CPAT Event #1: Stair Climb

One step mill, a 75 pound vest, no hand rails, 3 minutes and 20 seconds of hell - and you still have seven events left. If you have no experience on the Graded Stepmill, and you plan on taking CPAT any time soon, you need to get on the machine and make sure you know what you're up against. My advice is to start slowly, and build up to the 75 pounds over time, with initial emphasis on developing some skill climbing without the luxury of hand rails. Once the skill is developed, you can work on adding weight.

In our training we aim to extend the climbing time beyond 3:20 with 75 pounds demanded of CPAT, and include some work that will also help you pass the FDNY medical. The medical exam is another bout on the stepmill with 50 pounds for five minutes. The kicker here is you're wearing a heart rate monitor, and you must stay under a predetermined heart rate (age specific). You can't just bull your way through the medical, as you need to control any spike in the heart rate to pass. Here at FDNY / CPAT Prep, our objective is to exceed the five minutes and have you pass with flying colors!

When training on the stepmill without the aide of a CPAT coach or trainer, you'll need to decide what weight and distance you can manage within each workout, as well as how often (during the workout and during the week) you need to repeat. There is no one best answer for every candidate. That is something my staff and I evaluate with each student weekly, as we put you through rigorous CPAT Prep workouts. 

If you're on your own, my best advice is to make sure you have a quality vest that goes up to at least 75 pounds and fits you properly. You must also gain access to the Stairmaster PT 7000 (brand name) and master walking at the correct speed (60 steps per minute) without holding the handrails for at least 3:20 before donning your vest fully weighted. Training for the physical and medical simultaneously is a no brainer, as they are both are a variation on the same theme. If possible, I advise 2 or 3 step mill workouts weekly. Not every session on the stepmill has to be a maximum effort or maximum weight, but at least once a week you should be going for a pretty intense workout. Be careful, proceed with caution, but train hard, as the Stepmill is probably the main reason CPAT comes with a 70% failure rate nationally. Stepmill training is intense. If you feel light headed, or any shortness of breath stop immediately and seek medical assistance.

If you need help with this event, contact us for ongoing training options: click here for more info on how to pass CPAT and prepare physically for the FDNY.