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due to take my first CPAT any suggestions on how to build endurance the fastest.

In three words: Time, Distance, Resistance.

While I don't profess to be a Physical Fitness or CPAT expert, the sheer number of people who have recommended weight vests in pursuing "resistance" leads me to believe two things:

A) There may be a potential advantage in using these commercial products or home-built devices

b) A sizeable market exists in no longer needed vests

Best Wishes,


Please no e-mail. Public replies only. Thank you!
This message was edited by lafdpso on 10-3-04 @ 9:18 PM


I trained for the CPAT by running and then doing stairs with weights in a back pack. The commercial weight vests are fine but if you already own a back pack and can find 50 lbs then you are ready to go. Once a week I would run and then immediately perform the stairs with weights. 1 set with 25 lbs, 1 set with 50 lbs, then a 3rd set hold another 25 lbs in my arms (it is easier to balance that way. Then a final set with no weights. Make sure you cool down and stretch after you are done and also rehydrate. As far as weight training, perform the bench press, military press, lat pull, pull-ups, bicep curls, and squats (very carefully). Good luck.

Brian Wilson,
Is the cpat tough??? How far should I be running? and is once a week enough?

One thing I did was practice on a stair climber at a faster pace than is in the CPAT (try 80 steps a min. instead of 60) for as long as you can and try not to touch the railings. It helps with the feeling of the stair climber. When I took mine, I had just completed a CDF 67-Hour, where we hiked everyday for 2 weeks, so even that would help. hope that helps.

Thanks for the info Travis. Is 60 stairs a min hard???
I don't have access to a stair machine right now.

To quote Romo -

"Is the cpat tough??? How far should I be running? and is once a week enough?"

Are you preparing for only the cpat or are you looking into the future and a possible 12+ week academy. Most of the full-time academies are five days a week and a good portion is physical activity. That said, do you think training once a week is enough?

Sport specific training works really well. Interval training with periods of high intensity exercise that gets your heart rate very high to simulate the test. Work only major muscle groups. Do super sets without resting.
Yes, a weight vest is a very good idea, biomechanically speaking. It is about preventing injuries, and protecting your future, right? A back pack changes the weight bearing on your spine. I blew out part of a disk doing that. My advice? Don't do it.

I saw someone else's answer regarding exercises for weight training. They said: bench press, military press, lat pulls, pull ups, bicep curls, and squats (carefully). All good ideas, but let's get specific about injury prevention here. First: straight bar bench is very hard on your shoulders. Do dumbell chest press instead. Military press behind the neck is really bad for your shoulders. Do Arnie presses for anterior delts, and upright rows and back flies for posterior delts. Lat pulls should never be done behind your neck either... also very bad for your shoulders. Lean back to 45 degrees, and pull to your chest.
As far as trunk stabilization goes, there is a posting of mine regarding that a day or 2 ago. But, I'll cut and paste it here:

...There is no time like the present to start preventing back injuries! They are amoung the most common debilitating work related injuries around. It is very hard to treat, and much easier to prevent! The problem is not just forward flexion, but coupling that with over-twisting and lifting at the same time! Training the trunk muscles to recognize it's limits in terms of range of motion is paramount!

Yes, everyone knows how to do abs. But: do you know how to safely work the lateral flexors of your spine? How about the extensors (erector spinae)?
Here: Do your ab workout as usual. Then ad this: Lay on your side... perfectly on your side. Put your down side arm under your head and support your neck so it's straight. Place the top hand on the floor in front of you so your elbow points toward the ceiling. Lift both legs, in unison, 8" off the floor without rolling forward or back. Lift slowly, and hold, Lower. Do not j*rk. Repeat 20 times and roll over and do the other side. Then do extensions on the hyper- extension bench at the gym. (Make sure it's the horizontal one, not the angled one- it's useless) Start with 20 reps, holding at the top. Make sure you don't hyper-extend. If your gym doesn't have a back extension bench, do them on an exercise ball. Do this every other day when you do your abs.
Increase your reps by 5 each workout.

Work both of these up to 100 reps in each direction: right side up, left side up, back up on the extension bench.

When you've done that, start using the back extension bench for your lateral flexion exercises. Start with 3 sets of 8. Work up to 4 sets of 15... be careful, it's hard- especially if you carry quite a bit of upper body muscle. Don't j*rk. Make your range of motion bigger each time. Don't add weight to the lateral flexions... you don't need it. Start adding weight (plates) for your extensions. 25 lbs. is a good place to start... and back it off to 3 sets of 10 to start with... work it up to 4 sets of 15.
Keep in mind that a lot of your work will be sustained contraction. Hold at the top for a few seconds on every rep. It'll help on the job.
This will train your lateral flexors and your extensor muscles not to move past a safe range of motion... saving you from sprains and strains. This will prevent the hypermobility that eventually chews up your disk!

Asante to you!
Dr. Jen Milus, DC