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Help!! Firefighter physical test coming up

Didn’t know where to post this but it has a LOT to do with strength.

I’m going to take a firefighters test here in Los Angeles soon. I have to pass the Physical Abilities Test first before I even go to the written exam. I’m in good shape…but now I want to change my training regimen to specifically prepare me for this test. I have about 2-3 months to get ready (Fall)…does not seem like enough time to me, but I’m pretty solid overall as it is (thanks to Sturat).

Here are the specifics:
There are 8 separate events. One will progress along a predetermined path from one event to the next. We’ll be wearing a 50lb vest for the duration…with more weight added for specific parts of the course.


  1. Stair Climb
  2. Hose Drag
  3. Equipment carry
  4. Ladder Raise and Extension
  5. Forcible Entry
  6. Search
  7. Rescue
  8. Ceiling Breach & Pull

I’ll have 10 minutes and 20 seconds to complete the course. At least 25 pounds will be added to the shoulders for the Stair Climb, by the way.

Could any of you Gurus assist me in preparing for this event by way of training programs or exercises?

By the way…I’m in the city and don’t have much access to large ladders or hoses…

Much thanks


Hey, I’m training to be a firefighter as well out here in Arizona. I’m currently enrolled in a fitness & conditioning class that prepares you for the CPAT (the standard physical test for all firefighters). I don’t take the test until July 16th though.

Anyway, the CPAT is a joke. If you are in shape, you will have no problem whatsoever. So don’t worry about it. There are people in my class that are out of shape and completing the 8 events in the time frame. I went through the course the first time with no vest like it was nothing. The next time through I put the 50 lb. vest on and it was a bit tougher, mostly on the 3 minute stair climb (w/ the extra 20 lbs. too) and the body rescue drag. Still, I did it at 7am after just waking up an hour earlier and feeling dead tired but still managed to fly through it.

Good luck and PM me if you need help!



I took the FDNY physical. It’s the same as you described - hard but not impossible. My recommendation for training would be meltdown style training but do not drop your calories!! You are training your body for endurance under load in this case - sled dragging would also be a real help.

Start working on your grip, believe me it comes into play big time!

p.m. me - I’ll be glad to help.

P.S - I got killed the test and let out a huge growl at the end…totally hyped up t-man style!!

Is the test pass/fail or are you graded on time? If just completing the test is enough don’t sweat it too bad, if you’re in shape you’ll do fine, I tested in Iowa and saw guys who barely get off the couch struggle through and just pass. it sucked that those turds got the rated the same as the rest of us who blew through it. If it’s scored for time PM me, me and some guys came up with some fun stuff to get ready. Good luck bro.

I am not a fireman nor do I know any, but it seems from the other posts that this isn’t that difficult.

I don’t know what every event there was, but it seems like some simple exercises would help some. I would suggest some farmer’s walks, farmer’s walk on stairs, and heavy dragging.

It might even help to invest in a vest of your own. If you think you can handle it, I would get a 70 or 80 lb vest. That way when you finally put on that 50 lb vest, it will feel light in comparison.

If you think that is to heavy, I would at least get a 50 lb so you can used to what it would feel like.

Good luck.

[quote]fastken77 wrote:
Is the test pass/fail or are you graded on time?[/quote]

The CPAT is standardized across the country. If you take it in Iowa it’s the same in Arizona. If you take it in New York, it’s the same in California. And so on.

It is graded Pass/Fail, you must complete the course under 10 mins and 20 secs. I doubt they give any more attention to a guy who made it in 7 minutes than to a guy who just passed. It all comes down to the oral boards from what I understand. The physical and written portion is to weed out the people who have absolutely no chance. Pipe dreams for those people.


Hell, my department just did a test yesterday, not quite the same, but not real different either. As has been said already, I wouldn’t worry too much. If you’re in shape you should be able to complete it no problem! For exercises I’d definitely say drags would help out a lot, also building up your posterior chain will help out a lot too. That should help with the weight and many of the movements. Good CV health is a must. Though doing cardio under some resistence will be perfect for you. I know a few of us here do cardio with our facemasks on, good shit if you’ve got one! Good luck!!

My bad, the tests here in Iowa vary from city to city. Iowa city’s test differs from Cedar Rapids’ and Marion’s test is graded on time (first place gets the most points etc…) while CR’s is pass/fail. You’ve got to forgive us hicks out here in Iowa for not getting out much.


Much appreciation for the input and suggestions. Wish me luck in this endeavor.

Peace and Strength to all


I took a test similar to that one a few years back to get into my fire class. wait, before i say any of this, get a good book or a good friend who’s taken it before who can give you the secrets that make it easier. there’s definate tricks to it. my advice … get a friend who will allow you to drag them so you can practice how you will hold the dummy for the drag. if you already have a clue in your mind how you’re going to do each segment, it will save you a lot of time so you can do the work without rushing. i found the dummy drag the hardest, but i wasn’t trained for it, and i only weighed 125 (still do) and 175lbs was rough. the rest was not too bad. my test was a bit different than yours but close. by the way, you say you don’t have a ladder, but i’m not sure how else you would learn the technical skills to raise one without ever touching one… see if you can at least practice tying the knot a bunch of times with gloves on. the ladder is not heavy, but the knot sucks (if they’re going to be picky with you on that aspect) i probably could think of more, PM me if you want. it’s been a few years but i remember it well, LOL.
good luck!

Having taken the test by choice, I’m a proctor, all I can basically give tips on is grip, legs, more grip, and more legs. Luckily when working legs and grip you are working everything else in the process. So you don’t hit the wall, practice walking stairs one-second per step holding weight if you want, but not really needed. the stairs or step mill are for 3min time limit with 20 second warm up. train yourself not to hold or grab the railings and practice the step mill for at least 3 times the time it takes to do the test. In other words the test is for 3 min so do it for 9 min. As far as the dummy drag—it’s not hard if you’ve trained your legs and grip. You don’t even need to take supplements to pass this exam because the “tools” are simple to understand.

the cpat might be intimidating, but it’s as close to as the IAFF has come to approving for a basic physical entry exam. if anyone feels it’s a joke, the so be it THE job is a joke. Join the fire service and become a creative genius and create a new entry exam. Until then pass your tests first then talk crap after.