02-26-2013, 12:33 AM #1
- Join Date
- Feb 2012
Help with Physical Agility Test!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (1st time not well)
Okay everyone need your help& a picker up also. Today was my first time taking an agility test for a department. Well I’m 5”4 120 pounds I work out and lift run also I mean not like hardcore but I do work out. Anyways I took the physical agility test & maybe half way in to it they stopped me because I ran out of time. It was bummer but I didn’t want to stop I would of kept going if they would of not stop me, of course I was tired and stuff. Anyone one got some pointers & is there a lot of candidates that fail these physical agility test. Anyways any help will be great thanks everyone.
I believe the physical agility had 7 events time limit 9 minutes 30 seconds.
Last edited by KnoxBox; 02-26-2013 at 12:37 AM.
02-26-2013, 02:14 AM #2
If you ran out of time, then you obviously ran out of steam. What events were you able to complete, and which events were the most challenging to you? Was it a traditional C-PAT exam or something the department put together?
My old department focused on our VO2 max to help us gauge how fit we were. There are a couple of ways you can estimate for yourself what your VO2 max might be, and would serve as a benchmark for where you are at and how much you improve. In my experience, it seems like the quickest way to improve your fitness (aka VO2 max) is to use circuit training, in any of it's aspects. There are fully developed programs like P90X or Insanity (my preference, since it focuses on plyometric circuit training), or simply techniques such as the HIIT methods such as Tabata which can be applied to various exercises. There are even some Crossfit workouts that don't require much in the way of exercise equipment which are great circuits, such as Angie, Annie, Cindy, Chelsea, etc., many of which only need a pull up bar.
Find a few circuit workouts that you like and work them! Most FD agility tests are just a single circuit of multiple events. Just running might get your cardio and aerobic threshold up, but it won't prepare your body for the multiple exercises that a CPAT will throw at you. Hope that helps.
02-26-2013, 02:27 AM #3
- Join Date
- Aug 2012
Legs, legs, legs........and more legs.
02-26-2013, 09:02 AM #4
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
see if there are any departments that do practice sessions.
This will help you see the course and know what to expect.
some of your problem is timing in your head, you may hae thought you had plenty of time and took a slower pace at each station. Plus you also see what stations take more time/effort.
There are also private places, and academies that give the test, for you to practice at.
02-27-2013, 01:59 PM #5
- Join Date
- Jan 2012
lets be honest, you're a small guy. Either you're young, have a high metabolism, or doing too much cardio. I would get some sort of weight-gainer/protein supplement, make sure I have a shake before bed, and focus on weights. Squats, dead-lifts, and pull-ups are great muscle builders as well as exercises that will help w/ any agility test.
02-28-2013, 11:04 AM #6
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
Often, candidates don't realize that it's not just strength in the physical agility. The "Nugget " is technique, momentum and grip. If you are uncertain or having problems in the physical, take advantage of any college or academy programs to learn the techniques to practice pulling hose, throwing a ladder, dragging a dummy (not you), etc. Many departments offer practice "run-through" sessions for their physical test prior to the actual date of testing. Don't pass up this opportunity.
You can get into shape without causing injuries. I witnessed a 5’ 1” fire lad who was 119 pounds blow through the CPAT leaving the staff shaking their heads.
You don’t want any surprises during the physical agility. You need to have practiced hands on with every segment of the agility. Too many candidates think they are in great shape. One who did not take advantage of the practice session told me, “Hey, that 75 pound hose pack was heavy. Humping that hose bundle up the tower, hosting and other manipulative skills, then back down the tower steps made my lungs burn (they were still burning days later) and caused the loss of valuable seconds.” The best way to train for this event is to up the cardio by going up and down bleachers with a backpack with weights or a weighted vest from www.WeightVest.com
In those areas of concern, work with a trainer at a gym in those fields of motion that would improve your ability. Often fire training divisions know the exercises that would apply to those areas. When ice skaters were trying to break the record for a triple lux, they found by working on upper body strength was the secret. You can learn more about physical agility training Here
Check in with your local area department and arrange to go by for a little coaching. What firefighter wouldn't want to puff out their chest showing his or her special techniques that got them their job or help on the fire ground. One of our candidates was losing sleep over the uncertainty of not being able to throw a ladder. These fears were put to rest after visiting a local fire department that showed the needed technique.
With ladder throws, it's gaining momentum and a continuous movement from beginning to end of the throw, using a pivot point and the weight of the ladder to your advantage. Dragging hose or a dummy is starting with a thrust to start up the momentum, taking shorter steps, keeping a low forward center of gravity, using your own weight to keep up the momentum during the pull.
Walking a ladder is using a pivot point and the weight of the ladder to your advantage. When raising the fly, pull the rope in short hand over hand movements in front of your face not much higher than your head. On each grip of the rope, turn your fist palm down to improve your grip. Keep one foot planted at the spur (bottom one side or the other) keep the other foot back for balance. Slightly tilt the ladder towards the wall for balance as you raise it.
The dummy from my son's department disappeared from the training center. Two days later a 911 call came in from a pay phone asking for help. When units arrived at the scene, here was the dummy standing up in the phone booth with the phone receiver to his ear. Case closed.
Many candidates feel if they set some kind of a record it will help in hiring. Not true! It is pass or fail. The secret "Nugget" here is to pace yourself. You don't have to break the record. If you would have no problem in passing the physical, then, why would you want to try and impress the training staff, the other candidates and tout that you set a new record? In your haste, you might injure yourself or fall down the stairs in the tower . . . and, you don't even pass. Now, you not only didn't pass the PT, you're out of the hiring process. How would you feel McFly?
Here are some valuable tips for CPAT from Tom Dominguez and Reed Norwood:
The secret to passing the CPAT is to be in shape with a high cardiovascular fitness level and to know the techniques as Captain Bob has mentioned. The average time is between nine minutes and ten minutes, twenty seconds. Try to think of the CPAT (or any agility) as a marathon where you are trying to complete the event instead of going for the record time. You can burn out if you are going for time no matter how well in shape you are.
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.
#2 Hose Drag: As soon as you step off the stair machine, turn and face the line that takes you to the hose pull. As soon as the proctor takes the two sandbags off your shoulders, get moving! Pick up the nozzle and shoulder the hose and GO! This is not the time to worry about those rubber legs or try to catch your breath. MOVE! Go as fast as you can. Step into the box, turn around, get down on one knee (being careful not to come down too hard and injuring your knee) and PULL the hose, hand-over-hand as fast as you can. That drum will give you some resistance when you turn the corner but if you're going at a good clip it won't be too difficult. You can breathe while hand pulling the hose.
#3 Equipment Carry: When you get to the saw carry, just do it! Face the cabinet and remove each saw one at a time. Now, turn around and pick up both saws. This will ensure that you have both saws touching the ground before you begin moving down the line.
#4 Ladder Raise and Extension: When you arrive at the ladder raise, get down, grab the rung and raise the ladder. You have to push the ladder up, rung-by-rung as fast as you can. Move over to the fly extension and just do it.
#5 Forcible Entry: Breathe, as you follow the line and pick up the sledgehammer. Start swinging as soon as you can in short choppy strokes. Departments may set the forced entry device at a level that fits their needs. When the alarm sounds, let go of the sledgehammer and move to the tunnel crawl.
#6 Search: Get in and get out! You may not move like a greased pig at the fair but you do need to move. One candidate wrote: Here is where I lost about 15-20 seconds. The event itself is pretty fun if you are not claustrophobic. Be aware of the obstacles inside. I could not figure one out, and I got disoriented and lost precious time figuring it out. Crawl fast as there are no abrupt edges that you'll run into. All the walls are tapered so as long as you keep your head down you can fly through. Doing the practice "run-throughs" will take away all doubt of what and where the obstructions are in tunnel crawl.
Always remember to stay right, and come back to your right after an obstacle. The event is shaped in a horseshoe, so there are two right turns. This can be a good time to catch your breath as well in preparation for the dummy drag.
#7 Rescue: At the dummy pull, size up where the handles are before you get there. Grab them and get going. You may feel the burn in your legs but don't stop. It saps your strength to have to get the dummy moving again each time you stop. When you reach the barrel, do not make the turn until the dummy's knees are even with farthest side of the barrel. If you try to pull the dummy around the barrel any sooner, it takes more energy and it will take more time. Get over the line and let go of the dummy and get to the ceiling Breach and Pull.
#8 Ceiling Breach and Pull: This is the event where folks run out of time and fail the CPAT. Grab the pike pole and step in. Start pushing and pulling with all you got! If there's a D-handle on the pike pole put a hand under it for increased leverage. Get a rhythm/fast pace going. An object at rest requires energy to get it moving. An object that is moving requires less energy to keep it moving. If those ceiling hatches are not making lots of loud noise, you are not working very hard. You can buy yourself some time here that you may need to finish the CPAT in time.
Follow the instructions of the proctor! The proctor will either tell you where the line is or point to the line you are to follow. People have been failed for not following the right line to the next event.
If you were to pause five seconds at the start and stop of every event, or to stop and breathe or think about each event, you can loose about a minute and a half of precious time. Once this time is gone, you cannot get it back. This goes back to what Captain Bob was writing about when it comes to the manipulation and techniques of each event.
You can over train by carrying extra weight in your backpack while you train for the stair stepper. Seventy-five pounds on your back places a tremendous amount of stress on your ankles, knees, hips and back. Practice the event as you are actually going to do it. Work out at the same pace and distance as the actual stair event. The stair stepper event (as are most of the CPAT events) is based on cardiovascular fitness and endurance. It is expected that you will be anaerobic and that is what the CPAT is attempting to do. While strength is required, you don't need to be an Olympic weight lifter.
Here are two link resources to gain information on the CPAT:
You can learn more about physical agility training Here:
"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"
Fire "Captain Bob"
03-01-2013, 11:49 PM #7
- Join Date
- Feb 2012
Thanks everyone for there input.
03-02-2013, 12:07 AM #8
- Join Date
- May 2010
I just passed today. I'm 5'2 113 lbs. I passed it last year when I was 105 lbs. Doesn't matter if you're big or small, well, of course it does help if you're a hulk but you don't need to be. Work on endurance. DON'T STOP! Hurry through each event. Right after they take off the extra 25 lbs, take off! When you get to the hose, don't waste time. Grab it and run. When you walk the lines between stations, speed walk. When you get to the tools, put them down by your feet. When you get to the second tool, don't let go of it, touch the ground but keep a grip on it and get the other one and go. Speed walk. When you return them to the station put them both down but dont let go of one of them (so you can automatically put it up on the shelf). (NOTE: Dont stop when you carry the tools). When you get to the ladder, pick it up and push the ladder up hand over hand one rung at a time, but really use your legs and push through it as fast as you can ...go at a speed that when you're done raising the ladder the ladder has so much momentum that its going to bounce off of the wall. When you get to the sledge hammer, hit as hard as you can as fast as you can. When you get to the maze just close your eyes, push off with your feet as fast as you can while holding your right hand to the right wall and move. When you get to the dummy DONT STOP. KEEP MOVING. When you think you're going to stop count down from 30 to 1 and keep going while you count. Usually you'll be done by then. Hopefully. The pike pole just go as fast as you can, use your weight.
Just keep moving. Never stop. Speed walk. If you think you're going fast, go faster.
Hope it helps.
03-02-2013, 12:11 AM #9
- Join Date
- May 2010
*When you extend the ladder take your time. But don't be a sloth. Do it as sufficiently and with as much control as you can but be conscious of time. A lot of candidates rush and the halyard slips through their hand.
03-02-2013, 12:26 AM #10
- Join Date
- Feb 2012
Where did you take the CPAT @ if you dont mind me asking?
03-03-2013, 02:36 AM #11
I have a question about working up leg muscles. I currently jog around my neighborhood and I'm wondering which type of jogging would be best?
A) Jog 2.5 miles (but rather quickly especially towards the end)
B) Jog 4 miles (more at a steady pace for endurance)
I eventually plan to run with ankle and wrist weights because I will be running in turnout gear and stuff.Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.
03-03-2013, 10:43 AM #12
- Join Date
- Feb 2012
Probably c) run intervals. Run 2.5 miles, or as far as you want to, but sprint for 30 seconds (or for as long as you can if not that long) and then jog for 30sec to a minute to recover but not let you heart rate drop too far, then sprint again. It probably would be good to maybe run 3-4 miles at a steady pace once or twice a week and do the interval run once or twice a week.
03-03-2013, 10:31 PM #13
03-05-2013, 01:40 AM #14
I second Wolfpack's interval training. Quickest way to get your cardio up and works both aerobic and anaerobic states. Look into something called the Fartlek method. We used a variation of this method on my cross-country and wrestling team workouts in high school. You could set up a 2-3 mile circuit or run at a track. On a track it would be something like 400m jog warm up. 100m sprint. 50m jog. 200m fast jog. 100m sprint. 50m walk/recover, etc... Mix it up.
Careful with the ankle weights... they're really hard on the joints. A weight vest would be better.
03-05-2013, 03:21 AM #15
- Join Date
- Nov 2006
STRENGTH is the foundation for everything.
For power-endurance, anaerobic and aerobic conditioning, power, hypertrophy, speed. Everything.
Jogging won't do anything for you, don't get me wrong 1-2 sessions of longer steady state cardio a week is important (45 minutes), mainly as an assistance to recover faster in between bouts of anaerobic/power activities.
Get under a barbell NOW.
Farmer's Walks/Sandbag lift,carry, climb
Squat. Press. Pull. Hinge. Carry. That will never change.
Your lifting days should revolve around one of those lifts with accessory lifts to assist in that main lift.
To assist Squat: Front squats, and higher rep back squats at 50% of your 1RM.
To assist Deadlift: RDL's, dumbbell rows, pendlay rows, pullups/lat pulldowns
To assist Bench Press: Dips/weighted dips, face pulls, dumbbell rows/pendlay rows, high rep tricep work
To assist Overhead Press: Higher rep overhead presses at 50% of your 1RM, bicep curls, any back/tricep work.
The stronger you are the easier these physical agility events will be WITH conditioning. The stronger you are, the less energy you exert.
For conditioning: (always done after strength/assistance lifts or a separate day)
-Concept 2 Rower
-Interval running as mentioned above
-Sandbags..lift, carry, and climb
-Dragging a heavy tire forward and backwards( a MUST imo and will help with your squat/deadlift)
-Sledgehammer and tire
-Prowler, if you access to one, if not drag a tire.
-Longer steady state cardio: jogging (not my fav. and utterly stupid to do imo no offense to anyone reading this), power walking with a weighted vest(better than jogging) preferably uphill, C2 rower.
The most practical way to structure a workout:
1. Mobility work
2. Strength work
3. Assistance/bodybuilding work
Despite what people will tell you, and probably the same people who cannot deadlift 405 pounds or ***-to-grass squat 315 pounds, you can be strong and highly conditioned.
Don't get me started on how backwards most fire academies physical fitness programs are.
Get your strength training in order, and everything else will come. If I was a beginner I would milk a simple 3-5 sets x 3-5 reps with those 4 major lifts and with a little higher rep assistance worked in(mainly upper back, hamstrings, biceps, triceps, and bodyweight movements), and power walking with a weighted vest for as long as I can milk the newbie gains. I would be squatting 3 times a week, and do one set of heavy deadlifts. I would eat alot more.
Does this make any sense?
For the record the last 2 times I done the CPAT(and I hate to chest beat myself but to illustrate a point), I never had "jelly legs" after the stairs and always carried a conversation with the retired guy at the stair portion about The Job, and always had a minimum of a minute to spare with a HR in the 120's. The CPAT and Biddle is fun for me. I never trained on the stepmill.
People fail physical agility exams because they are weak, especially in the legs. Their legs are not conditioning to handle extra weight, and a whole lot of other physiological stuff (muscles, tendons, ligaments, movement, not as developed.)
03-06-2013, 12:39 AM #16
- Join Date
- Feb 2012
Thanks for everyone reply. Thank you
Anymore great tips would be great
Keep them Coming!!!!
03-07-2013, 06:34 AM #17
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- Cleveland, Ohio
REMEMBER THAT 60-70% OF THE PHYSICAL AGILITY EVENTS
REQUIRE EXCELLENT LEG STRENGTH AND GOOD WIND ENDURANCE!
Physical agility testing events in most departments are very strenuous in nature. You must begin your workouts immediately in order to put yourself in top condition to perform well. This training should be year-round. In preparing firefighter applicants for physical agility examinations for over 50 years, one of the most important aspects is overall good strength, with emphasis on good leg strength and most importantly your wind endurance (lung strength and capacity). Time and time again we see individuals who are 6'4", 250 pounds, can squat 350 pounds 10 times, run 2 miles and think that they are in good physical shape. However, if they have not built up their wind endurance (lung capacity) they may have the strength equivalent of someone who is 100 pounds. Nothing drains your strength more than a lack of wind. Most physical agility test events are of short duration but very demanding. Most of these events are completed in a 5-10 minute timeframe. During that time, it is an all-out effort. We believe that the emphasis of your preparation training should be on developing your wind. Wind sprints are an excellent way of increasing your endurance. Start off by sprinting 30 yards, 3 or 4 times. Then proceed to 40 yards, 50 yards. After a period of training and feeling that your lungs are developing, we suggest that you undertake the following physical agility training.
Mark off 20 yards, 30 yards, 40 yards, and 50 yards. Use a nearby recreation field in your area or even a parking lot. Start your sprints by sprinting 20 yards and then sprint back to the start. Then immediately sprint 30 yards and back to start. Then sprint 40 yards and back to start. Sprint 50 yards and back to start. As you continue training, you will see that your wind endurance is building. You may be able to complete 5-6 of these wind sprints in a single training session and not feel winded.
Applicants also need to concentrate on overall strength training – your chest, triceps, biceps, back, legs, sit-ups. We have included descriptions of some physical agility exercises and programs for your review.
Some additional training tips:
Many times you are required to wear a vest that is from 30-40 pounds, simulating firefighter equipment and air tank. If possible, get a backpack, fill it with sand or weights, and use it while training. For example, wear it while running stairs.
Run stairs. If you have a school football field accessible to you, we strongly suggest that you run the stands' stairs. You may also be able to use an office or apartment building stairs. You may also want to run the stairs carrying 20-30 pound dumbbells in each hand or your weighted backpack. It is also good practice to skip every other stair – it will build leg strength and endurance, and on some exams you can skip stairs, which will decrease your overall time and better your score.
If you train in a gym, you may have access to a Stairmaster machine (revolving stairs – not stepper type). We suggest that you build your endurance by not holding onto the rails and increasing the level of difficulty each time you work out. If you have a training backpack, wear it while on the machine.
If you train by running distance, the best training for firefighter examinations is to aim for your fastest 2-mile time. If you want to alternate a 3-4 mile run in between, that is fine. Your emphasis while training, however, should not be on a steady pace but on a faster pace in order to build your endurance. Physical agility examinations are short in time, but require endurance.
Remember - always warm up before exercising and cool down after exercising.
Do not begin these workouts until you get yourself in good physical condition by jogging 15 to 25 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week for at least 3 to 4 weeks. This will strengthen your heart and lungs so it won't be too much of a demand on your body.
START YOUR TRAINING NOW!!!
Assistant Chief Brent Collins, Cleveland Fire Dept.
Firehouse.com Entry Level Contributor Author since 2002
Last edited by dmfireschool; 03-07-2013 at 06:37 AM.
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