First responders and wildland firefighters don’t have the option to work from home. They need to be in top physical and mental shape or else lives could be lost. If they can’t make it to the gym, they bring the gym home or find a way to use whatever space they have to hit their daily goals. We worked with the guys at MTNTOUGH Fitness Lab to bring those simple but effective routines to you and whatever space you occupy to help you keep physically fit and mentally sharp. In this installment, we’re bringing you a workout specifically tailored to the needs of fire crews based on research conducted at MTNTOUGH’s Bozeman, MT headquarters.
MTNTOUGH is continuously researching backcountry performance in The Lab, their Bozeman R&D facility where on any given day you will see some of the world’s most committed backcountry hunters strolling in for a workout alongside elk hunting guides, Navy SEALS, Bozeman locals, city cops, and wildland firefighters. “Research and development have always been at our core, we are always looking for new ways to enhance performance & grit for the mountains and we learn from many different demographics, but always test things first on ourselves”, Founder Dustin Diefenderfer explains.
Last year, MTNTOUGH launched a deep-dive study on wildland firefighter performance, inviting smokejumpers, hotshots, and rappel crews to The Lab for a year of testing.
“It quickly became apparent that wildland firefighters required greater upper body muscle endurance than our backcountry hunter or military athletes, due to the long days swinging a Pulaski or running a heavy chainsaw. Additionally, they needed creative solutions as they were often far away from gyms with little access to equipment during the season,” explains Dustin.
To adapt and overcome this challenge, MTNTOUGH provided the wildland firefighters with “The Pack Challenge” that can be done at home, anytime, and all you need is a backpack, pack, rucksack or sandbag. Both a mental and physical test, this workout is simple—don’t set the weighted pack down for 20 minutes. Good luck…
THE PACK CHALLENGE
High Knees – 30 sec
Butt Kicks – 30 sec
World’s Greatest Stretch – 30 sec
Overhead Lunge – 30 sec
Walk Out Push-ups – 30 sec
Lateral Lunge – 30 sec
Floor Wipers – 30 sec
All you need is a backpack, pack, rucksack or sandbag loaded with weight. Beginners use 25lbs, Intermediates 35lbs, and Advanced 45lbs.
The challenge is simple, start a timer, grab your pack and don’t set it down for 20 minutes.
Make sure you don’t set the pack down – you owe 30 burpees for every time the pack touches the ground, and the timer pauses as you complete them.
With your pack, alternate through the following exercises every 30 seconds until you reach
PACK CURLS – 30 SECONDS
PACK FRONT SQUATS – 30 SECONDS
PACK OVERHEAD WALK – 30 SECONDS
PACK OVERHEAD PRESS – 30 SECONDS
PACK OBLIQUE DIPS (RIGHT) – 30 SECONDS
PACK OBLIQUE DIPS (LEFT) – 30 SECONDS
PACK BENT OVER ROWS – 30 SECONDS
PACK FRONT RACK LUNGES – 30 SECONDS
MTNTOUGH Fitness Lab has established itself as the elite source for improving mental toughness, physical preparation, and performance research for the backcountry and tactical athlete…And they have assembled an impressive team for this task, including backcountry hunter Dustin Diefenderfer, Alex Fichtler (Former US Navy SEAL), Ara Megerdichian (US Army Ranger and former West Point Instructor), and mountain training legend Jimmy Alsobrook. You can access all MTNTOUGH online training programs via your phone, tablet, or desktop including their six week no gear, no gym, bodyweight only program the MTNTOUGH 30-30.