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    Default Doing cardio with respirator?

    Hello everyone! I'm another new guy around here getting ready to start the academy. I had one question about doing cardio in general. I currently do HIT along with some swimming mix in plus weight training. I already have decent lung strength but I was thinking would it help if I did some cardio with a respirator on to create a bit of resistance in my breathing?? I am talking about the kind of respirator you would wear for painting or such... I think it might somewhat simulate what wearing a SCBA would be like. So good idea or not??
    Thanks for any input!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc the Shark View Post
    Hello everyone! I'm another new guy around here getting ready to start the academy. I had one question about doing cardio in general. I currently do HIT along with some swimming mix in plus weight training. I already have decent lung strength but I was thinking would it help if I did some cardio with a respirator on to create a bit of resistance in my breathing?? I am talking about the kind of respirator you would wear for painting or such... I think it might somewhat simulate what wearing a SCBA would be like. So good idea or not??
    Thanks for any input!

    I remember someone asking a similar question a while back. It got a response of it was not a good idea due to low oxygen level/percentage, something like that. Try searching about it on these forums, though it might have already been deleted by the adm. since it was a while ago.

    As far as resistance in breathing while working out, check out this video of UFC fighter Wanderlei Silva doing just that:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKmte76XV7c
    IF YOU CAN'T TAKE THE HEAT, GO BE A COP!

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    wow... talk about intense training...
    I tried looking for that thread you talked about but didn't find anything. I was thinking of using the respirator only for stair climbs with a weight vest on... So it wouldn't be like trying to run sprints with the thing on.
    I might just have to try it out and go easy and see how it all goes and make sure hypoxia doesn't set in..
    Perhaps wear the respirator on the way up the flights of stairs and take it off on the way down to let more oxygen get into my system?? I'll keep doing research on this. Thanks for your input

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    I'm not sure exactly what the goal is here. Could someone explain it to me? Are you trying to strengthen your diaphragm or your intercostal muscles? We have limited internet access here at work so I couldn't see the YouTube vid.

    If your goal is to increase your body's efficiency using O2, just increase your cardio in general. Your body's ability to metabolize oxygen is largely based on the health of your lungs and proportion of fast-twitch to slow-twitch muscles. Slow-twitch muscles have the ability to function anaerobically, meaning they can metabolize fuels other than oxygen to function when there is little or no O2 available. Fast-twitch muscles function aerobically, so they gobble up O2 and make you short of breath. If I were you, I would focus more on cardio endurance (running looooong miles, cycling, rowing loooong meters at a low resistance) to increase the proportion of slow-twitch to fast-twitch.
    Last edited by synergy; 03-03-2010 at 01:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by synergy View Post
    I'm not sure exactly what the goal is here. Could someone explain it to me? Are you trying to strengthen your diaphragm or your intercostal muscles? We have limited internet access here at work so I couldn't see the YouTube vid.

    If your goal is to increase your body's efficiency using O2, just increase your cardio in general. Your body's ability to metabolize oxygen is largely based on the health of your lungs and proportion of fast-twitch to slow-twitch muscles. Slow-twitch muscles have the ability to function anaerobically, meaning they can metabolize fuels other than oxygen to function when there is little or no O2 available. Fast-twitch muscles function aerobically, so they gobble up O2 and make you short of breath. If I were you, I would focus more on cardio endurance (running looooong miles, cycling, rowing loooong meters at a low resistance) to increase the proportion of slow-twitch to fast-twitch.
    Synergy I think you pretty much hit it on the head. So to help efficient O2 use, simply continuing with a good cardio routine will be enough? I run High intensity intervals, mixed with some swimming, stair climbs.. I just got a weight vest that I will use mostly for stair training. I was thinking by using a respirator like I had asked about while walking the stairs with weights would help overall cardio...
    Thank you for your input!

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    In my opinion you will be hurting yourself more than helping yourself by starving your body of oxygen if you train using a respirator. So yes, I think continuing -- scratch that -- emphasizing a cardio routine will help. I've noticed that folks with very strong cardio backgrounds (competitive road cycling, mountain biking, jogging) tend to have significantly more endurance than other folks I've met who focus more on strength training.

    I think it's a good idea to do intervals, but that's not going to build slow-twitch muscle. In fact it will do the exact opposite. Intervals are for short bursts of high energy output, which is what fast-twitch muscle is for. Heavy lifting, sprints, and plyometrics are some examples of fast-twitch exercises. If you want to work on cardio, get a bike. I'm talking 20, 30, 40 mile rides. More if you're able, or you can work your way up to that. Or run. if you get bored doing the hamster-in-a-cage treadmill thing, maybe you can find a trail to run. Trail running is beneficial in more ways than just regular jogging because you're jumping over rocks and logs, side-stepping around corners... more of a complete body workout because you work more of your core and upper body as you stabilize yourself.

    Basically I think if you develop a strong cardio base and highlight your training with intervals, you should be good. Try something like CrossFit for intervals. Their routines keep your heart rate up and your muscles at or near their lactate threshold, two important keys for developing endurance, while touching on strength.

    Hope that helps!

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    I recommend breathing ladders. Thery're explained well on fireground fitness:

    http://www.firegroundfitness.com/

    They help you to control your breathing, not to "panic breathe" when there's oxygen debt. You pick a metabolically demanding exercise, such as a squat clean, thruster, burpee, or heavy kettlebell swing. Assign a rep to breath ratio. Say it's 2:1. You do two reps, breathing as you like during the set. As soon as you finish the second rep, you have one complete breath as your rest. Now do four reps, then two breaths. 6 and 3, 8 and 4, you get the idea. If you hyperventilate, you'll shorten the rest period. If you learn to slow your breathing, you'll last longer (both for the set and while working on air in real life). I find that when I get to nine or ten breaths, I can recover from anything, and I'll up the rep to breath ratio, or just increase the resistance. It worked for me during a double wave hold down while surfing a hurricane swell, so taking control of the mental aspect of hypoxic breathing should be the key.

    Also, when on air, if you're gassed, you can get down on all fours (if the situation allows). This will increase the sufrace area in your lungs for O2 exchange, and ease your effort and energy in breathing. Think about a pt in respiratory distress. They lean forward, a position called the tripod, to get more air in. If you position yourself prone on your hands and knees you're doing a more effective version of tripoding.

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    Great site edpmedic! I like the breath ladder and will def give it a go. I think with this plus cardio plus swimming I should be able to last forever on air

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    Default Working out on air

    I like to do circuits with an airpack on while on air. The extra weight of the pack is nice for body weight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups and going through intense workouts while masked up helps my breathing on actual fire calls. Good luck.

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    So I tried breath ladders today.... wow... way harder than I thought it was gonna be. Definitively going to take some training to be able to do it right. ha Thanks again

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFRock View Post
    I like to do circuits with an airpack on while on air. The extra weight of the pack is nice for body weight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups and going through intense workouts while masked up helps my breathing on actual fire calls. Good luck.
    In station we all did a test where we got into PT gear, and donned a scott pack. We didn't go with gear since it's not allowed past the apparatus bay. You go on the stepmill, go to level 6, go on air, and try to last as long as you can. We have 45 min cylinders, The worst time was 18 minutes, and the best was 31 minutes and change. It's a good mental exercise to last as long as you can when the facepiece has been sucking for a minute or two and there's no more air. Don't pass out and fall off the stepper, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc the Shark View Post
    So I tried breath ladders today.... wow... way harder than I thought it was gonna be. Definitively going to take some training to be able to do it right. ha Thanks again
    Enjoy. What you need to practice when doing these is taking a big gulp of air, holding it in, and then forcibly exhaling past your normal expiratory volume. Really take as much in, and push as much out as you can, not unlike the pulmonary function test. Don't blow out until you get dizzy, but try to clear out what you can.

    For one, it helps condition you not to take the next breath so quickly. When the urge to inhale is overwhelming, forcible exhalation will overcome this, helping to preserve your supply. This saved my *** when surfing more than a few times.

    It also helps clear out the old, hypercarbic (low O2, high CO2) air, so your next breath will oxygenate more effectively and also last longer than a normal breath. In that sense, each breath of air gives you more oxygenation bang for your buck. Less breaths per minute, and more effective breaths per minute. You'll find that this method supplies you with more oxygenation than hyperventilation will if you can weather the storm of discomfort until the urge to hyperventilate passes. I don't know if you have any EMS training, but this is why you bag a pt that's hyperventilating due to tissue hypoxia (not panic attacks). A slower, deeper breath is more effective than rapid, gasping ones.

    This stuff hill help loads when you're doing evolutions such as maze training, SCBA emergency procedures and FF rescue, where you have a finite air supply and you fail if you run out of air.
    Last edited by edpmedic; 03-05-2010 at 04:00 PM.

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    got ya... So essentially it's the same principle of breathing as if I was to go free diving... Makes sense.
    And as far as EMS training I start the academy in April so no EMS experience as of yet for me..
    But all in all this sounds like this will help me reach my goal.. I don't want to be that guy sucking all of his air before anyone... I want to be the last one

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