Fitness Training Tools for First Responders

Leah O'Daniel

Fitness Training Tools for First Responders

Short on time and space? Do you need to squeeze in workoutsbetween shifts or calls?

You don’t need a ton of fancy, expensive equipment toachieve fitness goals. Perfect for all the heroic first responders that workdiligently to serve, protect, and provide. These seven options are greatadditions to any existing gym or for those looking to start one. All optionscan be easily stored away or transported from home to work.

Having a whole gym set up isn’t always possible, and neitheris finding the extra time at the end of a shift to go to a gym. But it is still100% possible to maintain fitness routines and hit your goals with theright tools.

Suspension Trainer

There are several different varieties of these circulating.Arguably, one of the most popular being the TRX Suspension System. Available atmost retailers and Amazon, the average cost is between $100-$200. A littlepricey but as a one-time purchase and the versatility, worth the investment.

Suspension trainers are easily adaptable for indoor oroutdoor use with anchors for both types of set up. Most brands come with aportable bag for easy transport, too. Perfect for all fitness levels as thesystem uses bodyweight that is easily modified by simple foot placement (formost). A great way to quickly squeeze in a whole-body workout with enoughadaptability to keep your workouts fresh every time.

Resistance Bands

A typical set of these is relatively cheap, coming in at$25-$50 depending on size. Options range from resistance bands with handles,looped bands, or thinner, wider ones like you might see used for physicaltherapy. All have great utility, though.

Longer, more substantial duty resistance bands sets aregreat for using as aids for movements like assisted pullups or for creatingmore resistance with items you may already have like a barbell, kettlebell, oreven plate weight. Short looped bands are excellent for mobility movements orstretching. Heavier bands are also great for adding smaller amounts ofresistance to bodyweight moves like squats.

Like suspension trainers, resistance bands are portable,lightweight, versatile, and perfect for quick workouts when you’re short ontime. Bonus for resistance bands is the option to aid in stretching musclesthat often get tight over time, like in the upper chest and back.

Foam Roller

Again, a versatile and portable option to add to yourtraining arsenal. Readily available at most retailers for $10 or less, foamrollers come in a variety of sizes with a few different options. The mostcommon is a medium density foam roller. Another option is a trigger point foamroller with high-density foam that is textured.

Suspension trainers and resistance bands are great options forcreating proprioception (the way your body addresses dynamic posture) forroutine workouts, balance, core stability, or as a prop for moves like pushupsor planks. Foam rollers, especially those with trigger points, are excellentfor self-myofascial release of harder to reach muscles.

Weight Vest

Available with several different options for adjustableweight, full torso coverage, or less. This training tool fits over theshoulders and is an excellent tool for adding resistance to any activity. Typicalcost varies based upon style and weight but starts around $30.


Perhaps the most versatile of all gym equipment, thekettlebell is an excellent addition to any portable gym. Excellent for strengthtraining and metabolic conditioning. Kettlebells are easy to transport and storeaway when not in use because of their size.

Kettlebells can be adapted for all fitness levels andincorporated into nearly every type of routine. They are excellent forposterior chain development, and smaller ones are incredibly effective for stabilitywork like the shoulders. Kettlebells are excellent for farmer carries, squats,deadlifts, overhead press, and a variety of Olympic lifts too.

Agility Ladder

Lightweight, portable, and easy to store, coming in at lessthan $20 for a nylon rope agility ladder, these are a great addition to anypersonal gym. Agility ladders can fit in nearly any space with a flat surface.Training for speed and reactiveness or just plain spicing up a quick cardiocircuit. All fitness levels can use an agility ladder, too.


This option is not as versatile or adaptable as most of theothers listed here. But these are small, portable, and relatively cost-effective.Available at most retailers for around $10. Ab wheels are perfect for adding alittle extra to a core routine.

The ab-wheel is easy to adjust to meet your current fitnesslevel. An ab rollout with this wheel can be performed at an intermediate level witha full-body implementation, extending the legs out or a more beginning friendlyversion with bent knees.

Consider adding these portable training tools to your dufflebag for the next shift. Remember to check back here for more in this firstresponder series.