The French ViPR team took the fire fighters of Saint Denis in Paris and primed them for action with drills tailored to mimic the moves they need on the frontline, reports Fiona McAuslan.


Parisian fire fighters are considered to be military personnel in France and, consequently, their physical training is taken extremely seriously, with all brigade members needing to keep themselves in peak physical condition at all times. David Hurst, head coach of ViPR France, realized there was an opportunity to improve not only fire fighters’ general fitness but to use Loaded Movement Training to build drills that are directly relevant to the demands of the job. The result was a training day with the Saint Denis fire brigade in Paris.


 “On that day I had 200 fire fighters to train and we did five sessions of 30-40 minutes using a set of 40 ViPR tools between them,” he says.



“I started the day by asking what types of movement they need to do in their daily routine,” he continues. “They talked about picking up ladders, and breaking walls down with sledgehammers.” Hurst recreated these movements with the ViPR drills and then put them through ViPR-specific circuits. He created a drill which mimicked wall-breaking and using a sledgehammer.



He also led them in the ViPR classic move, thread the needle, though he commented, “Initially, they had terrible posture and there was a great need for follow-up coaching.”


Hurst has the following advice for any PTs who want to train a fire brigade near them: “Contact the relevant fire station and ask them when they can regroup their fire fighters for a sports and training day and offer to lead them in a ViPR session. Ask them what moves they need to work on and work out a program that covers their needs.”



Hurst was pleased with the positive reaction the training day received. “The station general was very impressed and finished the day by saying to everyone, ‘Usually, fire fighters try to keep fit by running, and playing football … and all that you get is better at running and playing football! What we have seen today is modern training techniques that will forge better fire fighters, and that’s exactly what I want!’”



Visit the exercise library to see similar drills and programming to those used with the Parisian fire fighters.