Go To The Workouts!

Chris Melchin, a firefighter from Quincy, Mass., wants better results. We sent his workout to MF adviser CJ Murphy for some strength-building suggestions.

Chris's Program:
He trains his chest, back, and shoulders on consecutive days. If he has time, he adds arm work and/or ab exercises. Here's a typical chest day.

  • Bench Press: 5 sets of 10, 8, 6, 6, 12 reps
  • Incline Bench Press: 4 sets of 10, 6, 6, 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Fly: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Dip: 3 sets of 10 reps

Murphy's Take on Chris's Program:
"Firefighters need total-body strength and the conditioning to function at a high level in a smoky room. This routine misses the boat entirely."

The Fix:
Start training legs—that's a no-brainer. Train your whole body four days a week, including leg exercises in each routine, and open two of your workouts with either the squat or deadlift. Go heavy on your first exercise of the day (three to five reps)—this is your strength work—and then do supersets for opposing muscle groups (like chest and back) to work more muscle in each workout.

Finish each day with some kind of circuit using body-weight exercises that you can move through fast and burn loads of calories with. Lucky for you, Murphy couldn't resist and wrote a whole program.

The Workouts:

Workout I Workout II Workout III Workout IV