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  1. #1
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    Default Alternatives to running

    My FD uses running as a test to qualify for your job. We have had several people come up with knee problems. If you fail the run ( mile and a half) you are disqualified. Does any body know of any other testing that is being used such as an elliptical machine instead of running.


  2. #2
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    Bryan,

    I would not think so. I would guess one of the reasons for using a run for a test is make sure the canidates body will not break down on the job. I do not meen to belittle the people you are testing with, but if they have knee issues with a 1.5 mi run this is not the job for them. Someone cannot call timeout and ask for a nonimpact position within a fireground. One would need both cardiac and physical(body structure) stamina pass the test.

    I use an eliptical and running as part of my training. When I first started running my knees started to kill me during and after the run. I backed off on the distance and kept training. I now run 4 mi each session twice a week without any pain. My point is they may not have knee issues. It may be that their knees are not in shape yet.

  3. #3
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    Default Alternatives to running

    What I am saying is the running has caused or triggered some firefighters to have knee problems or pain that was not complaining before. What we are looking for is a non impact exercise. Running around on the fire scene is something that I personnaly would rather not see. I understand the point of being in shape both cardio and strength.
    Last edited by bryan312; 03-14-2006 at 08:27 PM.

  4. #4
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    Don't know about the civilian side, but Air Force FF are alowed to use a computerized bicycle to do the test if they have knee problems. I have taken the bicycle test (too cold to run in the ND winter) and felt more pressure on my knees than running. How strange is that?????
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

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  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber JHR1985's Avatar
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    Before I was hired, our test used to have running. But it was taken out because, how does running relate to a fireground scene. Your not going to run in a fire or run around outside. Granted, I know its going to push your body but all the other abilities test something thats actually directly related to a fire. Pulling hose, climbing stairs, etc etc.

    If someone was hurt on the abilities test, could they sue because you made them job even though you should never have to run on a fireground?

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    It is part of an overall package. Fitness can be worked on like anything else. If guys can not run on a regular basis, use a bike, eliptical, stairmaster, swim or whatever. Build up your cardio.
    I'm not the token buff firefighter, I weigh 250lbs, but a mile and a half is no problem. Get with a trainer and build up those knees.

  7. #7
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    I think running is way over rated. I know that I have long lasting negative effect on my body from being ran into the ground during the police academy. I was 260 at the time but in decent shape and not a high bf %, but my weight and running did not mix. There are other better ways to get your cardio including low impact aerobics, bike riding, swimming, boxing...ect.

  8. #8
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    Default Running and Knees

    It's tough on them, alright.

    Most everything we do relies on the lateral quads, and thus over develops them. Running is the worst offender. This results in over development of that lateral quad as compared with the medial quad. This sometimes ends up causing patello-femoral disfunction- where the knee cap tracks up and out in stead of running in the groove between the femoral condyles. This can wear away the cartiledge on the posterior aspect of the patella. The diagnosis is: chondromalacia patella. The inflammation that festers in the encapsulated joint makes the tissues softer, and more prone to injury. Then ACLs start tearing and the meniscus gets chewed up... it starts getting ugly. Not everyone has this go that far. The best idea is to start doing stuff yourself when it first starts bothering you BEFORE you tear up your knee.

    So- there are a few ways to stop this process yourself:

    1. Stop the inflammation. I like to use either a dixie cup ice cube for 5 minutes circling around the knee cap- or 4 regular cubes, one right after the other. Wait at least 20 minutes, and do it again. Do it at least 4 times per day for 1-2 weeks.

    2. Stop running on it- maybe not forever, but for now. Once you have built up the medial quad and changed the way the joint functions, you might be able to go back. (I prefer jumping rope. Use little, tiny boxer jumps. Just enough to clear the rope. 120-180 rpms. It's easier on my knees.)

    3. Ride a bike (20 min., 3 times per week) with the seat high so your leg is straight but not hyper-extended at the bottom). This will work your medial quad. Use little to no tension. Strap your toes in so you can pull up and push down. Empasize the PULL UP in your riding. This creates a negative pressure inside the joint capsule on the up-swing. It will increase the metabolism and healing speed within the joint by pumping more fluid in/out/through. It also wears off the little crystals of calcification that can start to grow on the posterior aspect of the patella.

    4. Do leg extensions in the last 15 degrees of extension (from slight bend to staight, down and repeat). Don't work through pain on this. Stop if it hurts. Stick to the other things for a while if you need to. Use light weight, high rep. Don't force into hyper-extension.

    5. Take Glucoseamine sulfate- 1200-1500 mg/day depending on your size. DON'T take glucoseamine HCL- it won't work. YOu can read up on it. I have not heard of any side effects of the Glucoseamine sulfate. Read the book: "The Arthritis Cure". This is called preventative care.

    I think you could train more safely on a elliptical trainer to get your cardio done. Work on the things I have mentioned for several weeks. Then run just a few times before the test. (Icing afterwards). Leave 3-4 days between
    your last run and your test. Running 1 1/2 miles is really not so bad when your knees feel good!

    Best of luck!

    Dr. Jen
    www.fireagility.com

  9. #9
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    Learn how to swim. Even if you're not good at it, it will be a great workout (actually a harder workout when ya can't swim well!).
    Great cardio, good for flexibility, easy on the knees. Some people worry about shoulder cuff repetition injuries, but if you're relatively healthy I doubt you'll be swimming enough to injure the shoulder.
    Give it a try!

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    How about a version of the Pack test used by the US Forest Service.

    Have them walk that 1 1/2 miles with an SCBA ()not breathing air) wearing a coat and carrying a typical tool or hose load. Would effectivly test thier cardio abilities without requiring running, and would be also be more "real-life" in terms of the stress on thier bodies.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drjmilus
    Most everything we do relies on the lateral quads, and thus over develops them. Running is the worst offender. This results in over development of that lateral quad as compared with the medial quad. This sometimes ends up causing patello-femoral disfunction- where the knee cap tracks up and out in stead of running in the groove between the femoral condyles. This can wear away the cartiledge on the posterior aspect of the patella. The diagnosis is: chondromalacia patella. The inflammation that festers in the encapsulated joint makes the tissues softer, and more prone to injury.
    WOW... all too familiar with this. The fact that my lateral quads were "over-developed" caused an injury requiring surgery to fix it. And for once... I can actually understand all the medical jargin!!
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

  12. #12
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    I helped start up a tactical medic program for the area team. One of the things I had to do was pass thier PT program which involved my running again. My now 45 y/o body has been prone to impact injuries all my adult life. I HATE RUNNING!
    yet, I had to run if i wanted to get on this team we were starting. I had biked all my life up untill four years before this came up and I had no aerobic capacilty. I took on a program of going to the gym five days a week using an eliptical machine as it minicked the movement of running but had no impact. I stayed away from running because I had three months to get ready and I did not want to spend any time working my legs in any other direction than running. I also took 1000 glucosamine TID. I added creatine in the last month. in the last month, I started to actually run first on the beach at the ocean nearby having my best friend and triathlete coaching me while she jogged next to me for a couple of runs. I then moved for the last three weeks to a rubberized track in my town that was the same design as the one where the test was being held. i ran with a stopwatch so i could watch my pace and get my body used to the track enviroment (different surface and no computer in front of you). I went to a small running store show store that was owned by runners and not some chain. they spent more than an hour with me, they talked to me about what i had to do and what my back ground was. They had me walk back and forth and jog in the small store to watch my 'gait'. They brought out 4 diff shoes and had me try each one on and take them outside annd run up the street (!!) to get the feel of them.
    This was very long but;

    1.) Focus on the target, not on fitness as a whole before the test.
    2.) $100 dollars spent on a pair of sneakers is much cheaper than an injury.
    3.) take your time and repel the male "I can do anything" ego. I gets you every time.
    4.) I STILL HATE RUNNING WITH A PASSION but I can do it now if I have to despite the damage 24 years of lifting stretchers full time.

    The following is not to be mistaken as the advice of someone who knows what he is doing but the musings of someone who had a challange and worked through many old injuries. I have now passed the test three times.
    Take it for what it is worth and good luck. I feel for all of you.
    27 years and still having a great time in the back of the truck :-)

  13. #13
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    BTW, If you are getting worse knee pain from the bike, you probably have the seat too low. It is a very common mistake. Take the fit advice a couple of postings up and save your knees.
    27 years and still having a great time in the back of the truck :-)

  14. #14
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    Default Glucoseamine Sulfate

    You were taking a loading dose of that stuff for a while, I guess. Hey- it works. I have a friend (cyclist/pro) whom tore up her knee doing heavy squats (375+) in grad school. They had to completely re-sect her left meniscus. The toold we used to try to re-grow it were:
    1. Glucose amine sulfate- 2000mg/day
    2. Ultrasound- which not everyone has.
    3. a bike- seat high, as mentioned above. With toes clips for the push-pull action
    4. Leg extensions in the last 15* of extension (never into hyper extension)

    They said she was bone on bone, and would always be that way. Funnny, a year later, she had re-grown a meniscus in there. It was eigher a miracle or the Glucose amine and the exercise... may the US helped, but probably not a ton.

    Just stickin' it out there in terms of what's possible!

    Dr. Jen
    www.fireagility.com

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