Ergonomics SA

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Association between physical fitness and job performance in fire-fighters

C Schmidt, A Mckune


The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between physical fitness measures and job performance in fire-fighters. Forty-eight experienced, professional fire-fighters (29 ± 5.8 years) participated in fitness and job performance testing sessions each spaced a week apart. Analysis was performed using Pearson moment correlation coefficients and multiple linear regression with alpha set at p≤.05. Significant correlations (p≤.01) were found between a job performance task (Revised Grinder) and the following: lean muscle mass (r = -.69), overall fitness (r = -.62), height (r = -.62), strength endurance: deadlift (r = -.54), bent-over row (r = -.51), bench press (r = -.51), shoulder press (r = -.46); maximal strength: hand grip strength (r = -.57), bench press (r = -.51), anaerobic capacity: 400m (r = .50), and aerobic capacity: multistage shuttle run (r = -.46). Multiple linear regression determined that lean muscle mass and aerobic capacity account for 82% of the variation in the job performance task. Conclusion: Firefighting taxes virtually all aspects of physical fitness. These data help the exercise specialist choose appropriate tests to assess fire-fighters and new recruits, as well as prescribe specific fitness programs for fire-fighters.

Keywords: physical fitness, job performance, fitness program, lean muscle mass, aerobic capacity

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