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Physical expectations for shorter guys

I am aware that everyone is expected to carry the same load and everything, but I am wondering what that load is. I've just started my education towards a AA in fire science and need to know if I am currently up to snuff, and if I am not, How far off am I?

I'm 5'5" 148lbs, which makes me smaller than the average guy out there. I guess I'll have to work harder. My stats are that I run a 6:20 min mile, bench 225, deadlift 275, squat 245 and leg press 720. (Add about 10% when I'm on creatine)

Do I need to get stronger? If so, what needs improvement? My main concern is the ladder throw. What muscle groups should I work out to make the ladder throw easier? Thanks for the input.




Physical agility testing events in most departments are very strenuous in nature. You must begin your workouts immediately in order to put yourself in top condition to perform well. This training should be year-round. In preparing firefighter applicants for physical agility examinations for over 50 years, one of the most important aspects is overall good strength, with emphasis on good leg strength and most importantly your wind endurance (lung strength and capacity). Time and time again we see individuals who are 6'4", 250 pounds, can squat 350 pounds 10 times, run 2 miles and think that they are in good physical shape. However, if they have not built up their wind endurance (lung capacity) they may have the strength equivalent of someone who is 100 pounds. Nothing drains your strength more than a lack of wind. Most physical agility test events are of short duration but very demanding. Most of these events are completed in a 5-10 minute timeframe. During that time, it is an all-out effort. We belief that the emphasis of your preparation training should be on developing your wind. Wind sprints are an excellent way of increasing your endurance. Start off by sprinting 30 yards, 3 or 4 times. Then proceed to 40 yards, 50 yards. After a period of training and feeling that your lungs are developing, we suggest that you undertake the following physical agility training.

Mark off 20 yards, 30 yards, 40 yards, and 50 yards. Use a nearby recreation field in your area or even a parking lot. Start your sprints by sprinting 20 yards and then sprint back to the start. Then immediately sprint 30 yards and back to start. Then sprint 40 yards and back to start. Sprint 50 yards and back to start. As you continue training, you will see that your wind endurance is building. You may be able to complete 5-6 of these wind sprints in a single training session and not feel winded.

Applicants also need to concentrate on overall strength training ? your chest, triceps, biceps, back, legs, sit-ups. We have included descriptions of some physical agility exercises and programs for your review.

Some additional training tips:

Many times you are required to wear a vest that is from 30-40 pounds, simulating firefighter equipment and air tank. If possible, get a backpack, fill it with sand or weights, and use it while training. For example, wear it while running stairs.
Run stairs. If you have a school football field accessible to you, we strongly suggest that you run the stands' stairs. You may also be able to use an office or apartment building stairs. You may also want to run the stairs carrying 20-30 pound dumbbells in each hand or your weighted backpack. It is also good practice to skip every other stair ? it will build leg strength and endurance, and on some exams you can skip stairs, which will decrease your overall time and better your score.
If you train in a gym, you may have access to a Stairmaster machine (revolving stairs ? not stepper type). We suggest that you build your endurance by not holding onto the rails and increasing the level of difficulty each time you work out. If you have a training backpack, wear it while on the machine.
If you train by running distance, the best training for firefighter examinations is to aim for your fastest 2-mile time. If you want to alternate a 3-4 mile run in between, that is fine. Your emphasis while training, however, should not be on a steady pace but on a faster pace in order to build your endurance. Physical agility examinations are short in time, but require endurance.
Remember - always warm up before exercising and cool down after exercising.
Do not begin these workouts until you get yourself in good physical condition by jogging 15 to 25 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week for at least 3 to 4 weeks. This will strengthen your heart and lungs so it won't be too much of a demand on your body.

Don McNea Fire School

Shorter has nothing to do with it. There was a guy in my academy class who was around 5'3 150 pounds maybe and he could still put up those ladders, even the big old 35 extension fully suited up. From the stats you have given about your physical ability i would say that your doing fine just keep going hard because you can never workout too much for what the TOWER has to bring to the table.


This message was edited by TheBootskee on 1-14-04 @ 10:50 PM

Although it seems simple. You should not be so focused on how much you can lift, rather how many times you can lift it. Repitition is the requirement and endurance, not weight. If i were you, i would let go of the short man complex and focus more on a pyramid type workout. Big guns doesn't = good firefighter candidate. Good luck!

Hey no matter what when things get tough they always need the little guy, we always come in handy. I?m a little guy to and it has more advantages then disadvantages. The key to this whole thing is taking your time and thinking through this. Be realistic in how you prepare and you will be successful. Slow even progress is the way to do it. Don't get brought down by set backs it's going to be a long road no matter how you do it, just stay focused on the end results and you'll do great!
This message was edited by 10-97 on 6-16-04 @ 11:09 AM