Are You Ready to Take the CPAT?
Stew Smith, CSCS
Exercises to Simulate the CPAT Events
(Maintenance Circuit Training Plan Supplemental Workout)
• Stair Climb – Running, stair stepping, leg PT, run and leg PT workouts, leg press, and of course running stairs or using a stair stepping machine will prepare the legs for your profession. Run steps for 10 minutes.
• Hose Drag – Just about every exercise will help you with this event. Running, lower weight training, upper / lower back strength, abdominals, biceps, shoulders, forearm / hand grip exercises need to be done to help you with this event. Using a rope or rolled towel and drape over a pullup bar is a great way to do pull-ups to increase hand grip, forearm, and pulling strength. Do 3-4 sets of pull-ups using rope to hold onto for grip – resting with 40-50 crunches of your choice. Also pull a heavy object for 50 feet.
• Equipment Carry – Once again, running or walking fast with weight short distances, upper body exercises that affect the legs, biceps, shoulders, upper back, muscles of the forearm and grip will assist in preparation of performing this test. Practice carrying heavy duffle bags or heavy dumbbells 100ft at a time.
• Ladder Raise and Extension – Dead Lift, squats, lunges, military press, triceps extensions, power clean, lower back exercises, upper back exercises will all help you with providing the strength to do this event. Multi-joint dumbbell exercises will help with this full-body exercise challenge. Do 1-2 sets of what is called multi-joint exercises where you lift a set of dumbbells off the floor, bicep press and over head press them. Repeat 10-15 times.
• Forcible Entry – Any torso exercise from abdominal crunches, twists, lower back exercises, upper back exercises, shoulder, pull-ups, forearm and hand grip. Multi-joint exercises with heavy dumbbells with assist with this preparation. Using a barbell over your shoulders and twisting 90 degrees to the left and 90 degrees to the right for 10-20 times will help you build torso strength to help create more power in the sledge. Practice hitting a sledgehammer on an old tire or pile of dirt for 10 swings. Add in some crunches and oblique abdominal exercises for 50 reps.
• Search – Any exercise of the torso that will enable you to low crawl. Twists, crunches, lowerback and upperback, shoulders, chest exercises will all help with this. Bear crawls, Donkey kicks, hips, abs, lowerback will help prepare for the Search event on low crawl. But more importantly – pay attention to your surroundings and FEEL your way around the tunnel to exit. Bear crawl for 50 yds, do 25 donkey kicks with both legs, crawl back 50 yds.
• Rescue – Every muscle in the body is used for this event. Your muscle endurance will be tested as you drag using your legs, lower back, torso, arms, grip muscles. Pullups, leg press, squats, lunges, dead lifts, multi-joint dumbbells and running or stair stepping are great exercises to prepare for this body drag. Drag a duffle bag or workout partner 50 ft and repeat 2-3 times.
• Ceiling Breach and Pull – Military press, pull-ups, pushdowns, triceps extensions, bicep curls, squats will work the muscles required to pass this test. A great exercise to use for this event is to get a barbell (30-45lbs) hold it vertically and extend your arms over your head 10-20 times to simulate the push and pull of the Pike Pole.
If You are a Beginner
Do not try to do too much (like the above exercises) at first, especially if you have not been active in many months and you have more than twenty pounds of weight to lose. First you should start with a weight loss plan that incorporates proper nutrition, increased physical activity, and hydration by drinking at least 100 oz. of water a day.
Get Flexible FIRST
Increasing your flexibility is a must! Not only will you decrease your chances of injury, but you will be faster and more mobile in many events of the CPAT. The workout above is also a daily stretching program that will help you better recover from the daily grind and challenging workouts. Stretching will help you break up the lactic acid that builds in your muscles. One tip – hold each stretch you do for 4-5 deep inhales and exhales. The inhales should be 3 or more seconds long – followed by a full exhale. This will also help you get oxygen to the muscles adding an increased effect to lactic acid release.
For those with back injuries in the past: The most important stretches for you are: Thigh Stretch, hamstring stretches, lower back stretch throughout the day.
Written by Stew Smith CSCS, former Navy SEAL and fitness author of six published books and more than 35 e-books on military, law enforcement, and fire fighter training / fitness test preparation guides.
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