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Firefighters should have highly trained levels of agility to respond to unstable surface changes and variable environmental changes that can happen while fighting a fire. Agility is the ability to accelerate, decelerate, and change direction quickly and efficiently while maintaining control of the body. Training for agility will also increase balance, proprioception, and body awareness.
In order to move quickly while wearing bulky firefighting equipment, you must first have the ability to move your own bodyweight quickly. If agility is not trained in the gym, the chances of controlling your bodyweight plus a constantly shifting equipment load in a stressful situation are not favorable.
Training for agility will help a firefighter’s footwork become automatic so they can get out of a dangerous situation quickly without consciously thinking about their feet. Agility drills should be included at the beginning of the workout since the emphasis should be on quality of footwork. The firefighter should be instructed to move as fast as possible while maintaining control of their body.
The box drill is an agility drill that can be included in a firefighter’s strength and conditioning program (Figures 1a–e). Ensure that the firefighter starts from both ends of the box to train the drill in right and left directions.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association is the worldwide authority on strength and conditioning. We support and disseminate research-based knowledge and its practical application to improve athletic performance and fitness.
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