Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Exercise and Sport Science

First Advisor

James M. Larkin

Department Affiliation

Exercise and Sport Science

Second Advisor

Michael T. Lane

Department Affiliation

Exercise and Sport Science

Third Advisor

Paul J. Grant

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management


Introduction: The leading cause of on duty death of firefighters is sudden cardiac events. Current research has shown the effects of fire physical training programs on firefighters, but has not researched fire specific physical training programs for the fire science major population. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a six-week functional program on fitness and body composition of fire science majors. Methods: Fire science college students (N = 16) volunteered to take part in a six-week fire specific fitness program. The subjects that fully completed the study (N = 12) were randomly assigned to a control group (CG; n=6) or an exercise group (EG; n=6). Both groups underwent pre and post testing prior to and following the six-week training period. Subjects performed a battery of fitness tests which included: one-mile run, body fat percentage, height, weight, waist and hip circumference, push-up, sit-up, flexed-arm hang, and a fire specific physical performance test. The CG was asked to resume their usual fitness and nutrition regimen. The EG participated in the six-week, four-day per week training program. Results: Age (yr.), EG: 21.8 + 3.5; CG: 22.2 + 4.5; Height (in.), EG: 72.0 + 5.5; CG: 71.6 + 3.1; Weight (lbs.), EG: 203.8 + 40.1; CG: 170.1 + 21.8. The EG showed a greater percent change than the CG in body weight, body fat percentage, the one-mile run, the stair climb, and the push-up tests. No significant differences were found for any of the tests. Discussion: The results suggest that the low sample size was a major limitation in this study. Although no significant differences were found for the battery of tests, beneficial trends were shown in the percent changes in comparison of EG to CG from pretest to posttest. With a greater sample size, potential improvements from fire specific training could be revealed.