1. #1
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    Default increasing upperbody strength

    So - I'm training to apply for a firefighting position in Calgary. As a woman, I am most concerned about building my upper body strength. Anyone have any suggestions for the best couple of exercises that I can concentrate on to build upper body strenght? I'm already doing a gazillion pushups ....

    Thanks!

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    Keep up the good work. keep doing your push-ups.what you can do to help... if your doing alot of them is change your hand placement. use a tight close grip and do some that way until you can't do anymore. take a little break then use a wide grip and do the same. If your still doing alot of push ups...try to do your push-ups as slow as you can. This will be A LOT harder and will build muscle stamina. If your not already...start working your legs out... this will help with overall endurance and strength...alot of leverage and lifting is done with the help of your legs...if your legs are exhausted before your upper body, you might be in for a long day...especially if your fighting a fire. I HOPE THIS HELPS YOU OUT...GOOD LUCK!!!

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    The best way to increase upperbody strength is to utilize compound movements that involve multiple muscle groups. A pushup is an example of a compound movement (and a longstay with conditioning!), but after you're strong enough to push your bodyweight, you must progress to weighted pushups (backpack with plate in it). Other effective movements will be dips, overhead barbell/dumbbell presses in standing position (push press, push jerk, military press, Bradford press), pulling exercises (barbell/dumbbell rows, chins, and pullups). DIABLO1 is right about your leg training. Deadlifts, squats, lunges, and step ups are great for total leg development. Remember, in firefighting, you will rarely move one joint at a time. For training strength, perform 4-10 sets of 1-8 reps. Your rest periods should be at least 3 minutes. Make sure you factor this into your program time.

    PLEASE don't be afraid of turning into a meathead!!

    When building strength and using heavy weight with low reps, the total time your muscles are under tension is not long enough to produce a hypertrophic response (bigger muscle). With this method, you are training your nervous system to access more of what you already have. Yes, over time you will develop muscles, but at least they will be strong, functional, and LOOK GOOD!

    One of my pet peeves is when women avoid using heavy weights for fear of turning into "those women in the magazines." You must understand those women are sponsored to train for hours each day and are pharmocologically enhanced. As a firefighter, you will be lifting heavy weights, so you must prepare your body for such. Good luck!!
    Yours in health & safety,
    Rich Meyer, Strength Coach
    Author of FAST Responders: The Ultimate Guide to Firefighter Conditioning
    www.functionalfirefitness.com
    *Sign up for FREE training journal

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    Thanks for the advice. I am doing lower body work as well. I have been alternating between cardio and weights (3x each per week) and then alternating my weights between upper and lower body.

    Is there an advantage to doing weights on alternate days as opposed to combining it all in one workout? Should I be doing both upper/lower body in the same day - rather than splitting them up?

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    Originally posted by crashtest
    Thanks for the advice. I am doing lower body work as well. I have been alternating between cardio and weights (3x each per week) and then alternating my weights between upper and lower body.

    Is there an advantage to doing weights on alternate days as opposed to combining it all in one workout? Should I be doing both upper/lower body in the same day - rather than splitting them up?
    At the end of last year I was doing a similar workout. I was working with weights on Mon, Wed, and Fri. Tues, Thurs, and Sat was cario and abs/core. I alternated between lower body and upper body. One week Mon and Fri would be upper body and Wed would be lower body. The next week Mon and Fri would be lower body and Wed would be upper body. I was pretty happy with the workout and I would definitely recommend it for someone like you training to take the firefighter test. So keep up the good work. I wouldn't recommend doing full body workouts. Full body workouts seemed to be geared more towards beginners and people who only have a couple of days a week to work out. One last thing, you should definitely include some stair training into your cardio days if you can. I'd recommend sprinting up the stairs or jogging up the stairs with weights (a weight vest or something similar) and then walking down and repeatng the cycle.

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    True, the beginner gets the "total body workout" that we've all seen: leg ext./curl, chest machine, seated row, DB lateral raise, crunches, bicep curls and tricep pushdowns. That's for the beginner. Total body workouts can be manipulated to suit the conditioning level and experience of the trainee-they're definintely not just for the beginner.

    I also like total body workouts because they train your body consistently with its integrated function as a firefighter.

    That being said, a training program must be suitable for each individual and must follow the training principles which govern the world of program design (specificity, GPO, etc.). Otherwise, regardless of whichever program you're doing, you'll burnout physically or mentally.

    Some essential elements of designing a program are creativity, experience, knowledge, and applicability.
    Yours in health & safety,
    Rich Meyer, Strength Coach
    Author of FAST Responders: The Ultimate Guide to Firefighter Conditioning
    www.functionalfirefitness.com
    *Sign up for FREE training journal

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    Thumbs up Push ups

    Quote Originally Posted by crashtest
    So - I'm training to apply for a firefighting position in Calgary. As a woman, I am most concerned about building my upper body strength. Anyone have any suggestions for the best couple of exercises that I can concentrate on to build upper body strenght? I'm already doing a gazillion pushups ....

    Thanks!
    Push ups are the best way to increase upperbody strength. Check out this website www.thestrengthbuilder.com I have used it for a couple of months now and the difference is unbelievable.

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    Just remember that doing pushups for a PAT is really more of an endurance test than it is a strength test even though they say they are testing you for upperbody strength. If they were truely testing for upper body strength, you would be doing a 1 or 2 rep maximum effort movement such as a bench press.

    To get ready for pushups, do pushups. Alternate hand positions and foot placement and even move your feet to higher or lower platforms to hit the different parts of your chest. As far as weights, high reps and low weight to build endurance. Also, remeber that a HUGE part of any pushing movement is triceps.

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