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Thread: First CPAT

  1. #1
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    Default First CPAT

    Well, I took my first CPAT test here, not for a specific dept, just to get my cert. for dept. hirings. Heres a little background, Im ff I and II, EMTB, Hazmat, took written test...bla bla.. but Theres one dept. that I wanted to apply to, with a deadline on Oct. 12th. Needless to say I failed my CPAT attempt, on station 1, the stair mill, at 2 minutes and 40 seconds into it.... I thought for sure I had this down pat... Im in very good physical shape, do cardio, workout with weights, all that. But like a similar thread on here....


    It wasnt that I was breathing heavy and hard when I failed, my legs just purely gave out... they were literally burning and they just couldnt finish the stepping motion anymore.... At 2:40, I am just dissapointed with myself, as I know after the stair mill, I would have passed.... So, now I cant apply because this CPAT was the only thing I needed to actually apply for this dept. I guess I just needed to vent, sorry if I sound like a weeny, Im really not. I know there are hundreds of posts on how to prepare, and I have knowledge myself, but any other tips are appreciated.


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    I focused on my legs, not my lungs. I did a lot of sprint work, running stadium stairs, lunges and squats. When I hit the gym I concentrated on light to moderate wieght for high reps. This approach worked for me.

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    I am seriously considering buying a weght vest to train with 3-4 times a week... but I dunno if I can come up with an extra $200 give or take to buy one!! Also may start circuit training with weights, and doing a lot more leg work.



    I usually focus on heavy weight but Moderate to high reps would make sense for legs, as its about endurance, which my legs obviously did not have enough of...

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    Best way to train for stair is stairs. Well best way is to use the same stairtype thing they use but for some thats not an option.

    Get some weight and do stairs. (i use the parking garage at the local hospital) I have 50 pounds (2 dumbells 25 lbs each) in kids old school back pack. Wrap them in a towel to help with no sharp edges so they dont cut through the pack. Do some stairs. Over and over again ... last time i did them it was 20 floors up & down ... removed the weight and did 20 more up and down.

    ( i have not done the cpat where its stairs for such a long time ... our pat around here have stairs but for only like 90 seconds or just 4 flights then hose pull ... ect.)

    PS when you can't do any more stairs with the back pack take it off ... ( PUT IT IN YOU CAR .... do NOT leave it next to the stairs ..... un-attended back pack at hospital involves a lot of lights, sirens and news paper & tv people ....) and then do more stairs without the weight ... Good luck.

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    find somewhere with a step mill and practice on that. You probably are physically capable, but walking on a revolving set of stairs at a pace set by someone else is a very odd feeling. The slower pace can really take a toll on your legs if you don't condition yourself to that particular situation.

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    Keep your head up. If it's any consolation you failed on by far the hardest part of the CPAT. The weight vest is not a bad idea, but if you want to save a few bucks put the weights in a backpack like another poster said and do some stairs or even just walk around the neighborhood. I walked my dog with the pack on and it did the trick for me. You'll probably feel like a dork and look even sillier, but its the result that matters. Build up to over the 75lbs and make sure that you try to cinch it down around your waist (remember that in the CPAT also you should have the vest as tight as possible). Dont forget the towels to pad it too!!


    Did you do the practice test before taking the official one? If not I HIGHLY recommend doing it.

    A couple other pointers to help you out too --
    On the hose drag (station 2 I think) they let you run or jog. Take advantage and do it. Your legs will feel like rubber after you get of the stairclimber but the extra few seconds youll shave off could save your butt.

    I mentioned doing the trial run before you do the one that counts. Not only was it a huge help to me overall, but in the darkened maze i knew what to look out for and it allowed me to get through it quicker.

    don't drag the dummy. Pick it up at the waist as high as you can and GO! don't stop as itll be much harder to start again.

    On the ladder throw, slam it up there. It should be anchored down at the heel so you don't have to worry about it sliding. While raising the ladder, do it thumbs down so the halyard doesn't slip.

    LISTEN TO THE INSTRUCTIONS! If you do something wrong you will fail. Again, the trial run was huge as the instructors would give you feedback and tips (probably the ones im giving you here) but when it's the real deal they will only reread instructions. They can't interact with you whatsoever.

    Last but probably most important -- KEEP GOING! The second you stop it's going to be that much harder to keep going. Rest when you passed. You've got 10:20 to start the path to get the greatest job in the world. Imagine you're crawling to make the last room in the hallway knowing someone is still in the building or that its up to you to get your brother out alive. Heck, imagine whatever you want as long as it pushes you. Keep going!



    It's no cakewalk but it's certianly do-able. a little work goes a long way for this test, but remember that any academy worth it's salt will push you much harder for much longer than the CPAT, so the training only begins with it!

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    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    The stair mill is intentionally the first event for this reason, and causes more applicants to fail then any other event. Furthermore, it cycles at 60 steps/minute, which is slower than the normal 70 steps/minute that you usually ascend a staircase. This causes you to have to use far more muscles to anticipate each step, something your body isn't used to.

    If you can afford the weight vest, do it! But also find a stair mill to work out on, it will cause you to be better prepared for the next time. Best of luck!
    Career Fire Captain
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    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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    Thanks brothers. I know I am capable of doing this test. I just couldnt believe my legs actually gave out on me. Most of all, at 2:40!!!! I literally had 20 more seconds to go, the proctor was getting ready to count down from 10! Thats what "hurts" the most I guess.


    With the back pack trial, any of you have back pain or issues with the weight being not evenly distributed??

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    Be careful with backpacks holding weights.
    You wanna be sure to have the weight carefully distributed, and minimize any swaying or movement of the weights. This can put you off balance and lead to strains or worse to your back.
    Try looking on Ebay or Craigslist for a used weight vest.

    Also, I usually climb stairs carrying a 30lb dumbell in each hand. This adds the needed weight, while also building grip strength.

    You can get a used 100lb heavy bag (boxing bag) for less than $50.00.
    Use that to simulate the dummy drag, which is also a good leg workout.

    Try getting on a treadmill, turning it OFF. Then you turn around and walk backwards on it. The strength it takes to move the tread when it's off provides great resistance and will fry your legs after a minute or so. Do 4-5 sets of 1 minute walking backwards.

    Try getting in the pool with fins on. Do flutter (dolphin) kicks, no arms, either face down or on your back. Do 100 yard sprints of flutter kicks, great leg workout. 10X100 yards is a good effort.

    Good Luck!

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    Default Cpat

    The CPAT represents the "politically correct" (read: watered down for the lowest physical abilities) MINIMUM entrance standard.

    If I were in your shoes I would not train to just pass the CPAT. Those that have any skin in the fire service game (read line folks, not those that designed created) despise the CPAT.

    Back in the day the agility tests used to be tough. If you passed them, you surely could do the job physically. TONS of physically under-qualified candidates pass the CPAT. The instructors know this. They gripe about it more and more these days. Said candidates get their *sses, and their papers handed to them at academy.

    Read the other posts on here. Try CrossFit. It will prepare you for the fire service better than any other program.

    Other posters will feed you their silly redundant isolation routines. Try CrossFit. It will prepare you for the fire service better than any other program.

    You might think buying a vest is the best idea in the world. Try CrossFit. It will prepare you for the fire service better than any other program.

    Are you catching my drift?

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    MembersZone Subscriber tajm611's Avatar
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    No.

    I do crossfit. All WOD's as rx'd. If he can't do the stair portion of the cpat, he'd never survive one round of tabatas, much less a barbara or fran.



    Go get the book starting strength. Its about 20 bucks. Get a month (or more) membership at a gym. Sell whatever you can to get it.


    Do metcon.
    ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey

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    Quote Originally Posted by tajm611 View Post
    No.

    I do crossfit. All WOD's as rx'd. If he can't do the stair portion of the cpat, he'd never survive one round of tabatas, much less a barbara or fran.



    Go get the book starting strength. Its about 20 bucks. Get a month (or more) membership at a gym. Sell whatever you can to get it.


    Do metcon.
    The greatest benefit of CrossFit is individualized scalability to ones own abilities. Do you really think most people get a 3:00 RX Fran right off the bat?

    He can scale all the workouts and work his way up. I sucked wind when I started too, now I'm pretty much R'x across the board. There are some people at my box who were complete fatties when they came in a year ago, and now they're absolutely smoking the WODs. They couldn't finish a tabata when they started either. Now some of them making the whiteboards.

    SS is a great program, but if followed R'x there isn't much room for metcon, or nutrition condusive to leaning out. You pretty much eat, squat, and sleep. Do you think this guy needs GOMAD right now?

    How is that going to help him pass the CPAT, and even worse, the academy?
    Last edited by powerhourcoug; 10-17-2009 at 02:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by powerhourcoug View Post
    The greatest benefit of CrossFit is individualized scalability to ones own abilities. Do you really think most people get a 3:00 RX Fran right off the bat?

    He can scale all the workouts and work his way up. I sucked wind when I started too, now I'm pretty much R'x across the board. There are some people at my box who were complete fatties when they came in a year ago, and now they're absolutely smoking the WODs. They couldn't finish a tabata when they started either. Now some of them making the whiteboards.

    SS is a great program, but if followed R'x there isn't much room for metcon, or nutrition condusive to leaning out. You pretty much eat, squat, and sleep. Do you think this guy needs GOMAD right now?

    How is that going to help him pass the CPAT, and even worse, the academy?

    SS isnt eat squat sleep. Its a basic intro to the foundations of crossfit. I agree he shouldn't do GOMAD.

    God, the thought of gomad AND the academy would make me puke now.

    But given his condition (taken from his performance), I'd much rather know he's getting his fundamentals down. Developing good form, finding out where he stands and go from there. Say he gets WOD of running 400 then deads or cleans, with poor form he'll end up taking 4 steps back when he's hurt.

    I'm not saying he does 1rm for strength. If a candidate came up to me with the same problem I'd say set yourself a goal and build the blocks it'll take to get there.

    I agree crossfit will get him there ultimately but jumping into it with bad form or a poorer sense of health will lead him down a road thats even harder to get off of.


    I think we agree on this as a whole, I'd just rather know he's playing it safe starting from the beginning.
    Last edited by tajm611; 10-17-2009 at 03:29 PM.
    ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey

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    Forum Member yjbrody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by csvt18 View Post
    I literally had 20 more seconds to go, the proctor was getting ready to count down from 10! Thats what "hurts" the most I guess.
    Not to be mean. But you didn't have just 20 seconds to go, you still had the other 7 stations to go! Trust me if you were dogging it on the first station you probably would have run out of time somewhere on the other stations. I've seen it before. Guys and gals get through station 1, but their pace is too slow after that and they can't ever enough in between stations. You think dragging that dummy gets easier when you have no legs? Like BoxAlarm said, there's a reason they put this first. Again, not being mean, just honest.

    That said, I like the low budget approach to getting my legs in shape for the CPAT and it's worked for me everytime. Start w/ walking lunges and work your way up to 200 in a row at a pace of 1 per sec, then add weight (I used those bags of tube sand that you can put in your trunk or truck bed during winter, about 40lbs or so). If you have access to a stair climber or a large amount of stairs great, but lunges are even harder so you get yourself that much more prepared. Other advice on here is great too.

    Best of luck to you on your next one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yjbrody64 View Post
    Not to be mean. But you didn't have just 20 seconds to go, you still had the other 7 stations to go! Trust me if you were dogging it on the first station you probably would have run out of time somewhere on the other stations. I've seen it before. Guys and gals get through station 1, but their pace is too slow after that and they can't ever enough in between stations. You think dragging that dummy gets easier when you have no legs? Like BoxAlarm said, there's a reason they put this first. Again, not being mean, just honest.

    That said, I like the low budget approach to getting my legs in shape for the CPAT and it's worked for me everytime. Start w/ walking lunges and work your way up to 200 in a row at a pace of 1 per sec, then add weight (I used those bags of tube sand that you can put in your trunk or truck bed during winter, about 40lbs or so). If you have access to a stair climber or a large amount of stairs great, but lunges are even harder so you get yourself that much more prepared. Other advice on here is great too.

    Best of luck to you on your next one.

    True. And for all the comments on the excercising portion. Im by no means a fatty, or a newbie to working out. And im not just training for the CPAT, Ive gone through the academy, and I know I should train for my CAREER, which I do... its just I was asking specific ways to maybe strenghtin my legs that much more... which there are some good answers,

    As far as cross fit.. Ive looked on the website, and it looks to me, like its just basic compound movements? Correct me if Im wrong and missing something here....

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    Quote Originally Posted by csvt18 View Post
    True. And for all the comments on the excercising portion. Im by no means a fatty, or a newbie to working out. And im not just training for the CPAT, Ive gone through the academy, and I know I should train for my CAREER, which I do... its just I was asking specific ways to maybe strenghtin my legs that much more... which there are some good answers,

    As far as cross fit.. Ive looked on the website, and it looks to me, like its just basic compound movements? Correct me if Im wrong and missing something here....
    If you google "crossfit+(your hometown)" you should be able to find a gym close to you (I'm assuming you don't live in BFE). Go there and check it out. First workout is free, no strings attached.

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    Default Do Crossfit

    Quote Originally Posted by tajm611 View Post
    No.

    I do crossfit. All WOD's as rx'd. If he can't do the stair portion of the cpat, he'd never survive one round of tabatas, much less a barbara or fran.



    Go get the book starting strength. Its about 20 bucks. Get a month (or more) membership at a gym. Sell whatever you can to get it.


    Do metcon.

    Pourhourcoug is absolutely right. CrossFit will help you a lot. CrossFit is designed to adapt to everyone. From kids to the elderly, and people with all sorts of physical ailments. I have worked out with and trained females who could not complete half of the WOD's As Rx'd but could kill the CPAT and more importantly their JOB. I have also worked out with guys who could muscle through "Fran" but could barely pass the CPAT test. As a Firefighter and CrossFit enthusiast/ instructor I am telling you to look in to it. Crossfit.com

    As far as Starting Strengh is concerned I have had the pleasure of working with Mark Rippetoe and received his Barbell instructor certification through CrossFit. I agree it is a great book to read and will offer lots of advise. However NO book will help you pass the CPAT or prepare you for Academy, then your JOB. You have to get off your ***** and train.

    Many academies in my "Large Metropolitan" area have gone to a CrossFit based PT program, mine included. In fact about half of the over 20 CrossFit gyms in my area are woned by either a FF, Police Officer, or Military and usually offer a discount to civil service personnel.

    And last it is a great way to meet other FF's in your area, ones who can offer more insight and help with any dept's testing policy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The1Engine View Post
    Pourhourcoug is absolutely right. CrossFit will help you a lot. CrossFit is designed to adapt to everyone. From kids to the elderly, and people with all sorts of physical ailments. I have worked out with and trained females who could not complete half of the WOD's As Rx'd but could kill the CPAT and more importantly their JOB. I have also worked out with guys who could muscle through "Fran" but could barely pass the CPAT test. As a Firefighter and CrossFit enthusiast/ instructor I am telling you to look in to it. Crossfit.com

    As far as Starting Strengh is concerned I have had the pleasure of working with Mark Rippetoe and received his Barbell instructor certification through CrossFit. I agree it is a great book to read and will offer lots of advise. However NO book will help you pass the CPAT or prepare you for Academy, then your JOB. You have to get off your ***** and train.

    Many academies in my "Large Metropolitan" area have gone to a CrossFit based PT program, mine included. In fact about half of the over 20 CrossFit gyms in my area are woned by either a FF, Police Officer, or Military and usually offer a discount to civil service personnel.

    And last it is a great way to meet other FF's in your area, ones who can offer more insight and help with any dept's testing policy.

    Can somebody explain what all these names are? Linda, Fran... what are they? Names for each of the crossfit workouts? Im confused on this crossfit, I looked on the crossfit.com website and It doesnt show any specific routines to follow... Like for example when working out, you'd do chest one day, back the next, legs next, arms, and so on... If doing this cross fit multiple days in a row, wont it be overtraining??


    Id really appreciate some example workouts posted, and if you do different ones each day to avoid overtraining. Thanks brothers.

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    Default CrossFit

    Quote Originally Posted by csvt18 View Post
    Can somebody explain what all these names are? Linda, Fran... what are they? Names for each of the crossfit workouts? Im confused on this crossfit, I looked on the crossfit.com website and It doesnt show any specific routines to follow... Like for example when working out, you'd do chest one day, back the next, legs next, arms, and so on... If doing this cross fit multiple days in a row, wont it be overtraining??


    Id really appreciate some example workouts posted, and if you do different ones each day to avoid overtraining. Thanks brothers.
    1. The named workouts. CrossFit has alot of named workouts. They are easier to remember that way. They started by naming the workouts with females names after hurricanes. They also have "Hero" WODs. Those are named after mostly military, but some fire and police officers who were killed in the line of duty, who have known to do CrossFit.

    i.e. "Murph"
    Run 1 mile
    100 Pull ups
    200 Push ups
    300 Squats
    Run 1 mile

    Named after US Navy SEAL & Medal of Honor recipient Michael
    Murphy. Who was Killed in Action in Afghanistan in 2005.

    2. As far as the "Routine" their is no "Back, chest, bi's" type training. Most workouts you train your whole body. However there are a few days where you go heavy for minimal reps, to help build some strength. The workouts or WOD's are posted daily on the Headquarters page or on an affilites page. As far as over training, you are usually not working out to complete muscle failure. The workouts on average take 20 min. Look at the left side of the crossfit.com s page and click on the tap "excercises & demos" for videos explaining some of the movements. You can also click on the "Affiliate Blog" tab on the left side and scroll down and click on your state to find a CrossFit gym near you. hope some of this helps. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions regarding CrossFit.

    www.crossfit.com
    www.crossfitsmac.com
    http://www.crossfitpfd.typepad.com/ (crossfit phoenix fire)

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    Quote Originally Posted by The1Engine View Post
    Pourhourcoug is absolutely right. CrossFit will help you a lot. CrossFit is designed to adapt to everyone. From kids to the elderly, and people with all sorts of physical ailments. I have worked out with and trained females who could not complete half of the WOD's As Rx'd but could kill the CPAT and more importantly their JOB. I have also worked out with guys who could muscle through "Fran" but could barely pass the CPAT test. As a Firefighter and CrossFit enthusiast/ instructor I am telling you to look in to it. Crossfit.com

    As far as Starting Strengh is concerned I have had the pleasure of working with Mark Rippetoe and received his Barbell instructor certification through CrossFit. I agree it is a great book to read and will offer lots of advise. However NO book will help you pass the CPAT or prepare you for Academy, then your JOB. You have to get off your ***** and train.

    Many academies in my "Large Metropolitan" area have gone to a CrossFit based PT program, mine included. In fact about half of the over 20 CrossFit gyms in my area are woned by either a FF, Police Officer, or Military and usually offer a discount to civil service personnel.

    And last it is a great way to meet other FF's in your area, ones who can offer more insight and help with any dept's testing policy.
    Preach the gospel brother!!!

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