Physiological responses of fire fighting recruits to high intensity training

J Occup Med. 1977 Feb;19(2):129-32. doi: 10.1097/00043764-197702000-00006.


Data were obtained for 20 fire department recruits before and after a ten-week training program. Training consisted of interval running and circuit weight training. At the conclusion of the training program several parameters were examined. Total work capacity assessed on a bicycle ergometer significantly increased (27.3%) with a concomittent increase in maximum oxygen uptake (33.2%). Physical performance tests given showed marked increases in 12 foot rope climb, 600 yard run, push-ups, sit-ups and leg-lifts. Physical strength also showed significant increases for the bench press (18.5%), military press (19.4%) pulldown (11.7%) biceps curl (16.2%) and leg press (18.7%). Training of this nature also brought about significant changes in body composition of the recruits. The subscapula and abdomen skinfold sites showed significant decreases of -9.6% and -11.9% respectfully. Body segment circumferences showed significant changes for shoulder, thigh, flexed biceps and abdomen. The skinfold and circumference measures reflected changes in lean body weight (2.6%), absolute body fat (-13.4%), and relative body fat (-13.7%). It has been shown that interval training and circuit weight training significantly increase the physical performance capacities of the recruits. It has been suggested, due to the tremendous cost to the county and city agencies as well as to the aspiring recruit, that a preliminary physical training program be implemented to reduce the drop-out rate of recruits during the tower training drills.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition
  • Body Weight
  • California
  • Fires
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Respiration
  • Skinfold Thickness