Fitness Training for Firefighters

Training ideas for those wanting to join the fireservice.

The fitness tests, that form part of the selection process in the UK are:

The 6 National Firefighter Physical Tests

  1. Ladder Climb
  2. Casualty Evacuation
  3. Ladder Lift / Lower Simulation
  4. Enclosed Spaces
  5. Equipment Assembly
  6. Equipment Carry

There is more information about each test on the official website, which is definitely worth a look at if you’re considering joining or applying.

As ever, the best training for the fitness test, is to replicate the fitness tests as closely as possible. This is not always possible, but it’s definitely worth practicsing climbing a ladder if you have one, dragging someone about (good wrestling drill too) if you have a willing volunteer and lugging about some heavy equipment in full fireman-gear.

For those who want a training programme that they can do at the gym or at home…

Exercises for Functional Strength

Chin Ups

These are great for building functional, upper body – back , core and grip strength. If you can’t do chin ups, start with your feet on a chair and using the lat pull down in the gym. Try ‘negatives’ too, whereby you jump up and then lower yourself down:


Press Ups

Nothing fancy…still one of the best exercises for building basic upper body strength and muscular endurance.

Sprints with Weighted Vest

To simulate the equipment & clothing you’ll have to run around in, buy a weighted vest or just use a backpack with something relatively heavy in there.

Sand Bag Exercises

You’ll need to get used to moving around unevenly weighted objects, such as people! If you haven’t got a person to drag around and squat with, sandbags are good, as are beer kegs full of water.
Just be very careful, functional exercises tend to be the best exercises, but also tend to carry a high risk of injury! So warm up and make sure you don’t arch your back.

Programme for Fireman Fitness

Day 1

3 sets of chin ups (supinated grip / palms facing towards you) – 3 sets of max reps

Do as many reps as possible. Rest for 90 secs, then repeat. Rest for 2 minutes, then do a final set.

3 sets of Press ups – maximum reps

Same protocol as above.

Tabata Interval Bodyweight Squats

Use the timer below. Do as many squats as possible for 20 seconds, then rest 10 seconds. Repeat 8 times. Use a weight or weighted vest when you find this relatively easy to do with bodyweight only.


Plank – hold for 1 minute


Day 3

Hill sprints

Do 9 sets of hill sprints

Sprint approximately 50m, then walk back and sprint again. After the 3rd sprint, rest for 2 minutes before starting again.
Rest for another 2 minutes after the 6th set.

If you train at a Crossfit-type-gym, then sledge pulls would be a good addition or even alternative –


Day 5 – repeat Day 1.

If you have a sandbag to train with then add some sandbag exercises on this day too.

If you’re not arsed about looking proper-mental, you could do some grappling dummy exercises on the beach too


I’d also throw in 15 minutes of cardio 5 times per week. Either a run, bike ride, or row. Running is best, as this will most closely replicate the fitness tests and the fitness you’ll require. Just be careful not to aggravate any injuries or hurt your back – which is possible if your running technique isn’t great


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Hemp Infographic

This took me so long to do, that I have no energy left to write an intriguing introduction. More information on my cbd oil page however.

Hemp will heal the world! Hopefully…


hemp infographic

Get massive, wear robust clothes & feel great with hemp

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Why Bodybuilders Can’t Punch – Increase your Punching Power

I know, I know,

MMA Bellends are always sharing stuff on social media about ‘He lifts but he can’t fight’ etc.


So it’s getting old, apologies…but I lifted weights and attempted to be a (very poor) bodybuilder years before doing MMA, so I have had all the ‘bad mechanics’ to overcome, and I’ve just worked a few things out – after 12 years of MMA training, and 2 years of doing JKD before that…I’ve literally just worked this stuff out:

Bench Press – the killer of Punching Technique

Why bench press is bad for punching technique and power

  1. You learn to use the chest & triceps in isolation
  2. You ‘lead with the hand’ when executing any chest movement
  3. You don’t extend the joints fully in order to save your elbows
  4. Your shoulders remain ‘stiff’ in order to stabalise and protect the joint
  5. Force = Mass x Acceleration
  1. “Train movements not Muscles”

So the issue with bodybuilding exercises is that the neuromuscular system learns not to fire any other muscles or movement when engaging the chest and triceps.
This makes it harder to throw a punch which engages the feet, hips, shoulder and then the arm.
To build the ‘pathway’ for punching effectively, you need to keep repeating the movement, not building muscle-strength in isolation.

2. Lead with the Foot Not the Hand – Pushing Vs Punching

In the bench press exercise, the movement is initiated by moving the hands, and so the bar upwards.
To punch with a ‘whipping’ action, you need to move the feet, then the hips, the retract the shoulder in a relaxed state and then finally engage the chest and then extend the elbow.
People who bench press a lot, look stiff because they engage the hand and arm and are not relaxed around the shoulder.
For more on this see the Conor McGregor Punching Power blog post.

Conor Mcgregor Uppercut

The body moves first and then the hand ‘whips’ behind it. The shoulder must be relaxed in order for this to be achieved – another issue with bodybuilders.

3. Joint Extension

Even if you use a light weight and lift explosively, you can’t fully extend your elbow-joint because you’ll injure it. This is why you see boxers shadow boxing and just lightly punching with a whipping motion – adding weight and power would injure the shoulder and elbow joint.
Training using a medicine ball is more effective, as you need to fully extend the elbow and accelerate at the end, not the start of the movement to generate more power. I would not like to take a punch of a shot putter for this reason!

Lack of flexibility can also be an issue, for optimal hook-punch-powder for example, the chest needs to be stretched and extended to generate elastic-recoil energy.
Same goes for the overhand right, look at fatty Roy Nelson torquing his body first then looping the right hand over the top:

I’ll just leave this here:

But then there’s the likes of Yoel Romero and Stipe Miocic who look like national level bodybuilders and hit harder than anyone.

I think if you build strength and muscle, then build explosive power, flexibility and train the specific patterns required for punching power, you’ll hit harder than a non-weightlifter by a significant amount.

If you’re doing weights for MMA – just think about what weights you are doing and how you’re doing them!

As a bonus, I’ve created 2 gifs demonstrating a pushing punch:

Pushing punch. Arm extends first

And a whipping punch

I don’t have a punch bag so had to use the wardrobe! #Improvisation

Admittedly I’m a little stiff around the shoulders still in the punch that’s supposed to be ‘whipping’

If anyone wants to send me a punchbag to review so I don’t have to use the wardrobe next time, I’d appreciate it!

4. Lift Explosively

Force = mass x acceleration

Bodybuilders have the mass but if they don’t train explosively and practice slow and controlled movements, theyll build strength but not power.

Core work and arguably medicine ball exercises and kettlebells can build explosive power quickly.  Olympic lifts are best for explosive hip-extension, but this is only really used in an uppercut, although it’s an important movement in MMA.

Plyometrics are also excellent for developing power and there is some research to suggest that they can also be used to build muscle mass. More information here.

So What’s the answer?

Just to reiterate, I think it’s definitely possible to be a bodybuilder and to punch like a boxer – I just made the title sound controversial to increase click-through.

Keep Shoulders Mobile

There’s bloody loads of shoulder mobility videos on Youtube, but if in doubt with mobility, I always go with the supple-leopard, Kelly Starrett:

Drill boxing More than Bench Press

“We are what we repeatedly do”

If you want to get better at boxing, then your weight training and training in general should centre around this…you can’t get good at throwing punches with a bodybuilding routine.

Look to build explosive fast twitch fibres, rather than big muscles, and refine punching technique with pads, bag-work and medicine ball work.

Get Feedback on Technique

“Practice makes permanent”

Get feedback on your technique from a coach if possible, or just film yourself.  If you look stiff then you probably need to work on your shoulder mobility and relaxing whilst throwing a punch.

Train Whole-Body Movements

To replicate the ‘kinetic chain’ involved in boxing, train whole-body-movements, performed in a standing position when possible.

Force is generated from the floor in boxing and transferred to the fist. Medicine ball slams and ‘shot puts’, lateral throws, cable punches and push press, even squats should help develop ‘functional boxing strength’.

They should also help improve core strength more too. To optimise core-power, you first need to make sure your posture is bob-on. Chances are if you bench press and work at a desk all day you could have anterior-pelvic tilt and rounded shoulders.

Poor posture is a ball-ache to correct, lots of hip flexor and chest stretching is required.

Overeem at his most roided was pretty much unstoppable, so it’s definitely possible


Weight Training for Punching Power

This study  states that there are ‘5 trainable variables when it comes to throwing a right cross:

(a) increase rear leg drive
(b) following the step forward, land with a rigid leg to increase breaking and transmission of forces
(c) increase the stretch-shortening cycle action of the trunk musculature
(d) increase the velocity of the punch
(e) increase the effective mass. it is possible, through appropriate strength and conditioning programming, to target the development of each.

and another scientific study found that only heel/calf strength was correlated with punching power.



For all those people saying that bodybuilders can punch because Mike Tyson could bench 300kg and that Anthony Joshua does weights etc, well yes you’re right, some bodybuilders can punch but not usually as hard as a boxer…and Tyson et al are all boxers not bodybuilders, who do boxing training and weight train specifically for boxing.

Click here to see my post on Strength & Conditioning for Boxing.

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Bula Kava House Review – Akau Blend


Use a muslin bag to soak the kava powder, knead it & squeeze the bag to get your drink

Where to Buy Kava in the UK

I ordered this kava from approximately 3 weeks ago. It takes a while to come due to the fact that I’m in the UK, and the shop is based in the USA.

I choose the Akau blend because it’s the most stimulating strain according to the website. The last kava I ordered from ebay, would just make me feel completely sedated.

I’ve been suffering with a stiff back and neck for years – too much wrestling and sitting down all day in an office. My back went into a very painful spasm recently, it’s nearly recovered now (still stiff) but my back, was the main reason for purchasing the kava.

I use a foam roller, I stretch everyday, but I’ve always found muscle relaxants by far the most effective way of treating my back and neck. Natural ones such as magnesium and kava, and kratom (before they banned it) make a huge difference, whereas 40 minutes of yoga – keeps me supple but in terms of stiffness in my back, it doesn’t touch the sides.

The Bula Kava House kept me up to date with my oder via email, not much else they could have done, so all good.

Akau Kava Review

Very nice feeling of wellbeing, my painful back has eased off, I actually feel like going for a run – it’s quite an invigorating blend.

I feel very focused too, which I wasn’t expecting. Nice stuff.

What is Kava (AKA Kava Kava)?

It is the native drink of the South Pacific Islanders, some people actually say the reason they are so happy, is because of kava!

When it become ‘westernised’ the companies who grew the kava, harvested the whole plant to make the drink. The root is the only part that should be used however and the rest is liver toxic. Never mix any type of kava with alcohol. My friend did this and was sick all night.

Ensure you use a reputable supplier that only uses the kava root in their powder

Kava for Anxiety

Kava has shed-loads of research behind it for treating anxiety. See the Examine website for more information 🙂

You may wish to research on the kava-forums as to which kava is best for anxiety

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Conor McGregor Infographic

Not my best infographic ever! Well, actually, it has Conor McGregor all over it, so it probably is!

Conor Mcgregor Infographic



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Joe Rogan & Dorian Yates – Episode 989

Great podcast, I’m a big fan of Dorian; I feel like a very very very poor-man’s version of him – My Dad died when I was 6, I got in to bodybuilding as a youngster, then I went all spiritual as an off-spin of MMA and yoga.

Dorian Yates & Bodybuilding

They discuss how Dorian saw his body as a sculpture and he kept himself covered up all the time, in contrast to today’s topless social media ‘fitness experts’.

Dorian stopped taking steroids (and insulin and HGH) cold turkey and he had depression after he stopped bodybuilding – but he also got divorced and a close friend died in that time too, so any 1 of 3 things (or 2, or all 3) could have caused his mental health problems.

To be honest, Dorian doesn’t appear to be a huge fan of bodybuilders since he retired! He took the sport to the next level with his Mike Mentzer Heavy Duty style training.

The basic idea of heavy duty training is that intensity is key to muscular development, not duration. Instead of doing 3 sets per exercise, warm up extensively and just do 1 to failure. Fail on the positive and negative (eccentric contraction). On Chest Press machine for example, fail first so that you can’t push the bar up anymore, then with help from a spotter, fail so that you can’t control lowering the weight either. Just be very careful when doing this! High intensity, can mean higher likelihood of injury.

Dorian Yates & DMT

Joe & Dorian discuss DMT and also the separate use of ayahuasca.

For those who don’t know – you can smoke DMT, it’s a chemical found naturally in the brain that is thought to cause near-death-experiences. Smoking it takes you ‘away with the fairies’ for around 20 minutes and many people say that it causes a powerful experience that makes them kinder and more spiritual.

Ayahuasca is a ceremonial ‘brew’ made from various plants and vines found in South America. It has similar effects to DMT but lasts for hours and people tend to find it more effective in terms of a spiritual transformation as they can actually remember what happens in their trip.

DMT users say it feels like being catapulted into a different universe and they often seen weird people and creatues (sounds mad I know) whilst ‘the mother’ Ayahuasca often causes reptilian images and more varied visuals. There’s actually a BBC 3 documentary about ayahuasca called Getting High for God which actually shows it in quite a positive light.

Neither DMT or Ayahuasca are to be taken lightly; you should be supervised by experienced users if you are going to venture down ‘the rabbit hole’. And DMT is illegal in the UK.

Interestingly, research on another ‘psychedelic’ magic mushrooms, or psilocybin mushrooms, has also shown amazing promise as a treatment for depression.

Dorian Yates & Cannabis

Dorian is a big advocate of cannabis. He says he knows friends who have cured cancer by using cannabis oil and a plant based diet.
Joe & Dorian discuss the many uses of hemp, including hempcrete and Henry Ford’s use of it to build a prototype car that ran on hemp ethanol.

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SARMS – Ostarine

Well, I’m old now -36.

I used to be really explosive and fast, but not so much anymore.
My recovery has definitely slowed down over the last couple of years, although adjusting my diet and using cbd oil + magnesium has certainly helped – by reducing inflammation and muscle tension.

My diet still isn’t 100% where I want it, I want to decrease carbs and increase healthy fats to meet calorie-needs and completely eliminate sugar. Which I had done, until I ran out of bananas this week! Shit excuse I know.

I’m not sure whether to enter a new chapter of my life, with exercise for health & wellbeing, rather than a main passion and hobby. Maybe chess or graphic design will become my new challange, but for the time being, I’m giving Ostarine a go.

Are SARMS like Ostarine illegal?

No but check with your sports’ governing body to see if they will cause a positive test result.

Are SARMS Safe?

Well, quite possibly not. There’s little research available on humans. What research there is, and anecdotal evidence suggests it’s safe in the short term, but nobody knows too much about the long term effects.

What Are the Benefits of SARMS?

Well, the sides are minimal compared to something like steroids and you don’t need a whole range of drugs to kickstart your own ‘natural’ testosterone production after a cycle. You don’t get ‘adrogenic’ side effects such as hair loss and prostate growth.

Ostarine SARM Cycle

So – I’m writing this to get organised really, here’s the plan:

Ostarine for 60 days at 25mg

D Aspartic Acid, Fenugreek, tribulus and velvet bean for a ‘PCT’

3500 calories a day

7am – Smoothie – hemp seeds, olive oil, 2 bananas

9am – Porridge, ground almonds, raisons

2pm – Pumpkin seeds, goji berries & banana

4pm – Porridge, ground almonds, raisons, banana

6pm – main meal

8pm – another smoothie


Will update when everything arrives!

Need to take a look at that diet plan again too. Need some more healthy fats and veg’ – I do have kale & spinach in my morning shake though…


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