Fire Fighter Preparation

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by OderusUrungus**, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. OderusUrungus**

    OderusUrungus** Banned Banned

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    Hi everybody. I'm looking into becoming a fire fighter and need to switch up my training regiment a bit. As of now I focus on mass and appearance. I need to make the conversion to endurance and stamina. Does anyone here currently serve as a fire fighter and have any tips for getting in shape? I'm 5'10", 160. I've got the strength aspect covered pretty good. Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    You get better advice when you give better information, so:

    (1) Why not start by looking up the fitness tests of the fire departments you might apply for. Post links.

    (2) List some of your lifts, like squat, bench, deadlift, and/or any other lift you focus on. What does your lifting routine look like currently?

    (3) What is your conditioning like currently? Like what do you do currently? And how well? For example, if you run, include distances and times of some of your better runs.

    Also, at 5'10" and 160lbs, I suspect that you'd benefit from added mass, and that you don't, in fact, have the strength aspect covered as well as you should.
     
  3. Endo

    Endo o hai!

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    I just applied a few days ago myself. Good luck.
     
  4. OderusUrungus**

    OderusUrungus** Banned Banned

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    I do a split, 3 days a week. I mix it up to keep from stagnating, but typically:
    Tuesday: Chest/shoulders/ biceps-I do different exercises for the smaller muscles, but I always do bench presses- I do about 60-80% of my max descending amount of reps per set. usually 8-6-4. for example, i'll do 175 8 times, 185 6 times, and 190 4 times.

    Friday: Legs I always do squats, lunges and run. I keep the weight somewhat low and the reps higher on squats because I have fucked up knees. I do the same pattern that I do for my chest ( descending set) Today I did 185 x12, 205 x10, 215 x8 and 225 x 6.

    Sunday: Back and Triceps. My go to back exercises are deadlifts and chinups. I almost always start with deadlifts, and I go pretty heavy, but not max. Again I do the descending reps, increased weight pattern. The most I've done is 300, for 2 reps on my fourth set. Chinups I just do in sets until failure.

    I rest a minute and half to two minutes between sets. Like I said I vary it to keep from plateuing. I've had really good results doing this, strength wise, and have gotten much, much bigger(i'm naturally a very skinny guy. i weighed about 120 upon graduating highschool).

    As for fitness specifics for the department, i'm not really sure. I know I have to have endurance and really good upper body strength. I'm assuming I'll need to be prepared to lift other human beings and carry them, kick open doors, handle high pressure hoses etc.

    I hope this helps you get a better idea what i'm working with. Thanks for the reply.
     
  5. OderusUrungus**

    OderusUrungus** Banned Banned

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    Thanks a lot, good luck to you too.
     
  6. Endo

    Endo o hai!

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    Thanks, I need it. Our economy in my county has been on a freeze for 2 years. I actually applied then and was then notified of the freeze beginning 3 days after I had applied, stating that they were not accepting new recruits even though we made it before the deadline. This time they opened it up for only 5 days. If you missed it, well, you're fucked. I made it on the 3rd day, so hopefully I don't get the shaft again. Only thing is I don't have my EMT certifications like some do. So, main thing is I need to make these guys look like a bunch of girls in the physical test, have the attitude they want and do everything in the safest manner possible at the same time, to even begin to have a chance in this sort of economy.

    What can I do besides train for everything correctly and give it my all?

    But back to what you're looking for from us:

    The US and Canada use a test program called the CPAT, which is a pretty rough test. I'm working on specifically training for the CPAT through strength and endurance training. However, training the way I will probably won't help you being that your on another continent completely. :icon_lol: On the FD's website there should be a applicant's guidebook or something that kind of lays out what's expected from you.

    You really need to find that so we can help you. Shots in the dark won't help you, and I say that with all honesty.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  7. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    You should read this thread, and consider the strength routines there.

    You should look into the Wendler 5/3/1, John christy 5/3/1, texas method

    As for conditioning, a combination of steady state, and interval work. Although if you haven't been doing and endurance work, just do steady state at first, and work up to including interval work. For example, finishing your lifting with prowler work, hill sprints or intervals on a rowing machine. And on most days you don't lift, running, cycling or swimming.

    But it's difficult to give specific advice without knowing the specific requirements. Which is why it's important to know what the fitness test is comprised of. It will give you specific goals to meet, and exceed, specific tests to train for, and an idea of what you need to work on the most. The details of the test should be on the departments website. If you can't find the test for a particular department, try looking for others in the same area. Chances are they're similar.
     
  8. OderusUrungus**

    OderusUrungus** Banned Banned

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    Thanks a lot for the advice. The test I will have to do is the CPAD. I watched some youtube videos of it and read the specifics. I don't think it will be much of a problem really. Just got to up the cardio. I hate to do so because I have trouble keeping weight on as it is.
     
  9. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    Do you mean CPAT test? Or something else? I tried looking up CPAD, but google found nothing related to fire fighter fitness testing.
     
  10. Endo

    Endo o hai!

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    It's probably the CPAT. It's harder than it looks, by a lot. I highly suggest training for it. The main battle is against fatigue, not time. I'm going to recommend the same plan that I have, and that's circuit training.

    I would also plan on training for a mile and a half for time. They normally do it with you and a partner, and you have to talk the whole time while you run.

    I am a pretty physically fit person all around, and certainly more so than most regular people, and I really think this is something you should train for. The more you train, the better you perform. The better you can perform against fatigue, the safer you can complete the test, the better your score will be. They look for your level of fatigue during the course to see what sort of shape you are in. Any doubts, and it will not be good.

    My brother-in-law is a fire fighter, his dad is a fire fighter, my friend is a fire fighter, and my other friend applied and didn't make it. So I have a pretty good insight on this test and what they're looking for.
     
  11. NoFrag

    NoFrag Banned Banned

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    Make sure you have some strong legs and VERY GOOD cardio. Strong core is a must too.

    Abs, back and legs must be very strong, so squats and deadlifts are mandatory.
     
  12. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    So assuming it's the CPAT test;

    (1) It would be a good idea to get a weighted vest, with the weight ranging from 50-75lbs. Since all of the testing is done with one, it would be a good idea to incorporate when reasonable.

    (2) Since the stair climb is one of the events, at least some of your cardio should be climbing/running stairs. Wearing the weighted vest if possible, working up to 75lbs. Also working around 3 minute intervals. Sometimes shorter harder intervals. Sometimes longer.

    (3) I think the hose drag & rescue events could be trained with sled work. Try and get access to a weight sled. Work on pulling it in ways similar to these two tests. If possible wear a 50lb weight vest during this, and work up to pulling a weight around 160lbs if not greater.

    (4) Farmer's walks to simulate the tool carry. Also while wearing a 50lb weighted vest. Although how much this is necessary depends on the weight of the tools (which would be good to know).

    (5) The forcible entry could be simulated by swinging a sledgehammer against a tire. You could do this with the weight vest, just to get a feel for it, but I don't think it's necessary to do so regularly. Swinging a sledgehammer can also be good conditioning. Although keep in mind this test measures power, not endurance.

    (6) I think the ceiling breach and pull would be hard to simulate for training purposes. But working chins and overhead presses hard should pay off. Also, before taking the test, use google, or ask someone who might know if there's a good technique to use.

    So this means, first, include stairclimbing at least some of the time as cardio, done on days you don't lift. Use sled drags, sledgehammer swings, and possibly farmer's walks as finishers on days you do lift. Follow a basic lifting program as mentioned earlier.

    Also keep in mind; some fitness tests are graded purely on a pass-fail basis. That means that someone who barely passes is just as good as someone who smokes it. But if it's not a pass-fail basis, then the test describes the bare minimum of what's required. I don't know of a firefighting example, so I'll use a police one: The Edmonton police physical used to have a requirment of 9 chin-ups for men, however to actually be competive and make it past the stage of the application process the minimum was more like 22. So being able to complete the physical may well just be the beginning.

    Also, eat more. Another 15-20lbs would make a big difference.
     
  13. gza

    gza Banned Banned

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    @ Tosa,

    are you affiliated with Edmonton Police Service?
     
  14. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    No. Although I've thought about becoming a police officer, so I'm familar with the requirements of the departments I might apply to.
     
  15. dogmai

    dogmai Orange Belt

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    I'm sorry ... did you say the CPAT is a "pretty rough test"? I'm just not sure I read that correctly ...

    Apparently I did ... If you think the CPAT is pretty rough, then you've got a long way to go my friend. I'm not trying to be mean, I'm being god-awful honest. The CPAT is, in my opinion, a joke. However, it serves it's purpose ... a base-level fitness test standardized so departments and districts need not spend the time nor man-power holding their own.

    You are allowed to take a practice day, so if the CPAT is worrying you that much DO IT! You'll know right away whether you can pass it or not, and what you're weak on. Most folks I know struggle on the stair portion. So, get at least a 75# weight vest and hit the stair-mill, or find a high-rise in your town and hit their stair-well, or go to the Lyon Street stairs in SF or Baker Beach in SF. Keep your balance and go, hold dumbbells too to add the blood rushing to your arms and make it harder, simulate carrying tools and shit up those stairs, just make it harder than the CPAT and the CPAT won't be shit.

    The hose drag is the only portion you can run, so fucking run, it's only like 50 feet or something, start making friends in the Fire Service and get yourself some decommissioned hose, I've got two sticks of 2.5inch, you can attach a weight to the end to simulate more length. Sprint 100 feet with that shit then drag it to you, once done fucking do it again. Oh yeah, keep wearing that vest too. Want to make it more interesting? Like I said, make them friends in the fire service and get yourself a SCBA mask and wear that shit while you do this (not attached to an air tank), limit your available oxygen. Don't have access to an old BA mask? Use a snorkel (Wanderlei Silva anyone?) If you use a tire or someshit to simulate the drag, keep dumbbells at the end and do those pushup row things until you can't anymore, then get up and pull the fucking tire again. That fire isn't going to wait for you to catch your fucking breath, so don't.

    Are you afraid of the dark? Get disoriented when you can't see? work on that shit. A lot of people panic in the confined space portion, even though it's shaped like a U. Two right turns and you're done. Close your eyes and crawl from your front door to the farthest point in the house, using the wall as a landmark ... oh, too hard? too much shit in your way? welcome to search and rescue. Learn how to orient yourself by feel so you don't get lost in a U shaped box ....

    The dummy drag can be awkward for people. It's different than dragging a sled, you don't get to put your body in that nice powerful position and go. You can grab on with two hands and drag backwards or you can grab with one a go forwards. If you've got a training partner drag each other backwards not by bear hugging them under their arms but keeping your arms locked at 90degree angle like you're about to do a *cough* a curl, and drag them that way and they mustn't help you. Otherwise get a harness of sorts, use a heavybag, attach extra weight somehow and pull it with one arm going forward. Assuming you don't have the 600+ dollars for a weighted mannequin.

    Sprint your ass off. Fuck long distance cardio. It won't do shit for you as a firefighter. Fighting a fire is like an all out sprint, not a slow cool jog. Sprint hills, sprint straights, sprint til you puke, and sprint some more.

    Now that you have a goal, all this training here is nothing. When you try to convince yourself to quit while you're crawling up that seventh flight of stairs with 75+ pounds addition to your body, or when your on the verge of puking sprinting up that hill, or when body is so tired all you want to do is sleep while you're dragging hose, remind yourself why you're there .... why you're doing this.
     
  16. gza

    gza Banned Banned

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    i think AB would be a god-awful place to apply, although it is my backup if Abbotsford doesn't like me.
     
  17. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    Considering I'm already living in Edmonton, it'd make sense that if I were to apply to become a police officer (or most any other job for that matter) I'd apply in Edmonton first. Also, up until they changed the fitness test, Edmonton had the most difficult police fitness test in Canada (in part because they include the RCMP fitness test in addition to their own), if not North America. So if you were competive with that test, you'd probably smoke any other test.
     
  18. Keyboard

    Keyboard Yellow Belt

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    Totally agree. If you think the CPAT is hard, you haven't prepared worth shit. The hardest part of the test is all the technicalities in it, like having to pick up one saw at a time from the cabinet, putting it on the floor, and then running. Or how about not letting the ladder halyard slip from your hands, which will result in an automatic fail. If it is the CPAT you are doing, make sure you read the rules, know them, because the instructors are going to assume you know how to do it. With that said, the above training advice is great, if you follow it you will kick the CPAT's ass. Honestly, it's a joke, the hardest part aside from the rules, is probably the stair climb, and I don't even want to call that "hard". If you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask.

    P.S. I am not a Fire Fighter, currently trying to get on in my city, so I've done the 2 fitness tests required, which is where my experience comes from.
     
  19. Barut

    Barut Banned Banned

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    How to be a firefighter:

    A:
    1. Learn to master the hulahoop squat
    2. Make sure that all of your romantic interests are dykes
    3. Train your solo football muscles
    4. Sprinkle in the occaisional alcohol related arrest

    B:
    1. Eat Paleo, not Xtrainer Paleo, real motherfucking Paleo
    2. Be pretty old
     
  20. Black Dog**

    Black Dog** Banned Banned

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    My buddy just got started looking into one of the big fire departments around here. There's a slew of shit they have to do in the physical test (I'll post the events on the course so you can see what he's gonna have to do. Your physical test might be different), and his g/f's dad runs the department or something, so he's going to get to do a dry run to practice. It was a lot of strongman-ish stuff. Carrying heavy shit up and down stairs without setting it down until a task was completed, etc.

    So your answer is to date the chief's daughter.
     

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