1. #1
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    Default Firefighter Fitness Assessment

    I am looking for some assistance. I have been tasked to come up with an fitness assessment program for our firefighters. I have come up with a couple of programs to implement after a couple of years, but my Chief would like to see a program that we can implement in the spring that the firefighters can accomplish as team objective and work them up to the individual assessments. Does anyone have any ideas? As for our individual assessments, we are looking at adopting the Department of Defense firefighter fitness test.

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    I'm in charge of setting up our fitness test. We are going on our 3rd year of testing. The first two years have just been for collecting data and to gather info from the guys and how they liked the testing. Last year we revamped most of the test. The guys didn't like some of the test and I felt some things weren't a good indicator of fitness but a outside fitness trainer gave us recommendations for starting with. Our committee is going to meet shortly to make a proposal on requirments and present it to the membership and have it added to the bylaws. Anyways our test and info we collect is: 3 min step test, leg press and bench press (both go off the your body weight/estimated max rating) sit and reach, bmi, resting heart rate, body weight, height. Then I have broke down by age group every 5 years so 20-25....and I have averaged out the data collected and it will be up to the committee like I said to come up with the actual standards that members will have to meet.

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    [QUOTE=DFDNick;905755]. . . our test and info we collect is: 3 min step test, leg press and bench press (both go off the your body weight/estimated max rating) sit and reach, bmi, resting heart rate, body weight, height. . . .QUOTE]

    Good event choices for testing fitness. Although, I don't think BMI should be part of that. It is so far off for people who have any muscle mass on them. I weigh about 205 (I should be more like 200 but the holidays killed me) and according to BMI I'm at the upper end of the overweight range. I'd have to loose 25 pounds to fit in the normal range! I'd look like a freakin' crack head if I was that skinny!

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    [QUOTE=firemike409;907793]
    Quote Originally Posted by DFDNick View Post
    . . . our test and info we collect is: 3 min step test, leg press and bench press (both go off the your body weight/estimated max rating) sit and reach, bmi, resting heart rate, body weight, height. . . .QUOTE]

    Good event choices for testing fitness. Although, I don't think BMI should be part of that. It is so far off for people who have any muscle mass on them. I weigh about 205 (I should be more like 200 but the holidays killed me) and according to BMI I'm at the upper end of the overweight range. I'd have to loose 25 pounds to fit in the normal range! I'd look like a freakin' crack head if I was that skinny!

    There is no standard we have for the BMI, we just collect the data, it's a machine that does it and it takes 5 sec so no big deal on.

    We had a meeting then, we are going off a point system. Bench Press, Leg Press, Sit and Reach, are on a 5 point scale. Then Step Test is a 10 point scale. Since the step test is a better indicator of fitness is why we weighted it more. So most points earned is 25. We broke down into 2 categories Fire Fighter and Truck Engineer. To be FF status must earn 25-15 points, I think there is going to be more discussion on TE for the cutoff as it's set low compared to the data we have collected but it's 14-5. No one was under 11 points from our data and I think if a person was under 10 they would be a liability.

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    Default Bmi

    I hate BMI as a measure of fitness. Truth is, if, you look at some people, their height to weight ratio is way off the charts, and they come out as overweight on the BMI chart. If that body mass is mostly muscle, they are functionally way better off than some other people.

    Is there a way you could do body fat analysis? The caliper testing is ok... but there can be a pretty big error variable due to measurment technique. What about having the body fat test underwater weighing trunk come? They have a tank right there in the truck, and it takes about 10 minutes per person. That's the gold standard! They would probably give you a great rate for multiple people...

    http://www.bodyfattest.com/index.php...d=35&Itemid=46

    The rest of what you guys are talking about sounds great... it's just that the BMI is a waste of time...

    Dr. jen
    www.fireagility.com

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    Smile Fat measurements

    I agree with the Doc, BMI is a poor measurement of fat make up. We (Portland Fire and Rescue) have looked at all the other ways : calipers too much variable due to technique and lack of practice on the part of the PFT's, water immersion is too expensive and a logistical nightmare... we are leaning towards electrical impedance (more sensor than a scale version) using a multiphase unit. They are spendy but the prices are dropping. Calgary uses it with good results.

    In my clinic we have developed a screening that not only looks at strength but muscular endurance as well as movement efficiency. It was derived from our athletic screening, humans can compensate for just about any limitation in movement, weakness ot injury and still perform a task. This issue can lead to injury later on. Our screening addresses these issues through a series of progressive exercise routines based on a client's score. If they score well then they can do what ever they want. If the score is low, then we address the limitation. Basically improve performance through improved movement efficiency

    Orlando Gomez FF, PT, PFT
    www.adapttraining.com

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    Default Function vs. How it Looks

    OGomez has a very good perspective. Functional capacity is what's important.... doing the job without ending up injured or worse.

    I have noticed the electrical impedence ones are not so accurate either... but he probably knows of more recent models that are better than what I have been exposed to.

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    Default

    A world champion body builder would have too high a BMI even though he had only 3% body fat.

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    I think BMI is pretty useless as is the sit and reach for firefighter asessments.

    Sometimes I guess you have to make do with what you have.




    JC
    http://www.ultimatefirefighterworkout.blogspot.com

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    Default

    On the World Champion body builder subject:
    No offense to anyone who is a body builder or anything, but regarless of the BMI, those guys often loose their agility and flexibility because they carry too much muscle mass. Further, if they do they deal-e-o on perfromance enhacing drugs... and they get bigger than they should have via that route, their hearts were not made to cover a body that large. It is very hard on their hearts. Then taxing the heart with the adrenaline/cortisol release resulting from the intense nature of this job, well... it does not bode well.

    Go to the blog mentioned above, and read- at least the first paragraph...

    I'll shut up now... we get the point about BMI...

    Dr. Jen

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    Last edited by westchester47; 03-11-2008 at 11:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by westchester47 View Post
    I think BMI is pretty useless as is the sit and reach for firefighter asessments.

    Sometimes I guess you have to make do with what you have.




    JC
    http://www.ultimatefirefighterworkout.blogspot.com
    Sit and Reach might be worthless in your book, but NFPA says you have to test for flexibility. Sit and Reach is the easiest and quickest test it's not that we are making do with what we have it's just the best option I think.

    We just collect the BMI by the electrical impedance machine. There is no standard that we have on it. I agree with you guys some what on your comments hence we don't have a standard on it.

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    My main concerns with the sit and reach are;
    1.How does the modified sit-and-reach test correct for individual differences in arm, trunk, and leg lengths?

    2.So you sit and reach and it seems your hamstrings are tight. The next question is what do you do about it? Stretch the hamstrings? Stretching the hamstrings will most likely NOT improve hamstring flexibility because they may be tight due to an anteriorly rotated pelvis which is making the hamstrings stay in a virtual contracted state. Or...

    3. The hamstrings may be tight due to :
    -faulty movement patterns
    -inappropriate firing of the muscle
    -poor stabilization
    -poor mobility
    -poor CNS patterning
    -or all the above littered with some compensation problems.

    The sit and reach does not answer any of those questions, therefore it is a worthless test.

    The best option is a Functional Movement Screen which will identify faulty movement patterns which can lead to tight hamstrings. When those patterns are corrected along with stabilization, dynamic mobility, muscle activation, and soft tissue work, there is an improvement in CNS patterning, and appropriate muscle firing which allow the hamstrings to return to their synergistic role and not be overtaxed and tight.

    JC
    http://www.ultimatefirefighterworkout.blogspot.com
    Last edited by westchester47; 02-21-2008 at 03:22 PM.

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