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Old 11-19-2007, 08:38 AM   #1
Matt Brewster
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New Guy With Questions for British Firefighter Fitness tests

Hi Folks
I'm fairly new here but have been lurking and dabbling with some of the WOD's for about 2 months now and have to say I'm smoked by this style of training and really enjoying the benefits of the met con workouts and the help available on the forum.
I have a few if not a lot ;-) of questions that i hope somebody can help me with.
Im applying for the Fire service here in the UK and have an upcoming fitness test and medical in about two months, the tests involved are the bleep test in which i have to reach level 9.1 as a minimum wearing boots and protective gear and also a Chester step test which involves stepping on and off a box to a set beat until i reach my theoretical heart rate of 220 - age (28) i believe i have to go for over 3 mins which would show a vo2 max of 45. As well as some basic strength tests but I'm OK with these.

Up until now i have been running 3 times a week for about 4 miles at an 8 -8.5 min mile, some fartlek ( think that's spelt right) and 2 sessions in the cross-fit style ie "Tabata This" and "Cindy".
My first question is,
Am i better dropping some of my runs and just doing the Wod as dictated by the main page ? I get the feeling from some posts Ive read (and please don't think I'm starting an argument here) that Crossfit will improve my work capacity (which it definitely has !!) but I'm not sure if it will help my vo2 max or heart rate levels when I'm taking these tests. i have the impression that most people view heart rate as irrelevant but this may well be my lack of understanding of the entire system. I am concerned because if i hit max HR to early i fail and have to wait until next year to reapply regardless of if i feel tired and could go on or not.

My second question is with regards to scaling,
I have been using the brand x site which is fantastic for help but when it comes to weighted exercises i tend to run as a puppy or a pack member but sometimes the weight described feels heavy for me ie on Dianne with the 21 rep deadlift i cant do all 21 reps in one set i have to break them up into 5 and 6's with a good 30 sec break between sets. I feel this then becomes a strength workout rather than a metcon workout for me. How should i scale the weight to make it more metcon than strength based ? or should i do a very light weight but cycle through the workout 2 or 3 times ?

Unfortunately time is tight and i don't want to lose any of my already gained vo2 max and fitness for strength gains at this moment in time as the brigade only takes the top applicants for jobs and this year there are 15 jobs only.

Hope this ramble made sense and all help will be greatly appreciated ;-)
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:14 AM   #2
Ian Ball
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Re: New Guy With Questions for British Firefighter Fitness tests

if you are reasonably fit ( you sound like you are ) you will have no problems fitness wise, i'm surprised you do the bleep test in firekit, i'd check that!
the best thing you can do is phone your nearest wholetime station and ask if you can come in for a chat. they will put you right with regards to the tests on the day, and answer any q's you have.
If you've got the common sense to visit a firestation your'e the right sort of bloke for the job
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:38 AM   #3
Matt Brewster
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Re: New Guy With Questions for British Firefighter Fitness tests

Hi Ian
Thanks for your reply, ill check on the fire kit for bleep test i may have got that bit wrong, Ive already been to the fire station and spoken to the guys there and the HR dept. I maybe should have mentioned Ive already been through various stages of the selection process including an initial fitness test and they were all done in ppe and boots but no air tank or anything. The bleep test and step test are the very last stage of selection and i didn't want to fail at this last hurdle. I'm just keen to be as fit as i can be and crossfit seems to be the best way of training for the job ( if i get there of course ) but i didn't want to have great work capacity at the expensive of vo2 max or Heart Rate at this stage.
regards matt
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Old 11-20-2007, 06:58 AM   #4
Andy Armstrong
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Re: New Guy With Questions for British Firefighter Fitness tests

Seriously mate, don't stress over the fitness test. The required standard in unfortunatly very low. If you are successfull then the basic course is very demanding physically and mentally. With that in mind see that as your training goal. Be as careful as possible before the course (and indeed the test) being sure not to pick up any injuries. Be aware of even the slightest niggle as the course will bring it out and make it a lot worse.

Apart from that, really don't worry, with your current fitness you will blitz the test. Any help or advice just give me a shout.
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:32 PM   #5
Matt Brewster
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Re: New Guy With Questions for British Firefighter Fitness tests

Hi Andy
Thanks for your post, I must confess i found the initial fitness test (rural simulation, dummy drag etc) fairly easy, must be all this crossfit lark
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:30 AM   #6
Leon Robotham
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Re: New Guy With Questions for British Firefighter Fitness tests

Matt

It aint this CF lark thats making it so easy, it's the fact the the firefighters fitness tests out here are extremely poor. A mate of mine has just walked it, he comes from the BB world and has recently been working a little CF. Prior to his FF tests he was doing sets of 10 lol. He passed the lot. As far as his conditionning goes.... it was non-existent.

Enjoy.
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Old 11-23-2007, 10:40 AM   #7
Drew Culbreth
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Re: New Guy With Questions for British Firefighter Fitness tests

To help with your workouts, keep pushing both strength and speed. You want to keep improving power, the biggest limiting factor is using the weight and still keep safe form. for example, Fran...95 lb truster, pullups takes 30 minutes, but 75lb thrusters, pullups takes 12 minutes, as long as your thruster form is safe use 95, and use your goal to keep improving on this. This will improve your #,s faster than you realize.
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:06 PM   #8
Matt Brewster
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Re: New Guy With Questions for British Firefighter Fitness tests

Hi drew
Thanks for your reply, I tried using the bigger weight for thrusters on Fran as you suggested and my goodness you were right!!
I don't know why i was worried about not getting a metcon effect with a bigger weight, this really killed me (in a good way )
despite being a heavy weight for me it really got me blowing hard and my Hr went through the roof so thanks for your help
matt
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Old 02-03-2008, 03:58 AM   #9
Matt Brewster
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Re: New Guy With Questions for British Firefighter Fitness tests

Just as a quick update and to say a big thanks to everyone here,
I passed my medical and fitness test last week.
I think this is due to the replies i got from this post but also the many posters who have gone before with questions and replies for training for various cpat and law enforcement agencies across the world.

The one thing i noticed where crossfit helped me out was the ability to give it big licks a short rest and go again. At my last test i had to redo the rural simulation test which involves picking up various items such as two coiled hoses, a weighted barbell etc and cover a distance between 20 - 100m with them, putting them down and then shuttle sprints with no object (would make a good wod lol). Unfortunately i was the last person to do this test so only had a five min break before going into the bleep test (where as the blokes who went first got up to 30 mins rest) but despite that i was able to pass with the top group, the lung burn and wobbly leg feeling i got was very familiar since starting crossfit,
So i now start as a firefighter in March.
Thanks guys
Matt
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Old 02-03-2008, 09:45 AM   #10
Andy Armstrong
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Re: New Guy With Questions for British Firefighter Fitness tests

I'm really glad to hear that. Congratulations. Whatever you do, when you get into the job don't stop training, like many others do- way too many fat firefighters about.

Good luck with the basic course it will be damn tough but stick at it and try to enjoy it- by the end of it you'll look back and think of it as some of the best days of your life.

Keep us posted.
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