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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 07-31-2006, 09:25 AM   #1
W Pete Reid
 
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Hello, all. I have been crossfitting for about a month now, following the scaled WOD's from BrandX. I am hooked.

I am starting the Fire Academy in two weeks, and have two questions:
1. Should I be scaling back the WOD's in these last two weeks to focus more on cardio endurance?

2. During the Fire Academy what WOD plan should I follow? Given the strenuous nature of the daily evolutions, what should I do to maintain/improve my fitness without over-stressing my body?

Thanks
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Old 07-31-2006, 09:49 AM   #2
Ian Carver
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Pete-Although I am in Law Enforcement, one of our academies runs in the same complex as the local county and city fire academy. So I get to see the regimens of both sides in comparison.
1) As with most CF workouts, you are hitting a huge cardio component in the workout itself. If you are going hard and pushing yourself, you will be feeling it in the lungs and heart. If this is not the case, maybe try turning up the intensity dial a bit or scaling up the WOD a bit. This cardio, in and of itself, is often plenty and you do not need to supplement it with too much other cardio. Too much and you will hamper your fitness with reduced recovery, injuries, fatigue. Maybe do one mid intensity run during the week to top it off after a WOD. After doing CF for a while, you will find you can go out and run a 5 or 10K without any specified training. This is due to the cardio benefits you have accumulated with CF alone-you will be surprised. Feel it out and experiment.
2)Go into the academy strong and do some CF while you are there, but cut back the workout sessions to a couple times a week, if at all. The PT will be very rigorous, from drills in full turnouts with hoses, up towers, in SCBA's, in heat and cold, to in-gym, group PT sessions. Our academies in Sacramento are now incorporating CF style workouts into their PT. The fire recruits are getting plenty of exercise, trust me. If you can do more and really think you need it, go ahead, but go easy. I would feel out the academy PT schedule out for a bit and see how it feels so you can guage it from there.
Good luck and stay fit and safe!
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Old 07-31-2006, 11:39 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Ian. I have been trying to hit the scaled WOD's with full intensity, and have seen the cardio response you mentioned.

I think you offer good advice in feeling out the academy PT schedule and daily workload first, and then gauge how much more I can/need to do.

Thanks, and stay safe yourself!

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Old 07-31-2006, 01:31 PM   #4
Peter Queen
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Welcome Pete. Ian made some very good points. I just want to add that you should do DB thrusters and DB push presses. These are great for conditioning your quads, core, shoulders and arms. Any type of leg work, lunges, dead lifts, Oly lifts ect, will greatly increase your performance, strength and stamina. You will need that for the type of work needed in the fire service. These will help when carrying around that hotel pack or extra air tank for search and rescue. I do the stairs at my station while carrying 50lb dumbbells in each hand. Every time I get to the top I do a set of 10 DB thrusters followed by 10 dumbbell swings with one of the 50lbs(they are the same thing as KB swings without the K-bells). I do this for 3 to 5 rounds. It’s a real good cardio, strength and conditioning work. It’s one of my favorite made up WODs for my line of work. I am on my fire departments search and rescue unit as well and it takes a lot out you. Especially now with the weather reaching 100+ degrees around the country. The heavy turn-out gear does not breath and the sweat makes them even heavier, especially if you are carrying a victim down the steps in a stokes basket. So work the legs and everything else for that matter. Eat very nutritiously and drink plenty of water and keep a good intake of protein.
Work the arms: pull-ups, on a bar and on rings. Practice holding yourself in a L-position to strengthen your core, your arms and grips. Practice holding anything and everything with weight to improve your grasp…..NO GLOVES during training! If you don’t have a chalk bucket then get some chalk bags(the same kind that bowlers use) to take care of the sweaty hands. When you have to pull someone through a burning obstacle or up through a collapsed floor with 0 to 5% visibility at best while wearing an air mask, you will be very glad that you have a strong grip. On the bar do knee-to-elbows to increase your overall flexibility as well. Look at the front page and watch the videos on Exercise to get an idea of what the routines look like. OHDB(Over Head Dumbbell) squats or OH Barbell squats will help improve your ability to handle the long and short pike poles when doing any overhead fire ventilation of overhauling up in the ceilings. Your arms will not get as tired and sore as your partners will. Well that‘s enough for now. If you have any more specific training questions on what can be done for the specifics of the fire fighting world just ask. Other wise keep to the WODs as posted and your overall improvement will certainly come. Good luck.
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Old 07-31-2006, 01:50 PM   #5
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Peter, thanks for all of your great tips. I am definitely taking notes, and am interested in continuing to shape my body for work on the fireground. With so many LODD deaths ocurring from heart attacks, I want to make sure I keep myself healthy, fit and strong so I can actually enjoy that retirement when it comes around.

I welcome any other tips you might have too!

Thanks.
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Old 07-31-2006, 01:59 PM   #6
Russ Greene
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Great post Peter. That workout sounds really sick.
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Old 07-31-2006, 02:15 PM   #7
Nicholas Burgett
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I'm with Russ on that one. Excellent advice from both Peter and Ian, as usual. I just couldn't get past the mental image of that 50# DB WOD you described! Yikes!
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Old 07-31-2006, 10:12 PM   #8
Ian Carver
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Peter-That's some great advice from someone in the know. That is a wicked workout you described. Yet another reason to think you fire guys are crazy :lol:!! I'd like to try that one at one of my station houses or the gym. How many flights/stairs are you going up on that one?

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Old 08-01-2006, 06:15 AM   #9
Peter Queen
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Thanks guys. Experience is the best teacher.

From day one of my CrossFit introduction I started doing DB thrusters. They are my overall favorite CF exercise. Not only does it work the legs, core, shoulders and arms, it is also something that be done anywhere. I can do them at home, the fire department gym or my local chain gym…I get a lot of strange looks from people there. Anyway that is how I was able to build up to using 50lb dumbbells. Like I said Pete, you gotta work the whole body in Crossfit and that exercise does hit everything. My second favorite is the KB swing which I substitute with a dumbbell. I don’t have a K-bell yet but hopefully soon. When I do them with the stair routine it makes for one heck of a WOD. After 5 rounds I am dripping in sweat. The stairs training help in situation involving as mentioned, carrying a hotel pack or donut hose roll up one two three flights of steps. That with the added weight of your gear, air tank and any other heavy gear you have to carry will come in handy. And let’s not forget the ever important necessity of carrying out a victim from a wide range of dangerous scenarios. I’m 6.5ft 260lbs so I get called in to do a lot of the heavy carrying so my specialized training comes in handy especially for search and rescue. Make sure you do box jumps. Doing lunges with weights is really beneficial. Keeping your legs loose, flexible, and strong helps a of a lot especially when using the extrication gear. When you have to hold that 80lb hydraulic jaws-of –life to crack open a car with a victim trapped inside, you better pray your legs don’t give out or cramp up because they are some times your only anchor to the ground. Especially when you find your self trying to anchor yourself to an uneven ground in a ditch after a car just slammed into a tree. The same goes for trying to pry open a twisted door with the halogen bar. Your prying power is only as good as your leg strength will allow. SO WORK THOSE LEGS.

As far as increasing your grip strength, along with what I had already suggested, I would recommend using the COC grippers. It is on the Iron Mind site on the front page under the Equipment section (lower right near the bottom of the page). But to save you the trouble here is the direct link: http://www6.mailordercentral.com/iro...cts.asp?dept=8
Read up on the different levels to see which one you want to start out with. I am currently working on strength level No.2. Also I would suggest doing a lot of dead hangs for time to improve your grip. When you have to open up that nozzle on the fire hose with over 2000lbs of pressure you don’t want that thing whipping around like a wild snake. If you have access to some old fire hose (preferably one that is already out-of-service), throw it around a support beam at the fire station or at home somewhere and do your pull-ups that way also. That will give great grip training.
Hope this helps. I’ll chime in latter when I think of more.

Ian: I go up one flight of stairs but there are 20 steps. I start at the top because our gym is on the second floor once I get down to the first floor I immediately turn around and go back up to do the rest of my WOD. My legs and arms are frying when I’m done. But it gives good stamina at a fire scene. It also helps me to conserve my air better because of the high intensity cardio work involved as well. That way I won’t suck out all the air in my tank before my task is done….a very critical point. Thanks for the question.

Remember, those of us in high risk jobs(FF, Police, Military, ect) survive because of the lessons we learn and information we share.
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Old 08-01-2006, 11:55 AM   #10
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Peter, you are the man. Thanks for all the great info.

You are right about those of us in high risk jobs needing to heed the lessons our brothers and sisters have learned before us (often the hard way). Part of that is sharing how we train, and I appreciate your help.
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