more. I tried to do these work outs at a track mostly, measured in meters.

  • Warm up stretch then mile jog
  • Run 400. Jog 400. Run 400
  • Sprint 200. Walk 100. Sprint 200.
  • Sprint 100. Walk 100. Sprint 100. Walk 100. Sprint 100.
  • 25 Air Squats 4 sets
  • 20 Lunges (10 on each leg) 4 sets

Transition into abs

  • 30 Sits ups - 20 toe touches 4 sets
  • 60 Second Plank holds 4 sets
  • 30 Crunches - 20 toe touches 4 sets
  • Finish with as many sit ups as you can do nonstop as fast as you can.

It should also be noted that this guide is not a specific endorsement or on behalf of the academy; this guide is meant to be purely educational and offer insight to some of the training and exercises I went through. 

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