1. #1
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    Default Firefighter Fitness

    As firefighters, career or volunteer, we have to maintain high levels of fitness to combat the stress of the job, the physical work, and to prevent injuries. As a Strength & Conditioning Coach, and volunteer firefighter, I am wondering how you have all learned about training and/or what do your current workouts look like?
    Yours in health & safety,
    Rich Meyer, Strength Coach
    Author of FAST Responders: The Ultimate Guide to Firefighter Conditioning
    www.functionalfirefitness.com
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    The Scott FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE - everything i've learned about fitness and living a healthy lifestyle, i've learned from running Combat.
    WILD MAN
    www.whitehorsecombat.com
    "Toughest two minutes in sports!"
    If you want to be hard - you have to train hard!

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    Default Combat 2005

    Have the dates for FF Combat 2005 been released yet?
    Yours in health & safety,
    Rich Meyer, Strength Coach
    Author of FAST Responders: The Ultimate Guide to Firefighter Conditioning
    www.functionalfirefitness.com
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    Default 2005 FFC dates

    Hey Wildman,

    GREAT site! Promo videos are awesome. Does your team compete in Canada only or do you compete in the United States as well? I have decided to enter 2 competitions in 2005. Any advice for a rookie?
    Yours in health & safety,
    Rich Meyer, Strength Coach
    Author of FAST Responders: The Ultimate Guide to Firefighter Conditioning
    www.functionalfirefitness.com
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    MadMaxx, congrats on making the decision to compete in the Combat Challenge. You will forever remember (or regret) the decision. I have competed in a total of 5 Challenges over the last two seasons.

    In regards to training, it depends on what you have available to you. Give us an ideal of the materials you have and we can give some advise.

    However, one thing for sure, get in as good cardio shape as you can. Best thing for this and to perform the first task is a stairmaster. I usually practice by doing interval training. I will sprint for 1 minute and go a normal pace for 2 minutes. If you can get a hose pack setup like a highrise pack and carry it on your shoulder. Alternate shoulders because never know what side you will be on.

    Of course this will help a lot, but if you can, don full turnouts including pack and find a building where you can climb some stairs. (This is the thing that I miss the most because I do not have a place to practice).

    Like I said, give us an ideal of what you have (home gym, fitness center, etc) and we can give you some tips.

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    Madmaxx,
    Thanks for the complement! That means a lot coming from my brothers. I really try to capture the pain and agony we all face when running combat. You can’t get out there and run a PB every time and I really find that it’s the races with the falls and recoveries that mean the most. If I’ve learned one thing from my team over the last 11 races is that, it’s not the victories but rather the struggle that defines our character.
    Yes, we compete on both Firefit and On-target courses. We have just recently returned from the World Challenge XIII in Las Vegas. We will be hosting our own competition here in the Yukon on May 21st and hope to attract a few Alaskan teams. We had the opportunity to meet our brothers from the newly activated Team Anchorage, and were amazed by there accomplishments in training. Truly a great up and coming team – one to be watched!
    Great your entering the “toughest two minutes in Sport” I believe that firefighter fitness is often over looked. Just as important as checking your truck at the beginning of the shift, or ensuring your radios function, or your training is up to date, your body has got to be good to go as well. Your decision to take on the challenge is very commendable, and I’ll look forward to hearing how you do this season. Start with the “simple” goal of just finishing… then work your way up.
    VollieFireman knows his stuff – so I won’t repeat what he’s stated. But I would add that if you have access to an Air-pak, you should try running with air flowing once or twice prior to your race. If you have any sort of claustrophobia concerns, this practice will give you confidence to get through the race!
    Good luck, train hard! If you ever require specific information on anything Combat, don’t hesitate to drop me or VollieFireman a line.
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    WILD MAN
    www.whitehorsecombat.com
    "Toughest two minutes in sports!"
    If you want to be hard - you have to train hard!

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    Default Thanks for the advice!

    Thank you Wildman & Volliefireman for the advice. Over the weekend, I made sure to watch and tape the Worlds from Vegas. You can bet that I'll be studying that over many times! As far as available equipment, I have access to 2 private training facilities, one being athletically-based. I am going to improvise a bit in making equipment to mimic the equipment used on the course. I've also chosen a Combat in May in Massachussetts and one in September in Maryland. I figure the first combat will help familiarize me with the course, and then I'll be able to compete in September. As far as training, I have my program laid out. And while cardio is a part of it, I am also emphasizing strength, power, and metabolic conditioning. So, towards the May Challenge, I'll be busting my butt. Have you found any good resources specifically for firefighter fitness?
    Yours in health & safety,
    Rich Meyer, Strength Coach
    Author of FAST Responders: The Ultimate Guide to Firefighter Conditioning
    www.functionalfirefitness.com
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    I look forward to seeing you in Haverhill,Ma. in May. It is rare that we see an event here in the northeast that early in the season. Right now it looks like there will be 4 dates that I will be able to drive to thus keeping my costs down. Last year was my 12 yr in the challenge with 25 races under my belt. Getting ready to start looking for sponsors with the goal of a full season on the tour. Being a guy that is not physically big I have to depend on technique rather than brut strength. Some guys have different parts of the event that they are better at then others. As you saw on ESPN there are some human wenchs out there. I would love to be able to do the hose hoist in less than 20 pulls but can only pull the rope to my shoulder. Being short doesnt help either.

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    Ahh but... being short(er) probably helps in going up and coming down the stairs, as well as through the cones. The Keiser and hose drag are equal opportunity killers, while taller guys seam to struggle less with the hoist and Randy.
    As for a “good resources specifically for firefighter fitness”; I’ve found a few, but stick with the tried and true stairs, weighted stairs, and course. Tough to keep the motivation up this time of year, but as long as you keep it going, the less it will hurt come January.
    WILD MAN
    www.whitehorsecombat.com
    "Toughest two minutes in sports!"
    If you want to be hard - you have to train hard!

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    Default Let's Rock!

    I taped the Combat that aired on ESPN last Sunday, and plan on studying it so I can put together one hell of a training program! I also have a couple of guys in my company interested in the challenge. I really didn't think that was going to happen. Right now I'm in a general conditioning phase for this week, then I am going to change my program next week. Next week starts a hypertrophy program to add a little bit of muscle before I go into a strength phase. Of all the things on my plate this year for business, the Challenge is for me...and I can't wait! Does anyone have any suggestions about a make-shift Rescue Randy?
    Yours in health & safety,
    Rich Meyer, Strength Coach
    Author of FAST Responders: The Ultimate Guide to Firefighter Conditioning
    www.functionalfirefitness.com
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    Post Randy Sucks!

    Sorry Madmaxx; never had to make one before. Nothing seams to be able to replace the real thing. Folks try with 2 1/2 inch hose, but remember, the guy has to weigh 175 lbs!
    If you are interested in purchasing one for your team - you can check out www.firefighterchallenge.com or visit www.simulaids.com. They run about $1000, and seem to last us about 3 months. Yes, I said 3 months! They fall apart fairly easy, but we haven't been able to find a suitable replacement. So, at least twice a year, our chief buys us a new Randy.
    You know, there are enough of us out there that could build a better rescue doll for the Challenge… just need to link up with the right people to get the job done right!
    It’s great that you’ve got some more firefighters interested in the toughest two minutes in sport! You guys are gonna do a great job!
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    WILD MAN
    www.whitehorsecombat.com
    "Toughest two minutes in sports!"
    If you want to be hard - you have to train hard!

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    Hey Wildman, exactly how is Randy falling apart? I think that you are lucky that the Chief will spend $2000 a year, even more in your Canadian money. Maybe it is just that Randy does not like the cold up there.

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    Fitguy,
    Yea, we're well supported by our department. No, we don't leave him out in the snow - he lives in our underground garage where it's a plesent 65 degrees year round.
    Randy falls apart at the hinges first, usually at the hips and the knees. His joints start to rip and then the ball-bearings fall out. Hands and feet are next although this isn't a big deal. When you have hundreds of steel balls draining out of him at a time, it's time to retire him to the burn house or extrication training.
    WILD MAN
    www.whitehorsecombat.com
    "Toughest two minutes in sports!"
    If you want to be hard - you have to train hard!

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    Default Re: Let's Rock!

    Originally posted by madmaxx
    Does anyone have any suggestions about a make-shift Rescue Randy?
    If you're just looking for something to drag, fill a set of old coveralls - put a couple sandbags in the torso area, etc. Also, grapplers/mma competitors that can't afford dummies build them like this:
    http://www.geocities.com/fightraining/grappled2.html

    Don't know if any of this helps...

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    Great thread...The fire service has to put more focus on what's really killing firefighters and thats heart attack, heart disease and stress. These events statistically have been at the top for ever, this should by far be the most dominating topic facing the fire service today.

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    Couldn't agree more! I read an article that said almost 50% of FF LODD in 2004 were due to Heart Attacks brought on by fatigue/stress.
    Entitled “The 2005 Firefighter Safety Challenge" by Mr. DAVID F. PETERSON - Firehouse.Com Contributor

    "50% of the firefighter fatalities were from traumatic injuries (asphyxiation, burns, drowning, vehicle crashes)

    50% of the firefighter fatalities were non-traumatic injuries (heart attacks and strokes. 49 deaths were from heart attacks!)"

    Not at all surprising considering the lack of emphasis placed on Health and Fitness in the fire service in general. Even on Firehouse.com... How often do you see a pole relating to health on the home page? It's often "What color bunker gear do you have?" or "Do you have integrated PASS?" or "How many FF's on an engine?” It's depresses me.

    Equally important as checking your gear in the morning getting ready for that first run, is ensuring you’re physically capable of doing the job safely – cardiovascular strength is the key. Not biceps curls and bench press…
    Last edited by Wildman51; 02-07-2005 at 10:53 AM.
    WILD MAN
    www.whitehorsecombat.com
    "Toughest two minutes in sports!"
    If you want to be hard - you have to train hard!

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    Default My thoughts

    As a Strength and Conditioning Coach, my responsibilities are to study human performance, assess function, and design programs to make them better. Since becoming a firefighter and taking a few physical tests, I can't understand how traditional, machine-based training programs are still vampant. In the fitness and sports conditioning industries, information turns over every 12-18 months. There's been a big push for "sport-specific" programs in the last 5-10 years. Essentially, it's about using a training system to train the human body for a specific sport. So, who cares, right? Well, I think the same has to apply to firefighting. When you're working in an extremely dangerous and volatile environment, doing 10 sets of bench presses and leg presses just don't prepare the human body in the best possible way. I think the answer lies in creating better training programs that are time efficient, integrative, and fun. Since our job requires movement, our training programs should involve movement. I can't say the "attitude" of the fire service needs to change, because I haven't been around long enough to form that opinion. I express this in hopes of getting some information out there which can help fellow firefighters. Sorry for the long post!
    Yours in health & safety,
    Rich Meyer, Strength Coach
    Author of FAST Responders: The Ultimate Guide to Firefighter Conditioning
    www.functionalfirefitness.com
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