The Evolution of First Responder Fitness


On June 20 and 21, I hosted the American Kettlebell Club NYC Coaches' Certification. Kettlebell World Champion and Head Coach Valery Fedorenko did an amazing job, and the event was a huge success people will be talking about for months.

After two grueling days of training, our plan was to sit down together and finalize the new First Responder Program. But before putting the finishing touches on the final project, Valery wanted a tour of the firehouse, so as to become even more familiar with the grueling everyday tasks of a firefighter. After a couple of hours, and a thorough understanding of a first responder's workload, necessity for explosive force, the feeling of full encapsulation, dealing with oversized heavy tools, and constant stress, he was satisfied.

We headed back to my gym, as I saw the wheels turning behind the champ's eyes, his brain on overdrive. For hours we wrote and re-wrote endless variations on the original theme. Exercise selection, reps per minute, minutes per hand, kettlebell selection, rest and recuperation all needed to mesh perfectly to recreate the unique physical demands of firefighting, with the best possible progression.

That was an eventful day for the fire service in America. We received the ultimate gift of the genius of Valery Fedorenko, perfectly formulating a specific kettlebell program to prepare first responders for the rigors of fire and emergency operations. At the end of the day we tested the protocol. Eric Liford, Valery Fedorenko, and I worked elbow to elbow at the East Coast Kettlebell Club gym.

As I performed my first round of Push Press (specifically selected First Responder Exercise), I couldn't help but steel a quick glance at Valery training five feet from me. As he pushed the bell up from his hip, it appeared to float to lockout. There was pure magic in the gym that day.

The protocol seemed right on the money. Right now, my job is to test it over the next few months, working out any possible kinks, in preparation for our DVD shoot and book release. So far the program tests as well with beginners as it did that day.

The fire service can look for the official release of the First Responder Kettlebell Program in the fall of this year. In the meantime, I'm available for workshops and seminars for departments nationwide. For more information, please CLICK HERE.