CPAT Stair Stepper ...
I am doing the CPAT for Omaha Fire at the end of February. I do not have a stair stepper at my disposal or any stairs to use. What is the best way to prepare for this portion of the test? It's the one that I am most worried about right now out of all the events.
Put some weight in a backpack and run up bleachers.
Most people who fail the CPAT fail the first event (Stair Climb/Stair Stepper), or run out of time during the last event (Ceiling Breach). People who run out of time at the breach and pull lost a few seconds at all the prior event stations because they PAUSED to THINK of how to do the event or PAUSED or SLOWED down to catch their breath.
#1 Stair Climb: No matter how hard you train for the stair stepper, your legs are going to be like rubber after you get off the machine and start pulling hose. The recovery time for rubber legs depends on your fitness. Even still, rubber legs or not, you have to get moving and keep moving, and stay moving! If you stop at anytime during the events, the clock is ticking and you are losing time.
The tendency is that as you start wearing down on the stair stepper machine, your pace and stride will change and that will affect your balance. As you lose your balance, you start to wobble and the momentum of the weight on your body increases the swaying. As the distance of the sway increases, you will make a natural grab for the handrails. Grab the rail (more than twice?) to many times and you are disqualified. Instead of "grabbing the rail", use the back of your hand and push your self back. Adjusting your stance and concentrating will help you avoid the "wobble". Just like wearing a SCBA, you also have to concentrate on your breathing.
How about a hill? I know nebraska is flat... The only thing that makes the stepper "hard" and i use that word verrrrry lightly is that the weight compresses your chest a little. making it a little harder to breathe. It's just something to get used to. I would try and find a hill, or just walk around with a weight vest. or a weighted backpack. Don't sweat it. cpat is a joke.
I'll be honest. The first time I took the CPAT I was in shape, but not great shape and I had a little under two minutes left. I never prepped on a Stepmill or stairs either. If you have a good amount of leg strength you're more than likely going to be fine. If not, work on that and run for the endurance. The best advice I can give is to make sure you're familiar with each event in the test. Like it was mentioned before, if you waste a few seconds at each figuring out the best way to complete it, you may end up out of time. Good Luck!
Almost forgot. Capt. Bob is right about balance being an issue. I found it to be no problem if I hung onto the front of the weight vest to keep my arms "occupied"
Originally Posted by skitahoe
My 2 cents
I did walking lunges to get my legs in shape. I found those mimicked the movement enough to get me ready. I think they are actually harder so you are more prepared. As your legs start to adjust, add on a backpack full of weight or a sandbag over the shoulder. Worked for me with no issues on any of my CPATs. No case of rubber legs on station 2.
I also found it helpful, like others have mentioned, to put my hands crossed on my chest holding onto the weighted vest to keep my arms from swaying and to keep the vest from moving too much (mine didn't fit well). In addition to that it helped me to count the steps as I went. It gave me something to think about instead of how my legs felt, but some people think that makes it worse to count the steps. Your call.
Last thing is to make your strides to the next step quickly. This allows you to rest (briefly) before the next step. Don't take slow steps at the machines pace if that makes any sense. A step/sec is a pretty slow pace and I've heard guys say that it wears them out faster, so keep that in mind. Think about doing a pushup. It's harder to do a slow pushup than a fast one and it wears your muscles out faster when you do them slowly. Same general idea with the stair mill.
Good luck! Maybe try the search feature too. I know this topic has been discussed on here before.
Thanks for all the Advice, I have a big Army Backpack that I will load up with some weight and do some walking around, maybe do some squats on a regular basis as well.
I had the inclination that the whole "Try the search feature" statement would come up. I didn't have enough time to look it up when I posted this haha. Anyways once again thanks for all the help everyone!
No worries. haha. I wasn't trying to come across as a search button nazi like some are on here. Simply suggesting you might find more info if you didn't get what you were looking for in this thread.
Originally Posted by arharris83
Another thing I have done that came to mind was to just use a single stair and just step up and then back down with the same leg only working 1 leg at a time. That with some weight helped me get ready for a 9/11 memorial stair climb that I did this past sept. Worked great and that was 2200 stairs. :D But figure out what works for you and train, train, train until a couple days before your test.
Best of luck!
Intense bike riding
High rep squats
Go to gym and actually get on a stair mill
Running should be included with all of these
I filled two backpacks with fishtank gravel. 35lbs. for the back pack, and 35lbs for the other backpack worn on the front, or a frontpack. Works really well because it closely simulates the weight of the weight vest on your chest/stomach, and the two-pack approach helps to keep the weight balanced. I took a kitchen timer with me, set it to 3:30, and literally climbed a mountain. (A good hill would work as well) I climbed 2-3 times every other day for about three weeks, and didn't have to difficult of a time. By the time I finished the stair climb on my first CPAT, my legs were fine, but I was breathing pretty hard/deep. Good luck!!