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A rigorous new fitness class is being offered through the village of Orland Park as of March 11, specifically designed for firefighters to get them in top shape so they can better handle the substantial physical challenges of their job.
The class will be held at the Orland Park Sportsplex from 7 to 7:55 p.m. every Tuesday through May 6. There will be no class on March 25. The class is for ages 18 and up and will have a limit of 10 per class.
The class is not only for current firefighters but also for those looking to become a firefighter. The class provides strength and conditioning, mobility training, core training, TRX Suspension training and functional fitness training.
It was developed by Adam Hoornaert, an Orland Park resident and Sandburg High School graduate who attended Moraine Valley Community College, where he played two years of baseball. He finished his academic career at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, earning a bachelor's degree in Sport and Exercise Studies.
Catching up with Hoornaert is a challenge. He's a personal trainer at the Sportsplex, a baseball coach for the village of Romeoville, a trainer for the Future Stars Baseball Academy in Mokena and coaches the 13U Orland Park Magic baseball team. Pepper in some other personal training, and he's always on the run.
Hoornaert said he developed the firefighter fitness class based on the fitness program he has conducted during the past 18 months with firefighters in Romeoville.
After seeing success with the Romeoville class, Hoornaert said he presented it to Deborah Geghen, the Sportsplex's fitness manager, who agreed to place it in the sport center's schedule.
The class consists of general and specific physical preparation geared toward firefighting, beginning with mobility and stability warm-up drills and a static, stretching cool-down. The workouts focus on general and specific strength training, high intensity interval training and general cardiovascular training, Hoornaert said.
Firefighters need to be able to respond ably to fires and other emergency situations, and the gear they wear while battling a fire can weigh upward of 40 pounds. Add to that the equipment necessary to fight a fire or perform life-saving duties, and it's clear that staying in good physical shape is key to being able to do the job well.
Hoornaert said the class also has TRX suspension training, a system using bands that allows for a wide range of body weight exercises to be performed in a minimal amount of space with minimal equipment.
"The ultimate goal of this class is to improve work capacity as it relates to firefighting," he said. "This will allow for better job performance, better safety on the job and also lower some of the risks, acute and chronic, that occur from years of working as a firefighter."
What about after the class ends?
Hoornaert said the firefighters "will have the option of having a program written out for them that can help them stay on track and allow them to optimize their program when they are not in class."
For more information, visit Orland Park's website at www.orland-park.il.us.