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TFA 2013 Conditioning Program Prep Manual

This is a 9 week conditioning program to help you prepare for the rigorous tasks involved in the Toughest Fire-fighter alive challenge (TFA). Please be aware that this program is very physically demanding, and as such should you have any concerns or doubt whatsoever about your ability to safely participate in this training program, you should consult your doctor before commencing. The program is easily tailored to ones current fitness levels and different progression methods will be provided for different levels of fitness. As all individuals will respond differently to the program, it is highly advised that you stick within your known physical limits to avoid injury, and follow the progression plan to elicit the desired performance gains. The TFA is a gruelling event which focuses a lot on anaerobic as well as aerobic endurance, coupled with moderate amounts of strength. It is with this in mind that the focus of the program is mostly anaerobic and aerobic work, and modest yet sufficient amounts of task specific functional strength training. The exercises techniques and equipment is unconventional, and focused more towards the intermediate to elite trainer who has a relatively good training background (training for at least 6 months in conventional gym style training). There are also alternative exercise selections and equipment for those who do not have access to some of the main pieces of equipment in each specific program.

Program snapshot: 2 MONTH (9 WEEK) CONDITIONING PROGRAM LEADING UP TO TFA CAPE TOWN 2013 WEEK 1 MONDAY WEIGHT TRAINING HEAVY STRENGTH WEIGHT TRAINING HEAVY STRENGTH WEIGHT TRAINING HEAVY TUES AEROBIC RUN WED REST THURS WEIGHT TRAINING LIGHT MUSCULAR ENDURANCE WEIGHT TRAINING LIGHT MUSCULAR ENDURANCE WEIGHT TRAINING LIGHT FRI INTERVALS SAT RECOVERY RUN/ FLEXIBILITY + CORE SUN REST

AEROBIC RUN

REST

INTERVALS

RECOVERY RUN/ FLEXIBILITY + CORE

REST

AEROBIC RUN

REST

INTERVALS

RECOVERY RUN/ FLEXIBILITY + CORE

REST

STRENGTH

MUSCULAR ENDURANCE AEROBIC RUN REST WEIGHT TRAINING LIGHT MUSCULAR ENDURANCE FARTLEK RECOVERY RUN/ FLEXIBILITY + CORE REST REST

WEIGHT TRAINING HEAVY STRENGTH WEIGHT TRAINING FUNCTIONAL WEIGHT TRAINING FUNCTIONAL WEIGHT TRAINING FUNCTIONAL WEIGHT TRAINING FUNCTIONAL REST

STAIR WORK ANAEROBIC STAIR WORK ANAEROBIC STAIR WORK ANAEROBIC STAIR WORK ANAEROBIC WEIGHT TRAINING TASK SPECIFIC LOW INTENSITY

REST

REST

FARTLEK

TASK SPECIFIC METABOLIC CIRCUIT TASK SPECIFIC METABOLIC CIRCUIT TASK SPECIFIC METABOLIC CIRCUIT TASK SPECIFIC METABOLIC CIRCUIT COMPETITION DAY

STAIRS AEROBIC STAIRS AEROBIC STAIRS AEROBIC STAIRS AEROBIC COMPETITION DAY

REST

REST

REST

FARTLEK

REST

REST

FARTLEK

REST

RECOVERY RUN/ FLEXIBILIT Y + CORE

REST

Weight training heavy strength program weeks 1-4 Exercise Squat */ deadlift * DB Bench press RDL/Leg press Military press * Bent over rows Sets 4 4 4 3 3 Reps wk 1-2 6-8 8-10 8-10 10-12 10-12 Wk 3 &4 46 68 68 8 10 8 10 Rest 150s 120s 120s 90s 90s Intensity wk 1-2 8rm 10rm 10rm 12rm 12rm Intensity wk 3 6rm 8rm 8rm 10rm 10rm Intensity wk 4 8rm 10rm 10rm 12rm 12rm

For these strength sessions focus more on technique rather than all out strength. The intensity of each exercise will be the amount of weight lifted or the load, and is dependent on your individual ability. In the intensity column I have used repetition maximums (rm) to determine the appropriate intensity you should be using, and this is simply the most amount of weight you can lift with good form, for the required number of repetitions. Therefore if you can only squat 100kgs for 8 reps, fatiguing on the 8th rep, then 100kgs would be your 8rm. You also want to ensure you get the most out of your workouts so you must always start with 1 warm-up set of 50% load of your repetition maximum (rm) on each exercise (which is not counted as part of the allocated set scheme), and then your next set (set 1 of your designated set allocation) must be about 75% load of your rm. The consecutive sets must then be at 100% load of your rm, until all sets are completed. Granted you will be doing 2 or three sets at 100% of your rm, it must be accepted that all sets after the 1st set at 100% of your rm will see you doing less reps due to fatigue. This is acceptable and should improve in the following weeks due to the bodys ability to adapt to that stress. Due to the amount of strain on the lower back i have put 2 options for the 1st and 3rd exercises. Alternate these each week such that you do the squat (1st exercise) with the Romanian Deadlift (RDL) (3rd exercise) 1 week, and the deadlift with the leg press the next week. NB THE EXERCISE WITH A STAR NEXT TO THEM ARE STRUCTURAL EXERCISES THAT LOAD THE SPINE, THEREFORE ONLY PERFORM THEM WITH A LOAD/WEIGHT SUFFICIENT TO DO PROPER REPETITIONS. ANY EXCESS COULD PROMOTE EXCESSIVE ARCHING OF THE BACK, AND POSSIBLE LOWER BACK INJURY

Weight training functional strength program weeks 5 9 Mode Olympic/ power/ whole body Exercise Push thrusters, push jerk*, jump squat Pull - deadlift to upright row, high pull*, Power*/hang clean*, snatch*, clean and jerk/press*, Push - Square lunge*, lateral lunge, reverse lunge step ups, single leg squat*, Bulgarian split squat, lunge with Russian twist* Pull single leg deadlift, single leg suitcase deadlift, single leg diagonal deadlift Pushes horizontal weighted bar pushes, pike pole presses, split stance Arnold presses/ladder press Pulls horizontal cable pulls, vertical cable pulls, diagonal cable chops, towel pull ups Sets 4 Reps 4-6 Rest 150s Intensity 30 - 40% of 5RM deadlift

Lower body unilateral push or pull

6-8/per leg

120s

8rm

Upper body superset (push pull)

3/3

8-10

60-90s

8rm

Task specific

Farmers carries, tyre drags, tyre hammer slams, tyre drags forward (prowler)

20-40m

90s

This second phase of the strength program focuses more on movement patterns specific to tasks experienced on the fire ground, but achieved with conventional or unconventional training equipment. For instance doing a thruster simulates the action of putting heavy equipment onto a fire appliance shelving rack or lifting a ladder to be under run. Or pike pole presses which simulates the action of breaching and ventilating a ceiling. This program follows the same principles of weeks 1 -4, but has no lighter week until week 9, as you want to load the body progressively for a full 4 weeks, and then week 9 becomes a relatively light week for recovery, adaptation and accumulation of fitness prowess to take place. Each exercise mode has a list of alternatives, which you can choose from to add variety to each session. The 1st and second exercises must be done in opposition. Therefore if you do a pushing exercise for the exercise 1, then you must do a pulling exercise for exercise 2, or vice versa. This can be alternated every week. The exercises with a star (*) next to them, denote a technically demanding Olympic or power exercise, and should only be performed by individuals who have experience performing them or under the supervision of a qualified trainer. All those exercises without stars next to them are appropriate for beginner to intermediate trainers. An appropriate warm-up, highlighted in this manual, needs to be conducted before this session, and only a warm-up set for the first exercise is required. Weight training muscular endurance weeks 1 4 (beginner to intermediate) Pair A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 D1 D2 Exercise Burpees Plank with 1 arm or leg raise Bulgarian split squat Incline push ups Oblique crunches Suitcase deadlift Chin-ups Dumbbell swings Sets 2-3 2-3 2-3 2-3 2-3 2-3 2-3 2-3 Reps 10-12 15-20sec/side 10-12/leg 12-15 10-12/side 8 -10/side 6-8 (chin-ups) 10 12 inverted rows 12-15 Alternatives Thrusters Fury rows Lateral squat, step ups, lateral step ups Dips, pike pushups Cycle crunches Sumo deadlift inverted rows Mountain climbers, bear crawls

Here you must complete a pair of exercises in succession and then rest for 30 seconds before doing the next pair of exercises. Complete the entire circuit in this fashion and then rest for 2 min before doing a second and a third circuit if possible. For each exercise use a load which you can comfortably hand le for the required number of repetitions. Weight training power endurance/ functional weeks 1 4 (advanced trainers) Option 1: Pair A1 A2 B1 B2 C3 C3 Exercise single leg squat Weighted fury rows Medicine ball push up Towel pull-ups 1 legged deadlift to press Lateral db swings/med ball diagonal chops Sets 2/1 2/1 2/1 2/1 2/1 2/1 Reps 4-6/leg 6-8/side 6-8/arm 6-8 4-6/side 6-8/side Rest Must complete 1 set of each pair, rest as little as possible, then complete the same pair again, rest for 60-90s, then move onto the next pair. Once completed all pairs in that fashion, you can do 1 entire circuit, resting as little as needed, if able to.

Option 2: Pair A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 Exercise Single leg push press 4 way squat jump Single leg alt arm row/pull Side to side explosive pushup Db swing with box jump Med ball slams Sets 2/1 2/1 2/1 2/1 2/1 2/1 Reps 4-6/leg 2 rotations/ way 6-8/leg/arm 4-6/side 4 4-6

Same as previous superset

This muscular endurance program, is focused at more advanced trainers, and is more of a power endurance program. Each pair of exercises must be done as quad sets, meaning 2 rounds of each pair of exercises before resting. i.e. perform exercise A1 then immediately do A2, then go back and immediately do A1 followed by A2, before resting for 60-90 secs and then moving onto B1 and B2 in the same fashion. Use a load/resistance which you can comfortably complete 2 reps higher than the designated repetition requirement, as fatigue will set in quickly. Methods of progression can be by either adding in a second circuit of the quad sets rather than just the final single circuit allocated or you may decrease the rest intervals between each successive quad set, and test yourself to complete the entire session as quick as possible.

Task specific metabolic circuit weeks 5 8 This circuit will have three specific alternatives for use with crews in the yard, working without equipment at home, or alternatively working with old school equipment, to get maximum transference to actual real life situations. Mode Squat bodyweight Travelling squat jumps, lunge and squat, walking lunges, box jump, step ups Pushup variations, handstand pushup 1 legged deadlift Pull-ups & variations, inverted rows, rope pull-ups Person carry, firemens carry Burpees, jumping jacks, weighted sprints, burpee-to-jump pullups Equipment The same with dumbbells, box jump with dbs, step ups with dbs Task specific Tyre drags, sled drags, sandbag squats, hosebundle squats and prisoner squats

Push Lift Pull Carry fuel mix

Dumbbell press, military press, floor Tyre partner pushes, medicine ball putt, wall press balls. Sled pushes, car pushes Dumbbell deadlift, powerclean* Tyre lift, sand bag lift, or sand bag clean Dumbbell rows, high pulls*, pulley/cable pulls Farmers carry Snatch*, db swings, burpee and medicine ball putt, clean and box jump*, db swing with box jump Sled pull ins, tyre pull ins, chain pulls, Foam drum carry, hose bundle carry, tyre ring carries Tyre flips, tyre flip with plyo jump, lateral tyre throws, sled pulls, sled forward drags, tyre hits with sledgehammer

This session is fairly intense and should be done in a circuit fashion. The circuit should be completed for time and improvements can be judged by decrease in time to completion of 2-3 complete circuits, and progressions can be made by increasing load, reps or distance of exercises. Basically one should only rest as long as required between stations and no longer than 2min between circuits. Mix and match exercises according to the alternatives given. It is also fine to mix various modes of training in one session, such that 1 exercise might be a bodyweight, the next an equipment based exercise and the other an task specific exercise. One can even mix the order of exercises around, but ensure that a predominantly lifting and squatting exercise are not consecutive, and a lifting and pulling exercise are not in succession. The repetitions for bodyweight exercises should be between 15 and 20, and increases can be initiated if desired. For exercises involving distances, utilise a weight that allows the movement of that weight, with sufficient effort, over 20-30m, and lastly for equipment exercises, 15-20 reps. If

however the exercise is a complex, Olympic or power movement (denoted by a *), utilise the 8-12 rep range, to ensure quality of the movement, as these are explosive exercises and form will falter beyond this rep range. Another alternative could be to do each exercise for a predetermined amount of time like 45 60 seconds for each exercise in the circuit, with enough rest to move between each exercise and then once the entire circuit is complete, rest for 2-3min, and commence another round. 3-4 circuits would be sufficient to get the desired result, but start off with 2 circuits. Cardiovascular training Aerobic runs: These sessions will simply be tempo running sessions, in which you complete a set distance in a specified amount of time. For the purposes of the TFA Challenge, there would be no need to be running more than 6km or 30 min of running. There are two ways of achieving this and both ways are acceptable. The first is to run for time. Here you would set the distance at 6km, and basically try to improve your time to completion of the 6km every week. The second would be to run for distance, where you would set the cut-off time to 30min, and try increase the distance you achieve in 30min every successive week. For these tempo runs to be effective you must ensure you know your limits and find an appropriate pacing strategy to reach your goal time or distance. Everybody has a different intensity tolerance level, and because of this it is difficult to allocate specific intensity variables that will suit all. I will however, give you a subjective method of determining your intensity levels to push yourself. This is with the help of the Talk Test. Basically for exercise to be effective for you to improve your cardiovascular endurance, you should run/jog at a speed (intensity), at which you can no longer continue a normal conversation if you were running with a partner. If you are able to simply answer yes or no to a question, or talk with pauses after every word or second word to take a breath, then that would be the appropriate intensity. If however you are running alone, then reciting the first few lines of a song you like (not singing it) after every 5-10min could help. If youre just barely able to recite the words with definite pauses for breath between words, then you are working at the right intensity. If you cant get any words out, then youre working too hard, and would probably stop due to fatigue anyway, and if youre not working hard enough, then you would be able to recite the words quite comfortably with no pauses. This procedure works exactly the same with cycling, however when doing cycling sessions as per the program, you must increase the distance covered to roughly double that of running. As you get fitter however your times to completion would get better, and your relative intensity at which speech is difficult will increase as well. Recovery runs: Run for 15-20min at a pace at which you can hold a conversation comfortably with a running partner, without significant pauses for breath, or at a pace which you can comfortably recite the first few lines of your favourite song without breaks for pauses of breath between words. Or cycle with the same concept for 15-20min

Interval training: Find a soccer field or a long stretch and perform the following routine, after you complete a 5min warm-up jog at recovery run pace Run at pace (pace at which youre barely able to say 1 word) for 1min (between 250-350m) and then immediately follow that with a slow jog at recovery run pace for 2min Continue this cycle 6 more times Finish with a 3-5min cool down jog at recovery run pace Each subsequent week, decrease the recovery phase by 15sec until you are working at a 1:1 work/recovery ratio, and then proceed to add in extra intervals up to a maximum of 8. Another option would be to start increasing the working/running interval by 15 sec once you have reached the 8 interval maximum or further decrease your rest times. See which works best but if you at this point of training.

Stair work anaerobic Find a staircase and perform the following anaerobic stair drill after a 5-10min warm-up: 30 sec on/30 sec off x 5-8 reps ascend stairs at a fast pace for 30 secs and then walk back down slowly for 30sec, then turn and repeat for the required number of repetitions. Take a 2min rest then complete another set. 5 flights or 50 stairs x 5-8 reps on a 1:3 work to rest ratio ascend the stairs as fast as possible, then turn around and walk down. At the bottom, rest 3 x the time it took you to get up the stairs before repeating the second next rep. Complete the required reps then rest. Improve each week by climbing more stairs (and ultimately going faster) in the first exercise, or by decreasing the rest interval on the second exercise, until you are down to 1-1 In the first week of this session use only your fire gear or a weight vest equal to 10kg, and then in the subsequent sessions use fire gear and a BA set.

Stair work aerobic Find some stairs and walk/jog up and down them continuously for 25-30min. Use a consistent pace, and the talk test could be used here as well, therefore a pace where you can just barely speak. Emphasize placing a foot on every step. For the first week only, use no fire gear, thereon use fire gear or a 10kg weight vest. Fartleks This is a session where you add different modalities of cardiovascular and other training to replicate the demands of a specific competition, requiring a mix of differing energy systems. You are going to have to be innovative about how you design this session as it will involve hill climbs, stairs, obstacles etc. Here is how you would set it up. You will complete the following exercises in succession with no rest for the stipulated amount of time. 1. Warmup jog at recovery pace for 3 min followed by 2. A stair climb, ascent and descent for 5min (any staircase will do) 3. 5min run at aerobic run pace 4. Shuttle run between 4 x 5m cones at pace for 3min 5. 4min jog at recovery run pace 6. Hill climb for 3-5min 7. 5-7min jog at recovery run pace. This equates to 30min of mixed intensities. The best thing about this session is that you can manipulate any part of it to suit your needs or fitness level, or add in or substitute other exercises or resistance to make it tougher, such as, adding resistance to the shuttle run by carrying half filled foam drums coiled hose, or completing the entire course with fire gear or a weighted vest.

Movement prep and cool down Best to start at the beginning, and ensuring your body is ready for all the hammering you are going to be handing to it. Before each session conduct a movement prep session. For all strength sessions your movement prep will be as follows: Joint mobility circuit ankle rolls, knee rolls, 90degree hip abduction, side to side hip sways, hip rolls, torso twists, alt toe touches, reverse shoulder rolls, forward arm swings, side to side lateral raises, full body swings, round the world. 3min of light cardio Movement prep circuit 10 x bodyweight squats, 6 x swallow dives, 15 x star jumps, plank (45s)

For all aerobic sessions simply start the activity with 3-5min of a lighter intensity for that session. So if you are going for an aerobic tempo run, start off running at a comfortable pace in which you can comfortably hold a conversation. For all interval Sessions do the following warm up which could also be used as a separate movement prep session added to a core session or cardio session if in need for a lighter alternative. Joint mobility circuit ankle rolls, knee rolls, 90degree hip abduction, side to side hip sways, hip rolls, torso twists, alt toe touches, reverse shoulder rolls, arm swings, side to side, lateral raises, full body swings. 3min of light cardio Movement prep circuit below, choose 6 lower body and 3 upper body dynamic stretches

Lower body
Straight leg swings (forward and side on) Knee ins to chest Over and under lateral walks Forward lunge with alternate upper body sway Reverse lunge with torso twist Forward lunge with elbow instep Hip sways

Base rotations Quad stretch with alternate toe touch Figure 4 1 legged squat Ankle hops 1 legged lateral squat jumps Swallow dives

Upper body and core Pushup with lateral shoulder extension Lateral walk on all fours Plank Side plank Supermans (bird dog) Stick ups Shoulder retraction

Cool down/stretching After each strength and Interval/anaerobic session ensure that you stretch each muscle that was worked in that session, as well as giving extra attention to those areas that are particularly tight or inflexible. This will also aid with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which may be experienced a day or two following a tough training session, as stretching the muscle, promotes elasticity and elongates the muscle, providing a greater surface area for muscle repair to occur. The stretches that will follow can be used as a separate flexibility session as prescribed by the program Lower body 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Hamstring stretch lying on your back Glute stretch Lower back stretch Pelvic tilt Side lying quad stretch

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Groin stretch ITB stretch Psoas stretch Adductor stretch Calf stretch

Upper body 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Pec stretch Rotator cuff stretch Behind the neck triceps stretch Lat stretch Abdominal stretch Side bend - obliques stretch

Core training This program is aimed purely at a preventative measures called prehabilitation. This is the prevention of the most common injuries through functional movement corrections and strengthening of the core, which all movement emanates from. This program can be done 1-2 times per week as per the training program schedule, and only once after the 4th week with the aerobic stair session if desired, as most of the functional movements one will be doing at this stage will attend to core strength maintenance. Remember these exercises are not mandatory but are advisable if time avails. Another time efficient option is to do these as a circuit. Progress to the next phase of core training once youre able to do the upper limit of the allocated rep range. Phase 1 static floor exercise Plank Gluteal bridge Side plank sets 2 2 2 reps 30-45s 30-45s 20s/side rest betw sets 60s 60s 60s

Bird dog

20s/side

60s

Phase 2 static and dynamic exercise Plank with alt leg and arm lift Gluteal bridge with alt single leg lift Side plank with hip abduction Seated hip sways/ torso twists sets 2 2 2 2 reps 25s/side 25s/side 8-10/side 8-10/side rest betw sets 60s 60s 60s 60s

Phase 3 - dynamic Exercise Supermans (full) Reverse hyperextensions Hanging leg lifts Lying windscreen wipers sets 2 2 2 2 reps 20-30s/side 8-12/side 8-12/side 6-10/side rest betw sets 60s 60s 60s 60s

NB PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PROGRAM IS A GUIDELINE, AND ALTHOUGH IT ENDEAVOURS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THIS GRUELLING COMPETITION IT CAN NEVER BE A ONE SIZE FITS ALL PROGRAM. PLEASE ENSURE YOU USE THE GUIDELINES PROVIDED, TO TAILOR THE PROGRAM TO SUIT YOUR SPECIFIC FITNESS NEEDS.