Workout to Prepare You for the CPAT: The Fire Department Physical Ability Test
The fire department physical ability test is one of the most difficult tests that firefighters have to face during their careers. They are required to perform various exercises which include push ups, sit up, pull ups, squats and other body weight movements. These exercises require great strength and stamina. In order to prepare yourself for this test you need to do some exercise routine.
The fire department physical ability test consists of several different parts. The first part is the push up test. This involves performing push ups with your hands at shoulder level and then raising them to the top position without letting go of the ground. You must keep your arms straight throughout all these exercises.
After completing this section, you will complete the second part of this test which is called “sit up”. Here you must raise your legs from the floor and hold them there while keeping your back flat on the floor. Finally, you will complete the final part of this test which is called “pull up” where you have to lift yourself off the ground and bring it overhead without letting go of it.
After completing all these exercises, you will be able to pass this test. However, if any of these exercises fail, then you may not pass this test. Strong determination is the key to success in this physical ability test. If you are fit and practice consistently then you will have had in the past.
Workouts for the Firefighter Physical Ability Test Focus on stamina, not strength: Firefighter tests require you to be in good shape, but they focus on stamina over strength. Your goal should be to improve your aerobic capacity as well as your muscular endurance. You need to be able to perform these tasks repeatedly, quickly and with as little breaks in between as possible. This requires a different workout than you might expect.
The best workouts to train for the Fire Department Physical Ability Tests focus on interval training, including high-intensity sprints alternated with periods of lighter activity such as jogging or even resting. You will be training to improve your anaerobic threshold, which refers to the pace you can run (or in this case exercise) before lactic acid builds up and causes you to slow down. Anaerobic exercise also improves your overall endurance by causing your muscles to store more glycogen, which is converted into energy. General Guidelines: Warm up for 10-15 minutes
apart from your cool down.
Perform the interval training 3-5 times a week.
Do not work your muscles to failure, stop 1-2 reps before this point.
Be sure to stretch your muscles after each workout. Warm up Proper warm up is essential before intense exercise. Jogging or cycling for at least 10 minutes is a good start, or do some jumping jacks and arm swings. Do not wear yourself out, but try and get your heart going to ready your body for the workout to follow.
Intervals Intense exercise requires intervals. Alternate periods of higher intensity with periods of lesser intensity to allow your muscles to recover. You need to push yourself during the intense periods, but never work to failure. This is a common mistake, so do not be discouraged if you have to stop several times during these high-intensity periods to catch your breath before continuing. The best way to time these intervals is by using a watch with a timer. For our purposes, we will be using an example of running in place for 60 seconds and resting for 30 seconds. Total time for the workout is 25 minutes, which can be extended or shortened according to your capacity. Warm up for 5-10 minutes at an easy jog
Alternate between 60 seconds of running in place at high intensity and 30 seconds of rest for 20 minutes.
Cool down for 5-10 minutes at an easy jog. Strength Training Despite the fact that the Fire Department Physical Ability Test does not place a great deal of emphasis on strength, it is still important to develop a strong muscular foundation. This type of training should be done at least 2 times a week, and can be used in combination with the interval training above. It may be beneficial to get guidance from a personal trainer.
During the strength training exercises you want your muscles to be fatigued within 10-12 reps. General Guidelines: Warm up for 10-15 minutes before working out.
For each exercise, warm up and do 3 sets of 10 reps with a weight you can easily handle. Cool down for 5-10 minutes after working out.
During the strength training exercises you want your muscles to be fatigued within 10-12 reps. Pull-ups
Pull down to the maximum extent of your abilities. Your chin should go over the bar, and straighten your arms completely before lowering your body again. Dumbbell Rows
This works your back muscles, specifically the large ones that run along the length of your spine.
Go through a full range of motion with your arms and pull each dumbbell up until it touches the side of your ribs.
Jog slowly on the treadmill for 1 minute. Increase the speed every 2 minutes until you are running at a pace of 8.5 mph (13 kph). Stay at this pace for 2 more minutes.
Continue increasing the speed by .5 miles (0.8 kilometers) per hour, and continue running at this pace for 2 minutes once you reach the new speed.
For example, if you start jogging at 4 mph (6.4 kph), after 2 minutes you will be running at 4.5 mph (7.24 kph).
After 2 minutes at this speed, you will increase the speed by .5 miles (0.8 kilometers) per hour until you reach 10 mph (16 kph). Run at this pace for 2 minutes, and then decrease the speed by .5 miles (0.8 kilometers) until you are back to your starting speed of 4 mph (6.4 kph).
Continue this pattern until you have completed 30 minutes of running. Callouses and Blisters If you are new to exercise, then you may develop callouses and blisters on your feet. The best way to avoid these problems is to keep your feet moisturized; apply lotion or Vaseline to your feet before you go for a jog. You should also wear socks made of cotton, and make sure that they do not have seams that will irritate your feet as you run.
If you develop a blister or a callous, do not pop it or pick at it! You should buy some Band-Aids and have blisters frozen for them to go away on their own. If you have a callous, file the edges down evenly with an emery board or pumice stone. Continue to moisturize your feet to keep your skin from cracking. As you become more endurance, your feet will become tougher and you will have less problems with them. Be sure to stretch before and after running. It is also a good idea to keep your legs straight when stretching, and hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds. Never bounce while you are stretching; this can actually cause damage to your muscles. If you are a woman, be sure to monitor your menstrual cycle and stop running immediately if you think you are about to start your period. With a little bit of precaution and care, you can prevent most problems from occurring. Check your pulse right before you start running, and then check it again when you are done. Count the number of beats you have in 60 seconds, and then multiply this number by 4 for the beats per minute (BPM). If your pulse is above 100 BPM, you are overexerting yourself. A good target to aim for is 140 BPM. When you are just starting out, do not go above 85% of this number. As you become more experienced, try to increase your target heart rate by 1% every 2 weeks. When you are done working out, cool down and stretch for 10 minutes before stopping. Always concentrate on Stretching Your Hams and Calves, especially after running.
Hamstring Stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Lock your hands behind your head, and lean forward until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Relax and repeat this process 2 more times.
Tight Calves: Stand a couple of feet in front of a wall, and then lean against it. Cross one leg over the other, and raise it so that your heel is barely touching the floor. Hold this position for 10- 15 seconds, and then switch legs. Hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds, and then repeat the process 2 more times.
After You Work Out… Stretching!
Always remember to cool down and stretch after you are done working out. This helps increase flexibility, reduce muscle soreness, and decrease the risk of cramps. The following stretches are designed to be held for 10-15 seconds each. Hold them for as long as is necessary until you feel looser and weaker.
Beginners: 1 set of 15 repetitions
Intermediates: 2 sets of 20 repetitions
Advanced: 3 sets of 30 repetitions
Always remember to stretch after working out, even if you do not partake in any other exercise that day.
Day 2: Hill Sprinting
For your second day of training, you’ll be learning how to incorporate sprinting into your cardio-training. Find a large, steep hill and walk up it 10 times. Jog (or walk, if you’re a beginner) down the hill to the bottom, and then run back to the top of it 9 more times. Next, walk back down the hill to the bottom once more, and then run back to the top 8 times.
After that, jog back down the hill 7 times, and then finally run back up 6 times. This makes for a total of 30 repetitions sprinting up the hill. This should be done 3 times a week (with at least 48 hours of recovery in between sessions).
Sources & references used in this article:
Physiological determinants of the candidate physical ability test in firefighters by AK Sheaff, A Bennett, ED Hanson, YS Kim… – … Journal of Strength & …, 2010 – journals.lww.com
Comparison of the firefighter candidate physical ability test to weight lifting exercises using electromyography by CL Lane, D Hardwick, TP Janus, H Chen, Y Lu… – Work, 2019 – content.iospress.com
Predicting performance on a firefghter’s ability test from fitness parameters by MA Michaelides, KM Parpa, J Thompson… – … quarterly for exercise …, 2008 – Taylor & Francis