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  • Firefighter workouts

    I know there's probably a thousand threads on here about this but I wanted to ask some questions. I currently train with mostly bodyweight exercises (pull-ups, push-ups, dips, dive bomber push-ups, lunges, squat jumps, tire flips also) and running for cardio. I also do a lot of sledgehammer work on a tire twice a week. I don't want to hear about crossfit because I don't like it and I don't care what you have to say about it because it's not going to change my mind. I don't want to to be average at 30 things I want to be the best physically fit person for firefighting around. I'm probably going to get back to some strength training weight lifting soon and eventually get a weighted vest. What suggestions do you all have that I can do for cheap that will make me ready for the job other than what I do now?

  • #2
    Can I ask what specifically you have against crossfit? Not trying to change your mind, I am just curious...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by benjy22 View Post
      I want to be the best physically fit person for firefighting around. I'm probably going to get back to some strength training weight lifting soon and eventually get a weighted vest. What suggestions do you all have that I can do for cheap that will make me ready for the job other than what I do now?
      FF is more cardio and endurance than brute strength. Pull hose..recover..pull ceiling..recover..deadlift fat patient on a cot..recover.

      Weight vest: good idea.
      Find a big tractor tire on craigslist and flip it, with the vest on.

      I don't like doing Crossfit. But bang-for-buck it works for me. So I do it.

      Comment


      • #4
        I've found doing intense circuit training along with full body workout plans to be effective. I usually follow something like 1 month of circuit training 3 times a week then a full body plan 3 times a week for about 2 months with cardio thrown in and then back to circuit.

        Get the best of both worlds, cardio with each type if done right, endurance with circuit and strength with a normal lifting plan. When you can, try doing each with a 40-50 lb. weight vest. Hell, you'll pack on muscle too with the right diet.

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        • #5
          I've never followed crossfit closely, but I have cherry picked their WOD's from time to time. I do have them to thank for motivating me to join an olympic weightlifting club back in the day. I always did powerlifting, bodybuilding, occasional distance running, and lots of sprints/hill sprints. When preparing for the CPAT back in 2006/2007, I stumbled onto Mike Mahler's Aggressive Strength website. That introduced me to kettlebells. I use my set of 28kg's and my 40kg regularly. Further web searching using keywords from the site, such as snatch and clean led me to crossfit and rosstraining.com. I found firegroundfitness.com and like it as well.

          Nowadays, I do heavy/explosive barbell lifts every third or fourth day. This includes snatches, cleans, OH squats, the DL, back squat, BB hack squat, stc. I do either kb complexes or bb complexes the next day. Another day may be core work, some exotic lifts like windmills, pistols, TGU's, etc. with some interval treadmill running and weighted stepmill work.

          For example, yesterday I did 64 28kg kettlebell TGU's for time, then 100 8 count bodybuilders with a 43# vest for time, then two rounds of 96's with the vest (24 squats, 24 lunges, 24 squat jumps, 24 walking lunges). The evening workout (I was detailed to a slow station) was pullups and ring dips, plank variations with the vest, 300 kb swings for time, and 15 mins on the stepmill with the vest and a pair of 15's.

          My special project is to get to 15 overhead squats with bodyweight:

          http://danjohn.net/the-overhead-squat-article/

          I'm getting close to bw, so I'm hoping to get it by summer or fall.
          "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who are not." Thomas Jefferson

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          • #6
            Thanks for all the suggestions everybody. I'd really like to get some heavy kettlebells as well. When I looked into crossfit I found that they seem to have gotten away from what really made them famous. I just think it's all bull**** marketing as of now. I can piece together my own circuit training with powerlifting and cardio but I don't like crossfit because of a few hardcore crossfit people I know. Could just be my personality and opinion but kipping pull ups point to a program with major flaws. When was the last time you saw a Marine do a kipping pull up in boot camp? I think crossfit will come and go. Thanks again for the great suggestions. I'm definitely going to use them.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by benjy22 View Post
              Thanks for all the suggestions everybody. I'd really like to get some heavy kettlebells as well. When I looked into crossfit I found that they seem to have gotten away from what really made them famous. I just think it's all bull**** marketing as of now. I can piece together my own circuit training with powerlifting and cardio but I don't like crossfit because of a few hardcore crossfit people I know. Could just be my personality and opinion but kipping pull ups point to a program with major flaws. When was the last time you saw a Marine do a kipping pull up in boot camp? I think crossfit will come and go. Thanks again for the great suggestions. I'm definitely going to use them.
              I got to the point where I could do multiple muscle-ups, to the point where I did the nasty guys WOD (Jeff, the guy on the left, works on my dept, and owns CrossfitFairfax) in just under 11 minutes, as prescribed. The muscle-ups look cool, but they don't benefit me in any way that improves my job performance. They're a gimmick exercise, like kipping pullups and one arm bb snathces.

              Yes, I agree, crossfit is mostly marketing nowadays. High rep olympic weightlifting moves are a bad idea to begin with, let alone by someone who received minimal instruction from someone who got their trainer cert from the organization in a weekend. If you're not USAW ceritfied at the least, I don't want you showing me how to O-lift. They allow poor form in their high rep WOD's in general as well. I remember reading somewhere in the sea of crossfit literature that 80% correct form is acceptable for a metcon WOD. WTF? A program needs structure. Perhaps you want to apply undualating periodization. For example, you may want to greatly improve one quality, get a modest improvement in another, and maintain the others. When you hit you goals, change up what you want to emplhasize, but don't lose ground on the other things. You need planning to achieve that, not purposefully random WOD's.

              One thing I know for sure, it's easier to take a strong person and get them conditioned than it is to take a well conditioned person and make them strong. If you increase your strength and power, you can use more resistance for your conditioning sessions, and make more dramatic improvements.

              As far as kettlebells, you want them to be cast as one piece, not with the handle welded onto the ball. I know for sure that lifelineusa (the company I buy from) and dragondoor are one piece. I don't know about the others.
              Last edited by edpmedic; 02-19-2011, 09:38 PM.
              "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who are not." Thomas Jefferson

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for all the suggestions everybody. I'd really like to get some heavy kettlebells as well. When I looked into crossfit I found that they seem to have gotten away from what really made them famous. I just think it's all bull**** marketing as of now. I can piece together my own circuit training with powerlifting and cardio but I don't like crossfit because of a few hardcore crossfit people I know. Could just be my personality and opinion but kipping pull ups point to a program with major flaws. When was the last time you saw a Marine do a kipping pull up in boot camp? I think crossfit will come and go. Thanks again for the great suggestions. I'm definitely going to use them.
                I agree also. From what I've seen it seems like nothing more than people trying to get through each exercise as fast as possible with terrible form

                Watching people do kipping's make my joints hurt.
                Last edited by ddrum; 02-20-2011, 08:17 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Guys-

                  It seems to me that specific exercise routines are fairly well covered above (pro and con), so I can only add something i've been experimenting with over the last few months with great results in terms of job specific performance. I've found that short term, high intensity workouts do the most good. Running on the treadmill for two hours isn't going to help you be a better firefighter, and i'm not sold on the whole light weight/high rep stuff. I've thought alot lately about workouts that reflect the duration and intensity of the time in which you drain a bottle of air used in a fire situation. I haven't followed this exactly to say a 30 minute bottle, but my general results have been stellar. I find that my fireground performance and what i've got in the tank have improved immensely.

                  Hope this gives food for thought.

                  Paul C.
                  PaulC
                  FF/EMTP
                  City of Las Vegas Fire & Rescue
                  gethiredbyfire.com & The Fire Jobs App

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PaulC. View Post
                    Hi Guys-

                    It seems to me that specific exercise routines are fairly well covered above (pro and con), so I can only add something i've been experimenting with over the last few months with great results in terms of job specific performance. I've found that short term, high intensity workouts do the most good. Running on the treadmill for two hours isn't going to help you be a better firefighter, and i'm not sold on the whole light weight/high rep stuff. I've thought alot lately about workouts that reflect the duration and intensity of the time in which you drain a bottle of air used in a fire situation. I haven't followed this exactly to say a 30 minute bottle, but my general results have been stellar. I find that my fireground performance and what i've got in the tank have improved immensely.

                    Hope this gives food for thought.

                    Paul C.
                    Excellent point. One of my Lt's who does crossfit on a regular basis cautioned me to pace myself on the fireground. He knows that I was doing quick, brutal, 15-20 min sesions, due to working at a busy station at the time. He said that you'll be able to go at high speed for around 20 mins, then your tank is empty and you'll be sluggish and tired when going back in, doing overhaul, etc. My answer to that was to increase work capacity.

                    Once or twice a week, when on the engine (I ride the box half the time) I'll grab my kettlebells or a barbell, and decide on a certain amount of reps that I want to do for the day. I started at 250, and am now over 1,000. I'm doing single and double kb work (with the 28kb's) for sets of swings, snatches, renegade man makers, TGU's, front squats, renegade rows, etc. I take longer rest periods than I normally do. For example, if I want to do 10 sets of 30 on a specific exercise, for hard metcon I'd take 45 second rests. When I'm just going for numbers, I might take a minute or 1:15. You get a lot of volume, it's easy to pick up where you left off or to chip away at in in 15-20 minute blocks throughout the day as calls dictate, and you're not spent if you get a box or something.

                    After a while, your body gets used to doing all that volume. You can work 2,3,4 hour incidents and be okay.
                    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who are not." Thomas Jefferson

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                    • #11
                      One more question on this topic. How heavy of a vest should I try to get? Should I just get the heaviest one like an 80 or 100 lb vest and then work my way up to it?

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                      • #12
                        One more question on this topic. How heavy of a vest should I try to get? Should I just get the heaviest one like an 80 or 100 lb vest and then work my way up to it?
                        I"d really start lighter at a 40-50. 60 is plenty for me when I do cardio. No need to overkill and injure yourself.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ddrum View Post
                          I"d really start lighter at a 40-50. 60 is plenty for me when I do cardio. No need to overkill and injure yourself.
                          I believe for the CPAT, the vest is 50 lbs for the entire course, with 25 lbs extra for the stair master portion of the test. So you're looking at 75 lbs total when you're doing the stairs in the CPAT.

                          If you're going to be taking CPAT's, you'd probably want to train with 75+ so it won't be a surprise when you go to do it. Training with 60 lbs will definitely help out, but when you get those extra 15 lbs on the test date, it may be a lot harder than you assumed, because you're not conditioned to it. Just my thoughts.

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                          • #14
                            I believe for the CPAT, the vest is 50 lbs for the entire course, with 25 lbs extra for the stair master portion of the test. So you're looking at 75 lbs total when you're doing the stairs in the CPAT.

                            If you're going to be taking CPAT's, you'd probably want to train with 75+ so it won't be a surprise when you go to do it. Training with 60 lbs will definitely help out, but when you get those extra 15 lbs on the test date, it may be a lot harder than you assumed, because you're not conditioned to it. Just my thoughts.
                            Yes, you are right. I was just throwing my thoughts out there when using a vest on a regular basis, not preparing for any kind of testing.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Whoops, assumed you were working out for a test.

                              But definitely. using the vest when working out will help increase your strength, but it'll make the workouts a bit harder for ya.

                              Comment

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