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Thread: Firefighter Fitness Help

  1. #1
    Wannabebig New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Washington, DC

    Firefighter Fitness Help

    Hello everyone,

    I've been reading the forum for a couple months but just registered today. I have a multi-part question so I apologize for the length of my first post.

    For some background, I am a firefighter/paramedic recruit and am preparing for the CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) for a local area. The CPAT is an timed test (max of 10 mins 20 seconds) with 8 stations all performed in a 50lb weight vest and timed continuously.
    The CPAT stations in order are: Stair Climb (3 minutes 60 steps per minute, with 25lbs added weight)
    100ft hose drag
    70ft Equipment carry (40lb farmers walk)
    Ladder raise and extension
    Forced Entry (10lb sledge hammer with horizontal swings to a pressure sensor)
    Search (crawling/prone in a completely dark 'maze')
    Rescue (170lb manikin drag for 70ft)
    Ceiling breach and Pull (with a metal pike, 4 sets of 3 pushes up on a weighted flap and 5 pulls down on a weighted flap)

    The test date is December 14th, giving me just under 1 month before the test which is the last step in the hiring process. Knowing that this is my chosen career, I've been preparing for this test for quite sometime now, and have passed it for other jurisdictions and in practice sessions.

    I have bee running the program Starting Strength for approximately 3 months and have made satisfactory progress with this plan, and want to continue it after my test date. However I need to be at the 2 hour CPAT conditioning sessions (generally running, weightlifting machines, and circuits of bodyweight exercises) Monday ad Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

    I found that deadlifting has been too intensive on my lower back to recover in time for all the condition sessions, and while i can still manage through all the sessions, it just gives off the impressions of being whiney and out of shape, which is something i want to avoid as these people will be my peers and bosses for the duration of my career.

    I guess my questions are, how would you all recommend I work strength training around the conditioning sessions?
    I've been tempted to decrease my lifting to two days a week, and place them on Thursday morning and Saturday evening as this should give me the longest recover time.
    Should I completely drop deadlifts from my routine until after my test date?
    Is there an exercise you would recommend in place of deads for the time being? potentially RDLs?
    Also I was planning on giving myself an entire week without lifting leading into the testing session so that I could go in completely fresh.

    Also just for reference, I am 23 years old approx. 200lbs, 3x5x210 bench, 3x5x270 squat, 1x5x365 deads.

    Also if this is the wrong place for this post please let me know.

    Thanks already for all the help

  2. #2
    OVERCOME krazylarry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Bx, NY
    I passed the CPAT couple years ago for the FDNY, in under 8 minutes I think. First time trying it with no practice. I say that to show you it's not very hard. Keep your lifting the same. Just add in walking stairs with a 50 lbs weight vest, as much as you can. If you can do it 7 days a week do it. Stairs with a vest is all you need. Just don't fail by doing something stupid like drop the ladder.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Meat_Head's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    From the advice of my brother, who is a firefighter and recently a paramedic, it's ALL about endurance.

    Do you need some strength?

    Of course. You should try to be as strong as possible. But strength takes the back seat in this arena. If you can't keep up physical exertion for 5, 10, 15 minutes straight, you will fail.

    Endurance endurance endurance.

    The average male has the "strength" to complete these tests. The average male does not have the endurance. Work on that. Carry heavy sandbags. Run. Swing sledgehammers. Do farmer's walks.

    If you're talking about weights, work on deadlifts for 20 reps, etc. The last thing you want to do is get caught up in low rep weightlifting. It will not suit your needs.

  4. #4
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    The fitness best to the exercise go to the gym daily and running is also very important role to the fitness, swimming is another good factor to the fit looking, i also go to the gym daily and exercise and also go to the running early in the morning and my body is perfect and fit.

  5. #5
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Charlottesville, VA
    Contact Scott through his CrossFit affiliate:

    He has placed I believe third in the Firefighter Combat Challenge and he has been a firefighter for many years. He will be able to tell you exactly what to do.

  6. #6
    Wannabebig New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Washington, DC
    I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice. I passed my test and start the academy in 1 months time!
    Ill also definitely talk to Scott and see if he will give me any tips for the training academy.

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