Hello, I'm new to the fire service and I've been training for the past 7 months, and have almost completed the FF2 practical portion at the local college, and start my volunteer academy in September.
I've always been in pretty good shape, but I'll call it "gym" shape. I've always been pretty sub=par in the cardio portion. During drill I'm one of the strongest, but even as hartd as I've been working my cardio doesn't seem up to par with some of my younger classmates (I'm 28). I did a CPAT here last month and got a 7:47, which I believe is pretty good, but the problem I'm having is just plain breathing too hard.
I seem to run out of the air too quickly on the bottle, and plain just use too much air when exercising. We did an agility at school on air a couple weeks back (it was 101 degrees), and the low air alarm went off on my high pressure 30 minute bottle in about 8 minutes.
Question is: How should I be training to gain maximum cardio endurance? I dislike running, but I can climb stairs all day, and like to work out super hard with full body exercises. Then I do 20-40 minutes on a stair climber or stepper.
Thanks for any advice. :)
To improve your cardio endurance you need to.. well... do more cardio.
You basically want to get your heart rate at about 70% max (roughly 220-age) for 30-60 minutes. If you are currently doing cardio but aren't seeing an improvement in your endurance it could be that the duration or intensity aren't high enough.
You can also switch your weight-training workouts from high-weight/short reps to medium-weight/high reps to improve individual muscle endurance. Instead of benching 200lbs 8 times do 180lbs 12 times, for example.
Right, that's what I need to know. I already do high intensity workouts (reps from 12-30), back-to-back, pyramids, etc. What I want to know is it better to do 20 minutes cardio every day, short and intense, or like 60 minutes of steady every other day? Or does it even matter?
I have been improving a lot the past few months, I just wanted to maximize the time I spend training so I'm ready for a career academy.
I'd do 15-20 min of cardio to warm up on your weight lifting days. For cardio days I'd do 60 min of low/moderate intensity.
Originally Posted by GaiusPaul
Make sure you incorporate rest/recovery days into your plan. You need to give your muscles time to rebuild or you're not going to see as much improvement as you expect.
Great, thanks for the recommendation. I'll be sure to work it in. I take it easy on Thursdays (have class) and take Fridays off, and depending on how tough drill is on Saturday, I'll go for a hike or work out.
Here are three web sites with alternatives to traditional gym workouts. I have been doing the mountain athlete workouts for a couple of months and feel alot stronger on the fire ground.
The gym jones (MArk Twight) is the guy who trained the actors for the movie 300. There are a bunch of youtube videos about the specific workout called 300. It is a good goal to shoot for and I feel it carries over well the fire service.
http://www.gymjones.com/knowledge.php workouts are found schedule
http://youtube.com/watch?v=G0ETHPvJzMQ 300 workout/test
Some areas I'm always working on are breathing control. Getting used to exerting alot of energy while conducting strenous tasks.
Everytime I PT, my breathing mimics as if were hooked up on air.
I began practicing this idea when I bought a high speed PT book that incorprated swimming. For instance, take the freestyle stroke:
1st week: 3 strokes (right arm, left arm, right arm, and then breathe)
3rd week: 5 strokes (ra, la, ra, la, ra, and then breathe)
5th week: 8 strokes (ra,la,ra,la,ra,la,ra,la, and then breathe)
Times and distance increase as well. After consistent training the body adapts as usual with no problems.
Obviously, everyone is different but my training always begins with breathe control (slower breathes/harder work). Think about it, if your body is used to breathing hard whenever you exert energy, then thats exactly what it's going to do when you go on air.
"The more you sweat in training, the less you Bleed in War!"
Important: The books emphasizes not to begin this training by yourself or jump into an advanced stage of this program without having someone present whenever you train just in case you pass out!