MTI Urban Fire/Rescue Fitness Assessment


By Rob Shaul

We worked with full-time firefighters across the country to develop the typical fitness demands for Urban Fire/Rescue athletes, the exercises which would assess those demands, and the overall assessment design and protocol.

A couple of notes on this assessment

  • Equipment is minimal by design. Some stations seem to have racks and barbells, others don’t. Most seemed to have dumbbells and a bench. I figured guys to get creative for the 48″ ledge and could hand-make their own sandbag, if necessary. Be resourceful – lack of equipment is no excuse not to try this assessment.
  • Same loading for men and women. Both sexes use the same weight – for fit women, it is more than manageable.
  • Grip/”tactical chassis” focus. This assessment will really test your grip and tactical chassis strength. Tactical Chassis = legs, lungs and core.
  • No Joke. This assessment is difficult. So is fighting fires and other rescue events.

 Required Equipment

  • 60# Sandbag
  • Pair of 30# Dumbbells
  • 18” Bench
  • 48” Ledge
  • Stopwatch with Repeating Interval Countdown Timer
  • SCBA Pack with Tank

Questions?  Email me:


3 Rounds
10x Air Squats
10x Push ups
5x Walking Lunges
10x Situps
Instep Stretch


(1) 30/30 Sandbag Keg Lift for Reps @ 60# bag, 48” Ledge
Protocol: Sandbag must move from ground at athlete’s side, across his/her body, to a 48-inch Ledge. Start with the SB on the left side, at 30 seconds, switch so sandbag is on the ground on the athlete’s right side. Max Reps in 60 Seconds. Entire bag has to be on the ledge for the rep to count.

→ What this event assesses: Twisting under load, rotational core strength, grip strength and work capacity in a Fire/Rescue functional manner.


Rest 3 Minutes before next event

(2) Max Reps Mixed Grip Pull Ups
Protocol: Mixed Grip = one hand forward, one hand back. Dead hang, to chin fully above the bar. No kipping. No time limit, but you cannot change your grip, or touch your feet. You can “rest” at the full hang position, but cannot touch your feet. 

→ What this event assesses: Upper body pulling strength.


Rest 3 Minutes before next event


(3) Dumbbell to Overhead @ 30#, Max Reps in 60 seconds
Protocol: Dumbbell must travel from full elbow extension at the bottom to full elbow extension overhead by any method –  by swing, snatch, clean and press, etc. Athlete can change hands and rest as needed, but cannot put the dumbbell down. 

→ What this event assesses: Test of explosive power, work capacity, and Grip Strength.


Rest 3 Minutes before next event


(4) In-Place Dumbbell Lunges @ 30#, Max Reps 60 seconds
Protocol: Forward lunge only. Knee touch to full extension, feet together at top. Alternate feet each lunge. Each lunge counts as one rep.

→ What this event assesses: Lower body strength, strength endurance, and level change work capacity.


Rest 3 Minutes before next event


(5) Seated Military Press @30# DB’s, Max Reps in 60 Seconds
Dumbbells start touching shoulders to full elbow extension overhead. Max reps in 60 seconds. Athlete can put dumbbells down and rest if needed but effort stops at 60 seconds. 

→ What this event assesses: Upper body and overhead pressing strength and strength endurance.


Rest 3 Minutes before next event


(6) Sandbag Clean and Step Over – Max Reps in 5 min, 60# sandbag, 18″ Bench
Protocol: 60# sandbag, 18″ bench. The bag must touch the ground to start on either side of the bench. Alternate legs each rep when stepping up and over the bench. Max reps in 5 minutes.

→ What this event assesses: Test of total body strength, level change, work capacity and mental fitness.


Rest 5 Minutes before next event


(7) 10 Minute Step Ups for Reps, At SCBA Pack, 18” Bench
Protocol: Start exactly 5 minutes after finishing the Sandbag Clean and Step Overs. Go hard for 10 minutes, each step counts as one rep.

→ What this event assesses: Stamina, endurance, and level change.



Each rep of each exercise, except the step ups, counts as one rep. Divide the total step ups by 4 for test points.



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