11-28-2008, 04:03 AM #1
- Join Date
- Jul 2008
- The abyss of a medic rig in Solano County ---> Bay Area.
Weight vest conditioning for CPAT
I bought a 50 lbs with an added 30 V-Max weight vest and it came with diagrams of basic workouts. I walked about two miles every other day for two weeks with small increments of weight added during this time. However, I was wondering if someone is using it to condition the body in preparation for the CPAT. I already passed the pack test for the academy, I just want to continue practicing with this vest for the CPAT. I tried the search tool, and came across many pages, but no solid answers, or regimes. Also, out of all the normal conditioning and exercises that exist for the CPAT, which one has given you the best results? Is there a website that a fellow brother has accumulated, which will benefit conditioning for the CPAT along with the help of the weight vest?Fire to be hired
01-11-2009, 11:36 PM #2
I recommend hitting the stairs with that vest. My local community college football stadium seating has a great set of stairs to climb as i train with a vest too.
On other days run to build endurance. 3-5 miles.
weight lifting, but dont wait longer than 40 seconds in between sets as u want to also build muscle endurance.
01-12-2009, 03:06 AM #3
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
On a fixed number of stairs count how many times you can get up and down in five minutes with full weight and try to increase it each week. Run plenty and lift plenty. You should smoke the CPAT.
01-12-2009, 10:43 AM #4
If there is a local gym with a StairMaster StepMill it would help you a lot. That seems to be the hardest part of CPAT for most people and it takes a bit to balance on moving stairs. I trained until 5 minutes with 70lbs didn't kick my tail. You'll need some gas in the tank for the other events but if you have moderate upper body strength you'll do fine.
As far as routines specific for CPAT I don't know of any that are popular. Supersets would help though. I'd suggest a total body workout a couple times a week in addition to your cardio and time on the StairMaster. Do some light weights and move quickly in between exercises. Rest less than a minute in between sets. You don't need to try to lift the world right now just make sure your core is solid and your stamina is up.
Last edited by hefightsfire99; 01-12-2009 at 10:46 AM."...When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you." Isaiah 43:2
01-12-2009, 11:38 PM #5
Try to find a parking garage with at least 4 or 5 levels. Most parking garages have stairwells on all 4 corners as emergency exits. It's just like running up the tower at a fire academy. I word of advice, plan on doing this when there are not a lot of people around to get in your way. I do this early Saturday mornings.
I too use a weight vest , but I also carry a 50 foot section of 2 1/2" hose on my shoulder as I run up the 5 stories. If you are not with a department, go to your local fire station and ask if they have any out of service 50 foot sections of 2 1/2" hose that you could borrow. Tie it up high-rise style, throw it on your shoulder and poof...as close as you can get to a real CPAT event!
Believe me, hauling the hose up the stairs will make a significant difference than just running up the stairs with the weight vest alone. I started doing this about 2 months before my CPAT for fire academy and it helped out a lot.
01-29-2009, 04:42 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
Remember what you are training for...!!!
You may find yourself in a world of hurt if you traing to the CPAT. I trained to a level where I smoked throught the cpat in 7:50. However when PT really got cranked up during the academy I really struggled to keep up. We would do hour to hour and a half PT sessions. We did stuff like the following;
quarterdecking-a combination of sprints, push ups, leg lifts, planks, prisoner squats, and stadium steps. we would do a mile and a half to 2 mile warmup run followed by rapid sequence through the calisthenics for an hour at a time with 2 or three 90 second water breaks.
Stairs-we had 2 fifteen story building we would use and we would go up and down for the hour, we would also take turns with a 50 lb vest, and EMS equipment like the cardiac moniter, oxygen/airway bag. We would do this for a full hour.
running-we would run between 3 and 8 miles typically 5 miles, stopping every couple block to do pushups or lyg lifts. the worst of these was we would run to a huge hill about a half mile away and run up it and to 25 pushups runback down and do 25 push ups and repeat 5 times
firefighter games (in full turnouts and scba)-flip a tractor tire 5 times, drag it 40 feet, hang on a pullup bar for 30 seconds, chop on a stump with a sledgehammer 25 times with each hand, carry a high rise pack up and down the tower 3 times, 25 push ups, carry a hurst tool 50 feet up a hill and back down, drag a charged 3" utility line 25', 25 thrusters. Do 5 cycles through the circuit.
It is very demanding, and at 5 days a week you need to have good stamina and know how to push through when you are hurting, because you will hurt!
good luck with your training!
02-04-2009, 08:33 PM #7
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
training for the academy
Ordered my vest yesterday. I haven't even passed the written yet (mid feb) but I want to be ready so I have been doing a workout routing for the last 6 weeks. Lots of stair steps, push-ups, pull-ups, weights and jump rope. I hope that the addition of the 50lb vest helps prepare me for the weight. If I get through all the testing Im looking at academy late summer I think, could be off a little on that.
Im looking forward to it whether this year or next, or whenever Ill be ready. Now back to the studying and training, oh yeah and work and everything else life throws at you
02-16-2009, 11:45 AM #8
- Join Date
- Feb 2009
My wife got me the VMAX weight vest. And our 24hr Fitness has the same type of Stairstepper that the CPAT uses.
When i'm getting ready to take a CPAT test for a department's test, I get everything set up before hand. I get (2) 35 lbs plates, (1) 20 lbs preloaded weight bar, and (1) 40 lbs preloaded weight bar and (1) 100 lbs dumbell. I put 50 lbs in the vest and carry 2 12.5 dumbells on my shoulders. Its a little awkward juggling those and starting the machine.
Level 5 on the machine is the warm-up for 20 seconds, then level 6 is at 60 steps a minute. I step for the required 3 minutes, then stop and get down. I walk over to where I have my equipment set up.
I drop the 12.5 dbs and walk down and back about 35 feet.
I pick up the 20lb barbell and jog down and back. When I get to the starting point, I stop, turn and drop to 1 knee and "row" the barbell abt 8 times to stimulate the dragging of the hose. I then get up and walk the 35 feet down and back.
I grab the 35lbs plates and carry them down and back. Put them down and walk 35 feet.
I pick up the 35 lbs plates again, except this time I put them on top of one another. I hold them at arms length in front of me and walk forward. The more steps I take, I raise them until they are straight over head. Walk back and put them down. I grab the 40 lbs barbell and hold it at the bar. I try and keep the barbell in one place and just move my hands in a fist over fist manner. Like 2 baseballs teams decide who bats first. Up once and down once. Put that down and walk.
Then I grab the 20 lbs barbell and chop 10 times with it. put it down and walk.
I go down to all fours and crawl out. I make 2 right hand turns and am mback where I started. Get up and walk.
I grab the 100lb db and start walking backwards with it. after abt 20 steps, I change direction and head back. Put the db down and walk.
I grab the 20 lbs barbell and start pushing and pulling upwards with it.
Ive passed the CPAT using this routine, it doesnt work for everyone, but it does for me.
02-17-2009, 05:40 PM #9
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
- Pleasanton, CA
Here's a road map regarding weight vest training....
hefightsfire99 has a point: super setting high weight, low rep (6-8) task specific intervals is a very good method when training with weights... when added to Step Mill training with a weight vest, it gets great results.
Please remember that the CPAT is no where near as hard as the academy or the job....
Step Mill Training for the CPAT
No matter how hard you train for the stair climb, your legs will feel like rubber when you're through. The time it takes to recover from this depends on your fitness level and your V02 Max. VO2 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can process in order to feed your muscles to do work. In tests like the CPAT, if your VO2 Max is not high enough, you simply fail. Your legs may give out, or worse, you may become injured.
To avoid these pitfalls, you must train properly!
Gradually pushing up your limits over time can allow your body to compensate a little bit each time. This allows your heart and lungs to get stronger each time, thus preparing you for more, harder work the next time.
This is an event that is really easy to train for. You simply need a road-map of how much weight to use when, and a plan of how to safely increase resistance and duration. You really do need a weight vest for this. They are sold at weightvest.com.
Remember that training on the step mill is only part of the training process necessary for training for the CPat. Your legs need to be trained with medium to heavy weights. This step mill training plan is only a very small part of the bigger picture. If all you do for your legs is this training plan, you will probably fail the CPat.
Warning! Many people train with a back pack full of sand, or by carrying a weight plate. Don't do this! It changes the biomechanics, and puts your spine at risk! It causes small amounts of injury each time you do it. This adds up, and will cause you problems in the future. As you age, you are much more likely to hurt your back. These sorts of injury are often career changing, if not career ending! Use a weight vest!
Another Warning! See your physician before beginning any exercise program! If at any time, you feel dizzy, sick, or sore for more than 48 hours in one particular area, stop doing the offending exercise! Ask your doctorís opinion! Remember that no everyoneís body is intended for these uses!
Watch your Achilles tendons!
Make sure when you step up onto that next step each time, that your feet hit the step in this order: heel-ball-toe, then push-off. Do not do this training on the balls of your feet, or with your heels hanging of the stairs as you step. This will lead to injury of your Achilles tendon(s).
Special Cases: Big feet or no Step Mill
Remember, there are cases when some people cannot train on a step mill, but must use something to simulate it. These limitations might be: your feet are too big for the millís steps or lack of equipment.
In either case, I recommend a step used for aerobics or a stair at home. The step should be should be 8-9 inches high. This means you will have to step up, up, then back down off the back: down, down. Get your whole foot on the step (or on the floor) with each up and down. No heels should hang off. Going up, it will go heel-ball-toe and coming down it will go toe-ball-heel. Change your lead leg each 30 seconds of step training to avoid Achilles stress. Remember, you would count an up-up, then down-down, as one step. You must do 60 of those per minute.
I do not recommend using a tall building unless itís tall enough to keep walking steadily up stairs for 6 minutes without stopping. In other words, donít choose a place where you have to walk up 2 flights, then walk back down again before you can walk back up. This will do 2 things: 1. it will give your heart rate a chance to slow, thus not training you well. 2. Walking down stairs is not good for your knees. Even if they are young and healthy, why do it? Especially training? You should save those knees for coming down the stairs of a burning building once you have a job- with a person in your arms!
Step Depth and foot size on test day:
If your feet are too large for the step mill used in the test, thatís a tough one. You should still not train on the step mill. Use the up and back down off the back method mentioned above. Two days a week after your step training, do some calf raises: start off with 2 sets and work up to 5 sets of 8. Stretch the calf, and the Achilles tendon. That is, do a calf stretch with your knee locked for 30 seconds, then with it slightly bent, foot still flat to the floor for 30 more seconds. This should prep your calves for the actual test without hurting you.
So whatís the Plan?
Hereís a plan for you to use. It will take you 11 (plus) weeks to get through it. Train a day on the step mill, and lift weights with your upper body on other indicated days. One thing I would avoid, though, is weight training for your traps specifically during this time. So: donít do shrugs or upright rows. The weight vest is tough enough on them. I say strongly: some people might also like to lift with their legs stepping days, but itís too much to cover here.
This workout is longer than you will be required to do for the step mill on test day. This will make test day easier, plus make you more than ready for the additional demands of test day! For more information on what is expected on test day, read here: http://www.fireagility.com/index.php
Make sure you warm up 5 minutes easy on the stationary bike, and stretch after wards- especially your calves!
Weight Vest Pounds Time: minutes Steps/minute
Day 1 10- 2- 60
Day 2 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 3 15- 2.5- 60
Day 4 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 5 15- 3- 60
Day 6 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 7 15- 3.5- 60
Day 8 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 9 20- 3.5- 60
Day 10 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 11 Rest Entire Day
Day 12 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 13 20 - 4- 60
Day 14 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 15 20 min . other Form of cardio Run, swim, bike
Day 16 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 17 25- 4- 60
Day 18 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 19 Rest Entire Day
Day 20 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 21 30- 4- 60
Day 22 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 23 35- 4- 60
Day 24 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 25 35 - 4.5 -60
Day 26 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 27 Rest Entire Day
Day 28 35- 4.5- 60
Day 29 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 30 35 -5 -60
Day 31 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 32 40- 5- 60
Day 33 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 34 20 min. other Form of cardio Run, swim, bike
Day 35 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 36 45- 5- 60
Day 37 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 38 Rest Entire Day
Day 39 45- 5.5- 60
Self evaluation: How do I feel? Neck? Knees? Back?
Day 40 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 41 45 - 6- 60
Day 42 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 43 20 min. other Form of cardio Run, swim, bike
Day 44 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 45 50- 5.5- 60
Day 46 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 47 20 min. other Form of cardio Run, swim, bike
Day 48 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 49 50- 6- 60
Day 50 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 51 55- 5.5- 60
Day 52 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 53 Rest Entire Day
Day 54 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Self Evaluation: How do I feel? Back? Neck? Knees?
Day 55 55- 6- 60
Day 56 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 57 20 min. other Form of cardio Run, swim, bike
Day 58 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 59 60- 5.5 -60
Day 60 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 61 60- 6- 60
Day 62 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 63 Rest Entire Day
Day 64 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 65 65- 5.5- 60
Day 66 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 67 Rest Entire Day
Day 68 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Self Evaluation: How do I feel? Back? Neck? Knees?
Day 69 65- 6- 60
Day 70 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 71 20 min. other Form of cardio Run, swim, bike
Day 72 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 73 70- 5.5- 60
Day 74 Rest Entire Day
Day 75 70- 6- 60
Day 76 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
Day 77 Rest Entire Day
Day 78 75- 5.5- 60
Day 79 Rest Entire Day
Day 80 75- 6- 60
From here forward, you should be able to be step mill ready if you do the last workout twice a week!
Click here and scroll down if the chart above is confusing. This site won't let me paste the real chart.
Best of Luck!
04-09-2009, 12:59 PM #10
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
- Bonsall, CA.
I dont know about anyone else here, but when I took the CPAT, the stepmill was probably the one that I would say was my weak point. Since then (about 8 months ago), I make it a point to condition religiously utilizing stairs coupled with a kicka** cardio routine.
04-17-2009, 09:38 PM #11
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
vest and cpat
I bought the vest a while back(look up at the posts) and I started with 25lbs. Id do the whole stairstepper routine the 20sec warmup and then the 3 min at 60/min. Then I would go for anywhere from 25-45min at a higher pace between 80 and 110/min. Once done there I would hit the pull-up bar with the vest on, crank out 3 sets of 10 reps. I started out just being able to do 3 in a row and then I would take the vest off and finish. Once I got to 10 in a row I added weight. After the pull-ups I would do push ups and then a regular workout on the odd days. I got to 35 pounds, and still training, and I had my CPAT today, got a 7:35. Im not a big guy, for me the dummy drag felt the hardest. Pike pole was easy, sledge hammer was easy, but it all adds up and you get a little tired. My best advice is make sure your getting in your cardio so you can get through it. Use your weight vest for some fast walking on the treadmill, no running though.
hope this helps,
04-18-2009, 05:13 AM #12
- Join Date
- Mar 2009
Congrats on passing your CPAT, sounds like you prepared yourself well. Was that the first time you went through the CPAT or did the department offer a walk-thru prior to the testing date?
You mention the 25-45min at a higher pace with the 25lb vest working up to 35. I'm not close to that yet. Did you ever train with higher poundage in the vest for shorter periods? Which vest would you recommend?
Also, what type of running or other cardio did you do to build to that level.
Thank you in advance for any info.
04-18-2009, 08:09 PM #13
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
It was the first time I went through,
I had just taken the Fireteam written and I didn't feel like doing both a practice and the real thing after.
I got to look at the stations, but not do them.
I didn't train with higher weight in the vest first. I got the vmax weightvest in the mail and 50 seemed like too much. You will notice that when you use it on the stairstepped you may get soreness on your upper glutes and your hamstrings. If you overdo it with too much weight you could end up hurting youself(pulling a muscle, or your back).
I started out with a good base of competitive cycling so I had the cardio down. I also am a contractor so my core is good.
Basics will be good cardio, good core and leg strength. Think of building a house, has to be strong from the foundation up. Your foundation will be your core strength, your legs and your cardio. Extend it from there.
Good luck, my advice as a newbie not yet on a dept is to train for the academy, not the CPAT. Do you want to be completely worn out from the physical aspect and not be able to concentrate on the education in the academy? No, so do all you can to get fit. I find that cyclists are the most fit, but only cycling makes you weak in other areas. So run on the treadmill to get the weight bearing and cycling, and stair stepper. Change it up so you don't get bored.
hope this helps.
04-20-2009, 11:11 AM #14
- Join Date
- Mar 2009
Yes indeed, thank you for your reply. I agree with you, training for the academy is my goal but I am first in need of working up to a solid foundation.
I believe I will order a 50 lb vmax and do the same weight strip and escalation on the stepmill. An injury would not be good at this time but I would like to try actual stairs on weekends with the full weight. Was your balance off during the cpat because of the extra load?
I am taking the written tomorrow and I am going to begin CrossFit next week. From what I've read it is a great way to get instruction and work in a group setting on core exercises.
Running has been slow so cycling may be a good way to mix in long cardio sessions without the leg impact. Any recommendations for a starter road bike?
Again, thank you in advance for your help.
Last edited by gilday; 04-20-2009 at 11:14 AM.
04-30-2009, 02:01 PM #15
- Join Date
- Apr 2009
The American College of Sports Medicine would recommend the following for your cardio:
3-5 times a week
20-60 minutes per session
60-85% of your heart rate max
you can determine your heart rate max by 220 minus your age then take 60-85% of that number.
Here is an example:
30 year old
220-30 = 190
190 x .80 = 152 Beats per minute
Hope this helps. Be sure to at least have your HR at the recommended range for 20 mins.
05-08-2009, 04:12 PM #16
Low budget alternative
I have been through several CPATs and have always finished with at least a minute to spare on the 10:20 cutoff and have trained for it using the same low budget program since i'm cheap. I went to the hardware store and bought a few of those sand tubes that people throw in the bed of their trucks during the winter to add more weight and traction. That was my weights for the training and then I would start out with walking lunges and gradually work up to 180 lunges (total steps on stairmill during CPAT) without working too hard. Then I added the weight of the sand tube and worked up to 180 lunges again. With the weight added though, I made sure to not go into such a deep lunge, but enough that it simulated a step. I also didn't have access to a stairmill or a stairwell with enough stairs (like I said, I am cheap). I found that lunges were a lot harder than doing the stairs during the CPAT, so I got through the 3:20 without feeling a thing in my legs. I also trained with runing in intervals to get my body accustomed to working hard, then resting, and then working hard and then resting, just like the test is setup. I am in pretty good shape already, so the rest of the test I didn't bother practicing for. The 2 key factors that will fail you are if your legs are gone after the steps (that's why they put those first, right?) and if your body takes too long to recover in between stations. Hope this helps!
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