Workout to Prepare for Firefighter Training

Workout to Prepare for Firefighter Training

According to the International Association of Firefighters, most firefighting agencies require new firefighters to practice and pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test, or CPAT. This eight-event, standardized fitness test mimics the physical duties of firefighting. Focus your workouts on improving your overall fitness and your ability to perform the CPAT events as you prepare for firefighter training.

Stair Climbing

According to the website of the City of Shreveport, Louisiana, firefighters taking the CPAT have to pass a stair-climbing test. To prepare for this, work out on a stair-climbing machine. Over time, increase the time you spend on the machine as well as the speed at which you climb the stairs, until you can climb at a rate of 60 steps per minute for 20 minutes. When you can do this, add a weighted vest to your workout, decreasing your climbing rate and the length of your workout to accommodate. When you can climb at a rate of 60 steps per minute for 6 minutes while wearing a 25-pound weighted vest, you're ready to take the CPAT.

Equipment Carrying

The CPAT has an equipment-carrying test, according to the City of Shreveport. To physically prepare for this test, place some sand or gravel into two 20-gallon buckets until they are each 1/3 full. Pick up a bucket in each hand and carry the buckets for 75 feet. Rest and repeat this four more times. As you grow comfortable with this workout, you can add more sand and gravel to each bucket, until each weighs about 40 pounds. When you are able to conduct the exercise with two 40-pound buckets, you're ready for the CPAT.

Forcible Entry

The CPAT has a forcible-entry test, according to the City of Shreveport. To prepare for this test, you need to become adept at manipulating a ten-pound tool. Use a ten-pound axe and a chopping block to make 15 axe-swings into the block. As you gain strength and ability, you can increase this workout until you're able to do three sets of 15 axe swings.

Rescue Drag

The CPAT tests your ability to rescue via dragging, reports the City of Shreveport. To prepare for this test, get a sand bag and fill it with about 50 pounds of sand. Drag this sand bag for 35 feet, turn around, and drag it 35 feet back to where you started. As you improve your ability to perform exercise, increase the weight of your sand bag until you're able to drag a 165-pound sand bag, the weight of the CPAT rescue mannequin.


Seek approval from a physician before you engage in any workouts to prepare for firefighter training. Between each of the exercises, give yourself time to fully rest and recover. Add this workout to your physical fitness regimen slowly and over a period of time, so that your body may acclimate to its rigors without injury. If you experience unusual pain or discomfort during the workouts, discontinue them and seek treatment from a health care professional.