Performance enhancement and injury prevention are the goals of all elite athletes. Enhancement allows us to just plain be better, bigger, stronger, and faster. In the case of firefighters, it allows them to be more effective in saving more lives. Injury prevention allows a person to do the job (or sport) without injuring themselves or others.
Firefighters are elite athletes. They show up, at the toughest of times, when the chips are down, to save lives. They dig deep into their hearts to make the difference that may save the life of our loved ones. They need to be strong, and perform at peak levels to help people to the best of their ability. Further, they need to do this while preserving their health and physical integrity. This allows them to do the same the next week and save our precious parents and children! The CPAT exam process is used to weed out the people who are not yet ready or able to train to do the job. It is a proven set of tasks that emulate the bare minimum required on the job. For details on more events and exercises, Click Here
The job of the firefighter is often performed by very big and very strong people. Many do a great job as it is. Big people, imagine this: instead of carrying one adult out of that burning building, what if the big and strong person was even stronger, and could carry two (small) people out at the same time? Or had the stamina and VO2 max to go back in and get another rather than pant on the sidewalk when they are done with the first one? Big strong people are important, and can be made even bigger and even stronger with job specific training. After all, why settle for mediocrity when greatness awaits?
This job of firefighter carries a huge responsibility. The heart, passion, and mental toughness it takes does not always come in the biggest packages. Sometimes we are blessed with the burning desire, the brains, but not the brawn. The smaller firefighter can fit into the small places, and use sports specific training to get the job done safely. Again: "Why settle for mediocrity when greatness awaits?"
Unfortunately, many firefighters who are in service have allowed their fitness to wane. They have become what is termed deconditioned athletes. This can lead to many types of work and recreational related injuries. It's not a matter of how they look: looks can be deceiving. It's a matter of how the musculature (and other soft tissue) supports the bones. Their interrelated function determines how well and how safely a person can perform a given set of tasks.
I have worked with injuries (treatment, rehab and prevention) since I was 18 - that's 20 years. If you read this and you do not yet have an injury, and you ignore this and do nothing, that will be very sad. You could get injured! You might cheat the children out of your potential. Get on with it...step on to the next place. It's yours. Take it. Share yourself. Do what you know is right.
I have read and referenced one book dozens of times over the years. The book was called Jumping into Plyometrics, written by a man named Donald A. Chu, PhD. He wrote: "Plyometrics is exercise designed to enhance the athlete's ability to blend speed and strength training...can start quicker, change direction, more rapidly, accelerate faster, and improve overall speed...Plyometrics is defined as exercises that enable the muscle to reach maximum strength in as short a time as possible... known as power". His book is amazing, and his knowledge and writings are something you should reference, if not now, than during your life. I have used as a basis for building weight training tailored to do the very same: maximize power and explosive strength in the least amount of time possible... safely.