Effectiveness of a short-term conditioning program to prepare firefighters for an occupationally-specific competition-pilot study

Aleksandar Cvorovic, Filip Kukić, Adis Abdulovic, Rob Marc Orr, Jay Dawes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Modern firefighters are required to perform physically demanding tasks that are associated with an elevated risk of injury due to the unpredictable and hazardous nature of their occupational environment. This pilot study was designed to gain an insight into the development of firefighters’ physical abilities by using a structured 4-week physical training program. The sample included six (n=6) healthy male firefighters (mean ±SD age = 27.5 ± 3.39 years, mean body mass [BM] = 76.35 ± 16.43 kg, and mean body height [BH] = 171.50 ± 2.01 cm) with the goal of preparing them for the challenge competition. The study consisted of an initial-test to establish baseline data, a 4-week training plan and a final-test. The training plan consisted of 14 training sessions that emphasized high intensity intermittent training (HIIT) and high intensity functional training (HIFT). Tests included measures of body composition: BM, body mass index (BMI), percent of body fat (PBF) and percent of skeletal muscle mass (PSMM); and physical abilities: standing long jump (SLJ), maximal grip strength of right and left hand (GSR and GSL), 50-meter sprint run (50m), sit and reach test (S&R), chin-ups (CU), 1-minute push-ups (PU), 1-minute sit-ups (SU) and estimated relative VO2max (Est.VO2max). Paired samples T-tests found a significant training effect in CU (p = 0.021) and Est.VO2max (p = 0.012) with the effect-size ranging from medium (CU, d = 0.63) to large (Est.VO2max, d = 1.16). Although changes in body composition were not significantly different, a planned short-term training program had a positive impact on the physical performance of professional firefighters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Australian Strength and Conditioning
Volume28
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

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