Core Exercises for Firefighters: The Plank

Firefighting is hard on the back! Reaching up to pull hose from a hose bed, lifting patients, pulling ceilings and opening walls during overhaul, or twisting to position yourself and equipment on a roof—these are all motions that put you at risk for injury.

But as Lexipol co-founder Gordon Graham always says, “Predictable is preventable”—if we know we’re at risk for back injuries, we can do something to prevent them. And that’s where the plank exercise comes in. Using just your body weight and some simple movements, planks work your abdominal, glute and shoulder muscles, helping you build a stable core that you can draw on during any fireground movement.

In this quick video, Aaron Zamzow, a firefighter with Madison (WI) Fire Department and founder of Fire Rescue Fitness, demonstrates three variations on the plank exercise and explains how incorporating them into your workout can help protect your back and shoulders.


Want more fitness tips? Check out these resources:
The First Step in Creating a Firefighter Workout Program
Stay Hydrated, Stay Alive: The Importance of Firefighter Hydration
Firefighter Fitness Tip: Stop Exercising, Start Training!
Are We Fit to Fight Fires? Real-World Guidance for Firefighters and Leaders

Aaron Zamzow

AARON ZAMZOW is a firefighter/training officer for Madison (Wisconsin) Fire Department with 20 years of experience as a fitness trainer and host of the Better Every Shift podcast. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness as well as a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification. He is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist, an NASM certified personal trainer and an ACE-certified peer fitness trainer. Zamzow is the founder and owner of and develops programs aimed at getting fire rescue athletes fit for duty. He authored the book "Ladder 2 Workout: A Comprehensive Firefighter Workout Program that will get you 'Fit for Duty' in 28 days." Connect with Zamzow on Twitter at @GetFRFit, on Facebook at Fire Rescue Fitness or at

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