Its January 17th, and three WLRCF coaches are riding in a honda down I-630. They are attempting to close the moonroof of the car without getting Wes’s flowing locks of hair caught in it. Its a fun time, just three friends/co-workers laughing and cracking jokes. Soon, it will turn to crawling on all fours, hauling heavy hoses, pulling roofing pikes, and dragging body dummy through dark, water-soaked, warehouses. All while dawning full Firefight gear and oxygen.
If we’re going to train these guys to be better firefighters, we need to know what a firefighter goes through.
While we couldn’t replicate (or even fathom) the conditions these men and women face during the heat of entering a burning building. We still wanted to get an idea of what it is like to move around in all of their gear, have restricted oxygen, and face the claustrophobia of wearing a full turn out.
Josh, Wes, and Jeff are meeting with the LRFD for more than an ass-whooping. West Little Rock CrossFit will be heading up the physical fitness portion of the new recruit program.
Why are fire departments interested in CrossFit?
The fitness program in many academies has consisted of forced-march runs and a traditional weight training circuit. LRFD management was open to the idea of changing their academy fitness program in hopes that the new program would help decrease the number and severity of injuries, and increase the General Physical Preparedness in its trainees. In order to correctly evaluate the needs of the academy, a task analysis of a firefighter’s manipulative skills had to be done. (This is where our coaches come into play.)
We found that the majority of firefighting tasks included (but were not limited to) squatting, lifting, pressing, and pulling…Sound like CrossFit?
Tasks were typically done with 60 pounds of protective clothing and respiratory protection, not including the weight of the hose, ladders, tools, and other implements.
Josh Saavedra completely screwed up his waiver–>
In CrossFit, we are more concerned with what you can do, rather than what you look like you can do. Someone can have great beach muscles but completely suck at pulling a loaded 200′ hose in full gear while on a limited oxygen supply. Great beach muscles don’t prepare you to expect, or out-perform the un-expected.
Firefighters have to be able to perform. And on top of that they have to perform smart. If they aren’t using good biomechanics while on the job, that can result in injury, which can be life-threatening when you are facing conditions like a burning or collapsing building.
CrossFit prepares you to perform well at the un-expected by using the movements that life demands from you. Squating, running, jumping, crawling, pushing, pulling etc. Training on weight machines doesn’t cut it (or in our opinion come close).
After going through a taste of what firefighters do, we are exhausted, smelly, and on adrenaline highs. Back in the car to rush over to the box and start evening training. Thats something we can take for granted, we only did this for a few hours. Firefighters dedicate themselves to do this and more at the drop of a hat, over and over again when most of us are sleeping, shopping, or having fun at CrossFit.
There are a lot of opportunities to give back to the people who dedicate themselves to our community. We didn’t want to miss out on this one.