Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-05-2012, 12:17 PM
Imago Imago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 527
Can a 5'0" woman ever, concievably, lift 180 pounds?

Alright guys. I'm set to go to the local school of paramedicine. Part of the fitness test to be certified as a paramedic in the city I live in involves carrying a 180-pound dummy. I assume we will be allowed to fireman's-carry it because there is no way in hell I'll be able to do it another way.

I'm 5'0", female, twenty years old and appear to have a relatively small frame for my height.

Now, I hope that with a ridiculous amount of strength training in the upper back and core, I can pass the damn test. I'm certain this is the job for me, if it isn't out of my reach. I really don't give half a damn how stupid I could potentially look with all that muscle (I'll look stupider in the unemployment line with a student loan, yeah?) and as you can probably tell I'm willing to spend as much time and money as I have on getting certified.

I've called the association of paramedicine and the center that does the tests, and from what they've each told me there's no height restriction, but if you can't pass the test, you can't legally apply for work.

Come to think of it, I've never seen a female firefighter in my life, I don't think I've ever seen a female cop shorter than 5'10", and I know my dad (5'6") wanted to be a policeman when he got out of the military but the minimum height was 5"8". So... is height going to screw me out of my chosen career?
  #2  
Old 04-05-2012, 12:43 PM
Quercus Quercus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: temperate forest
Posts: 6,937
Why don't you try and get in touch with some paramedics in your city, and ask them what they think?
(Don't ask the school. They have kind of a financial interest in you attending, right?)
  #3  
Old 04-05-2012, 12:55 PM
Sicks Ate Sicks Ate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: KS, US
Posts: 6,034
A 97 pound 10 year-old set a world record by squatting 210 pounds.

Other good news, it appears from this link (if I'm reading it correctly) that the record squat for a 97 lb. woman is 378 lbs.

Getting the dummy into a fireman's carry involves a squatting motion. So in addition to the core strenthening you plan on, I'd say it's certainly possible that you could accomplish it.
  #4  
Old 04-05-2012, 01:02 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,135
Are you sure you have to carry it? - IANAP/FF but thought you could usually drag the dummy in these sorts of strength tests.
  #5  
Old 04-05-2012, 01:11 PM
Chefguy's Avatar
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 40,409
Female power lifters hoist that sort of weight on a regular basis. It takes a lot of training, but barring any physical limitations you could get there.
  #6  
Old 04-05-2012, 01:12 PM
Sicks Ate Sicks Ate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: KS, US
Posts: 6,034
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
A 97 pound 10 year-old set a world record by squatting 210 pounds.

Other good news, it appears from this link (if I'm reading it correctly) that the record squat for a 97 lb. woman is 378 lbs.

Getting the dummy into a fireman's carry involves a squatting motion. So in addition to the core strenthening you plan on, I'd say it's certainly possible that you could accomplish it.
My interpretation of the second link I posted is quite obviously wrong sorry.
  #7  
Old 04-05-2012, 01:20 PM
Bouncer Bouncer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: USA for now
Posts: 521
First, yes, you can physically do this.

Remember in a fireman's carry (if required to actually carry, as opposed to drag), you will be using your leg muscles the most. Do a sitting and then standing leg press in the gym. Determine what your current weight carrying ability is, then try to increase it. You might be surprised by what you can currently carry. Good luck to you!

Regards,
-Bouncer-
  #8  
Old 04-05-2012, 01:30 PM
Imago Imago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
Why don't you try and get in touch with some paramedics in your city, and ask them what they think?
(Don't ask the school. They have kind of a financial interest in you attending, right?)
Yeah, the school has nothing to do with the test other than checking you've passed it anyway. I suppose I could try to get in touch with some currently working paramedics though- that's a pretty good idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
Are you sure you have to carry it? - IANAP/FF but thought you could usually drag the dummy in these sorts of strength tests.
Yup, no dragging. You're allowed to set it down in a controlled manner to readjust your position (though the test is timed), but the booklet I've got says while it's on the floor it can't be in motion.

My father said last week that he saw a 5'9" 20-something girl who couldn't lift 90 pounds working on an ambulance in Montreal. Of course the fitness standards over there could be worlds different from here (that's halfway across the country and nothing is standardized). That, and knowing him she might have been an ambulance driver, mobile nurse, or some kind of assistant that he just assumed was a paramedic.

When I googled all I got were a bunch of 5'0" women asking how much they should weigh according to the BMI, but based on the links in this thread it looks like it can definitely be done. Might be a pain in the arse to juggle with academic workload, but doable is doable. Thanks folks!
  #9  
Old 04-05-2012, 01:53 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: I am Queens Boulevard
Posts: 14,142
There are only 31 female firefighters in the FDNY, but if you look at a picture of them, some are *quite* petite. I doubt if Joy Flores, in the lower left of the photo, is much over 5 feet.
http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010...ters-diversity

Here she is receiving her diploma, showing her to be easily a head shorter than the officer handing it to her, and probably more, as he is leaning forward while she stands straight.

ETA: NY Firefighters lift a 130lb dummy, but they do it wearing 40 lbs of fire protective gear, including their air tank.

Last edited by Hello Again; 04-05-2012 at 01:57 PM.
  #10  
Old 04-05-2012, 02:32 PM
the Lady the Lady is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 1,102
My sister is a 5'0" paramedic.
She looks a little silly in her uniform (they don't make them small enough) and she has to buy her boots in a whole other province.

The female firefighter we met when we took the Sparks to the firehall appeared to have the same problem. She was taller, but it looked like her pants would fall off of her without her belt. She looked more fit than any of the guys there.
  #11  
Old 04-05-2012, 02:45 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 79,009
I'm a weakling (despite being a six-foot male), and I can lift 180 pounds, if I can get a good grip on it and get in a position to lift with my legs. There's a lady in the department who's about 100 pounds who can beat me in an arm wrestle, and I'm pretty sure she can lift as much as me, too. She doesn't even look remarkably muscular. Lifting that much weight doesn't seem like a particularly hard bar to clear, to me.
  #12  
Old 04-05-2012, 02:48 PM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Florida
Posts: 6,062
I am 5' 2" and can lift my own body weight over my head. (Think gymnastics type moves.) No problem lifting my 75 lb. bulldog over to her crate when she just. won't. go. on her own accord.

Now 180 lbs. is another 70 pounds added to my body weight, but I think I could probably do it given use of proper body mechanics, i.e., fireman carry, lift with your legs, keep breathing.

My questions to you would be:
•How far do you have to carry this dummy?
•When is this test?

I think you're right: with a lot of good strength training in your core and upper body, you can probably do it. Work out at the gym and try to get yourself worked up to 180 pounds. If you can put off taking the test until you know you can do it... well, then, you're golden.

Good luck! I hope you make it. That would be awesome to see a tiny little petite woman kicking ass with the big burly firemen/paramedics/EMTs. Get down with your bad self!
  #13  
Old 04-05-2012, 03:16 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Transplanted!
Posts: 19,069
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
A 97 pound 10 year-old set a world record by squatting 210 pounds.
The bad news is that this kind of strength is largely a gift of genetics, like your height, although exercise and nutrition can certainly optimize what you have. But the good news is that you're still probably stronger than you think, and, moreover, it's much easier to carry the load on your shoulders than it would be to lift it overhead with your arms fully extended.

Pay particular attention to your core (abs and lower back) and you should be fine.
  #14  
Old 04-05-2012, 03:33 PM
Shalmanese Shalmanese is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Shenzhen, China
Posts: 7,232
According to ExRx, it would take an average woman at least two years of training to be able to squat 180lbs. If you're genetically gifted, then those times will be a bit shorter but it's going to be hard. Note by the same tables that even relatively light men achieve the same standard in 3 - 6 months.
  #15  
Old 04-05-2012, 04:21 PM
Dr. Love Dr. Love is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 942
Yes, it can be done. Look at Polish weightlifter Marzena Karpińska, who stands at 4'11" and weights only 104 lbs. Watch her take a 212 lb barbell off the floor and lift it over her head. Here are some other lifters, starting with 174 lbs and going up to 209 in a more challenging lift.

If you want to increase your strength for this test, I would recommend:
  1. Learn about strength training. One of the best sources is Starting Strength
  2. Find a gym that specializes in strength sports. Either powerlifting (you might try starting here) or Olympic style weightlifting (you might try here). They don't get too many women, so they'll probably be overjoyed that you are interested. You can explain your needs and they'll help you get there.
  #16  
Old 04-05-2012, 04:24 PM
Imago Imago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by the Lady View Post
My sister is a 5'0" paramedic.
She looks a little silly in her uniform (they don't make them small enough) and she has to buy her boots in a whole other province.

The female firefighter we met when we took the Sparks to the firehall appeared to have the same problem. She was taller, but it looked like her pants would fall off of her without her belt. She looked more fit than any of the guys there.
That's the general idea I'm getting here- that I'll have to work harder at it than someone with a bigger skeleton and/or more testosterone, but that it's definitely possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogzilla View Post
My questions to you would be:
•How far do you have to carry this dummy?
•When is this test?

I think you're right: with a lot of good strength training in your core and upper body, you can probably do it. Work out at the gym and try to get yourself worked up to 180 pounds. If you can put off taking the test until you know you can do it... well, then, you're golden.
I'll have to refer to the booklet on the first one. As for the second, I think there is one at the end of the first semester of school, and I know there's one after you're finished school last thing before you can register to be certified.

The next batch of students start classes on June 30th, but I'll never make the deadline for that one because I'd need to have my CPR finished, vaccinations certified, have a driver's abstract ready to prove my driving record, be confident in my ability to do all the lifting associated with the classes and workterm etc etc before April 27th. So it seems I have at least until late April of next year.

Right now I'm rather scrawny and don't know much about this kind of fitness, having recently recovered from a long illness. I'd been doing whatever you call that type of yoga where you hold asanas for a godawfully long time for a few years before that, and while I didn't notice a difference in myself (more into it for the relaxation aspect than the physical stuff) other people remarked on my looking toned-up. The defining symptom was all-over join pain sufficient to keep me in bed, to the point that I even dropped the yoga, had difficulty cooking for myself and it took the entire day's worth of energy to wash my hair.

As soon as my health improved I started running the stairs a bit, because I knew there'd be a physical test somewhere on the road to being a paramedic and I feared I wasn't ready for any actual fitness regimen. As of right now I can spend a half-hour running up and down the stairs with two one-minute breaks, but I have to use both hands to lift a 4-litre jug of water/milk. So... I've got a long way to go. I've been told that lifting excercises will be more effective if I resume the yoga on the side to build up all those little muscles weights might miss, not sure if that's true but it's worth a shot.

I'd venture to say I'm not genetically gifted at it. If I were, I'd still have to consider the possibility of being wrong and prepare for the worst-case scenario and such, which means between here and MPSIMS I might be asking a lot of dumb questions about getting the absolute most out of strength training in the foreseeable future.

Pity I wasn't born half a decade earlier- talked to an ex-paramedic-turned-med-student last week who said in his day it was just a 120lb barbell, and the part of the test where you move a wheelchair up a flight of stairs with the same dummy you've just carried sitting in it is new too.

Last edited by Imago; 04-05-2012 at 04:25 PM. Reason: fix a quote box
  #17  
Old 04-06-2012, 04:07 AM
isaiahrobinson isaiahrobinson is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 640
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shalmanese View Post
According to ExRx, it would take an average woman at least two years of training to be able to squat 180lbs. If you're genetically gifted, then those times will be a bit shorter but it's going to be hard. Note by the same tables that even relatively light men achieve the same standard in 3 - 6 months.
She won't need to squat it though. That would be much harder than simply carrying it.

It's certainly possible, and it shouldn't take too much training. A month or two maybe. If you've got a whole year to prepare for it you'll have no problem. Let me know if you'd like tips on strength training for this sort of thing.
  #18  
Old 04-06-2012, 04:33 AM
KarlGrenze KarlGrenze is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 6,406
I have to point out that bench pressing is different from carrying an actual person. Unlike Dogzilla, despite what I can do, I cannot carry my 80 lbs dog unwillingly. Willingly, or well, while sick (or dead) I can carry animals that weight that more for short distances.

Humans, though, I can carry heavier ones. Part of it is balance of where to accomodate them, either piggyback or over your shoulder. I don't think I've come close to carry an 180 lb person, but I've carried a few over 120 lb people (well, female) for short distances. Keep in mind I do that for the most part without training. I do not train solely for carrying people.

I'm 5'1", female, and on skinny days approach 120.

My point is, you may not bench press 180lb, but you may be able to carry someone that size, if you train for it.
  #19  
Old 04-06-2012, 10:07 AM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Florida
Posts: 6,062
Well, I can't carry that dog very far when she doesn't want to go, that's for sure.

I was also thinking about my job in college as a nurses' aide. That would be very similar to the type of work you'd have to perform as a paramedic. I did not work out back in the day and was nowhere near the shape I'm in now. But I could move a 180-pound patient from his bed to his wheelchair and back. Sometimes, those were two-person carries. If the person was able to support his own weight a little bit, I could do that by myself. It was about body mechanics, balance, and weight distribution. For example, you hook your elbow pits into the patient's armpits, set your feet wide apart and push back with your legs. This gets the person to a sitting position. Re-set your position and set the chair next to the bed, repeat the process, starting from a squat. By the time you lock your elbows into the patient's armpits and just stand up, you've gotten the other person to stand (and are now supporting most of their weight). Pivot with your arms locked into pt's pits and squat back down again, pt is now sitting in his chair.

The key is using your joints and not really using your hands to lift, if that makes sense, and never, ever, never bend at the waist. Always squat down and use your legs to do the lifting. That's where all your strength is (as a woman) anyway. So if you were going to lift weights to build strength, then I'd be doing a lot of squats and not worrying about trying to lift anything over my head. I'd try to squat down, let the dummy's weight fall across my shoulders and then just stand up... slowly. Always move slowly so you don't pull something.
  #20  
Old 04-06-2012, 11:14 AM
Imago Imago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 527
True stuff... I'd imagine that's why they went from a barbell to a dummy.

So after checking the booklet, the test is an obstacle course type deal which has to be completed in 9 minutes or less, consisting of four parts.

1 involves 25-lb dumbells. You carry them up and down some stairs, then set them down at a push/pull station. You static-push, then static-pull 85lbs for five seconds each. Pick them dumbells back up, carry them a while (would really appreicate if they gave me numbers here!), set them down and pick them up again (just because?) and then carry them back to the start.

2 involves carrying 50-lb dumbells over to a CPR dummy. You put them down, do 2 minutes of chest compressions at 100 per minute, pick them back up and carry them to the end.

3 involves a chair with the 180-lb dummy and a flight of three stairs. You have a partner who is also taking the test. You push it to the stairs, bring it up the stairs, switch places with your partner (front/back), bring it down the stairs and push it back to where it was.

In 4 you carry the dummy halfway, set it down and stand up straight. Pick it back up again, go backwards to where you started.

It's not telling me anything about distance, which is a pain in the arse.
  #21  
Old 04-06-2012, 11:19 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 20,628
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
I'm a weakling (despite being a six-foot male), and I can lift 180 pounds, if I can get a good grip on it and get in a position to lift with my legs.
Ah, but Chronos, your strength is all in your mind.
  #22  
Old 04-06-2012, 01:59 PM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Florida
Posts: 6,062
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imago View Post
True stuff... I'd imagine that's why they went from a barbell to a dummy.

So after checking the booklet, the test is an obstacle course type deal which has to be completed in 9 minutes or less, consisting of four parts.

1 involves 25-lb dumbells. You carry them up and down some stairs, then set them down at a push/pull station. You static-push, then static-pull 85lbs for five seconds each. Pick them dumbells back up, carry them a while (would really appreicate if they gave me numbers here!), set them down and pick them up again (just because?) and then carry them back to the start.

2 involves carrying 50-lb dumbells over to a CPR dummy. You put them down, do 2 minutes of chest compressions at 100 per minute, pick them back up and carry them to the end.

3 involves a chair with the 180-lb dummy and a flight of three stairs. You have a partner who is also taking the test. You push it to the stairs, bring it up the stairs, switch places with your partner (front/back), bring it down the stairs and push it back to where it was.

In 4 you carry the dummy halfway, set it down and stand up straight. Pick it back up again, go backwards to where you started.

It's not telling me anything about distance, which is a pain in the arse.
And you've got about a year to workout and prepare?

You've totally got this.
  #23  
Old 04-06-2012, 03:18 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Transplanted!
Posts: 19,069
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imago View Post
True stuff... I'd imagine that's why they went from a barbell to a dummy.

So after checking the booklet, the test is an obstacle course type deal which has to be completed in 9 minutes or less, consisting of four parts.

1 involves 25-lb dumbells. You carry them up and down some stairs, then set them down at a push/pull station. You static-push, then static-pull 85lbs for five seconds each. Pick them dumbells back up, carry them a while (would really appreicate if they gave me numbers here!), set them down and pick them up again (just because?) and then carry them back to the start.

2 involves carrying 50-lb dumbells over to a CPR dummy. You put them down, do 2 minutes of chest compressions at 100 per minute, pick them back up and carry them to the end.
.
One thing about the dumbbell-carrying tasks is that you should be able to lift a LOT more from the floor to the level of your waist, particularly in the form of dumbbells, than you would be able to lift to your shoulders or overhead. On the other hand, you are being asked to carry the weights some distance, so you will be holding onto them awhile. The muscles that power your grip are mostly in your lower arms, so you'll want to make sure you include some lower-arm exercises in your training routine. Moreover, dumbbells come with different thicknesses in their central shaft. Non-adjustable dumbbells that consist of a single piece of metal generally have thicker shafts than adjustable ones, and those are likely to be more tiring to your grip. If you practice with those, and they turn up at the test, great. If it turns out the test uses the narrower-shaft, adjustable weights, even better--you'll have an extra advantage.

With regard to the weightlifting tasks generally, I imagine that the testing center isn't going to be overly concerned with proper form. For instance, when you do bicep curls at the gym, you should be using your arms but holding the rest of your body as motionless as possible. If you allow the rest of your body to become involved in the movement, you will be able to heave a significantly greater amount of weight through the movement, but then you are "cheating" as they call it in weight training circles. Within reason, that should be OK for you, since your goal is to get that dummy lifted.

Last edited by Spectre of Pithecanthropus; 04-06-2012 at 03:19 PM.
  #24  
Old 04-06-2012, 03:27 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Transplanted!
Posts: 19,069
Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGrenze View Post
I have to point out that bench pressing is different from carrying an actual person. Unlike Dogzilla, despite what I can do, I cannot carry my 80 lbs dog unwillingly.
For a minute there, I thought you meant you couldn't carry the dog if ordered to do so against your will, but if you wanted to do it you were fine. Frankly, I find it nearly impossible to carry my 25-pound cat against her will. She bites.

Quote:

My point is, you may not bench press 180lb, but you may be able to carry someone that size, if you train for it.
Naomi Kutin, the 10-year-old girl in Sicks Ate's link is a case in point. Her bench press was only 67 pounds at a recent event--a mere fraction of the weight she squatted. She'll probably improve her bench as she grows up, but it will almost without question always be far less than what she can squat.
  #25  
Old 04-06-2012, 03:47 PM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Taint of creation
Posts: 33,150
You could probably do it with enough training.. however... and it's big however... I'm not sure about the overall wisdom of this vocation if you are really expected to lift people on a regular basis, and FWIW 180 lbs is not a particularly large person these days.

The reason I say this is that I knew a very sturdy and robust athletic young woman who was about 5' 3", she was easily muscle-wise strong enough to lift heavy stuff in her summer job as a kayak instructor, but her back was not up to it, and she eventually tore something and wound up with a seriously (and permanently) damaged back trying to hump the kayaks around like the men did.

No matter how strong and muscular you become there are real limits to what your joints and your ligaments etc can handle on a small person with a gracile frame. If you do not have a robust frame you may be at serious risk of doing permanent injury to yourself no matter how powerful you become.
  #26  
Old 04-06-2012, 06:55 PM
Imago Imago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 527
That's definitely a good point that I would've overlooked, and thanks a bunch for bringing it up.

I'm not likely to be expected to carry anyone over my shoulder (or carry anyone solo at all) on the job except in the kind of emergency that I'm not called to every day- the fitness test being to ensure that candidates can, in fact, do it when it's sometimes needed.

I'm imagining there are ways to move an injured person that are far less likely to aggravate their wounds than being hauled like a sack of potatoes, but take more time. Likely also easier on the joints. If you're in a position where an informed professional would opt to straight out carry them, you haven't got time. Whereas the majority of calls coming in, from what I've learned so far, are more a matter of the time between leaving for the hospital and arriving at it than the time from floor/bed/etc to stretcher. As well, the scheduling workers here tend to pair a small paramedic with a bigger partner whenever possible just for that reason.

A couple months ago I started reading/googling like mad to make sure it wasn't an entirely terrible idea for reasons other than just size. I remember coming across some sample interview questions they use when hiring, one of which is about getting a 400-lb guy out of a 4th-floor apartment with just you and your tiny female partner. Quite likely they don't carry him in that hypothetical, even together.

As a sidenote, I don't know the answer to that hypothetical yet (something they'll teach in school), but my best friend has made me swear that I'll tell her in the most irrevent array of details possible if standard procedure is to drag 'em.
  #27  
Old 04-07-2012, 01:20 AM
Nava Nava is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 39,457
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bouncer View Post
First, yes, you can physically do this.

Remember in a fireman's carry (if required to actually carry, as opposed to drag), you will be using your leg muscles the most. Do a sitting and then standing leg press in the gym. Determine what your current weight carrying ability is, then try to increase it. You might be surprised by what you can currently carry. Good luck to you!

Regards,
-Bouncer-
As a 5'4", 164lb, completely un-athletic woman I lifted 250lb with one leg (either leg) and no effort; the 250lb was the max weigth the machine could hold. What I'd be worried about is whether you'll be able to manage someone who's 6'-something and either unconscious or wriggling.

In Spain I've seen female emergency personnel your height in all kinds of frames, from "porcelain doll" to "beardless fantasy dwarf"; they have to be able to pass the carry tests, but I don't know how is it structured for each of their organizations.

Last edited by Nava; 04-07-2012 at 01:24 AM.
  #28  
Old 04-07-2012, 08:28 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 14,070
Picking up an 180-lb person is not the same as squat-lifting 180lb. You get them up to sitting position first - much easier. They have handles - sorry, arms and legs - rather than unbending hard steel bars. You would probably sit them up, then put your arms under their arms around the torso and lift to limp standing position, then try to maneuver them over your shoulders. Not trivial, not easy, but not 180lb squat lift from all the way down either. Depends how much jerking you are allowed to do, I suppose.
  #29  
Old 04-07-2012, 10:16 AM
nate nate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 802
I would think squatting a 180 lbs person would be MUCH harder than squatting a 180 lbs barbell. With a barbell you have rigid grips, its balanced, predictable, and you can put your body in a safe form before attempting to lift. A limp body would be awkward to lift.

I personally think, from years of experience in the gym, that it would take some serious training for a couple of years along with favorable genetics for a 5'0" 100 lbs woman to squat 180 lbs.
  #30  
Old 04-07-2012, 10:31 AM
NinjaChick NinjaChick is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: N/A
Posts: 5,368
Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post
You could probably do it with enough training.. however... and it's big however... I'm not sure about the overall wisdom of this vocation if you are really expected to lift people on a regular basis, and FWIW 180 lbs is not a particularly large person these days.

The reason I say this is that I knew a very sturdy and robust athletic young woman who was about 5' 3", she was easily muscle-wise strong enough to lift heavy stuff in her summer job as a kayak instructor, but her back was not up to it, and she eventually tore something and wound up with a seriously (and permanently) damaged back trying to hump the kayaks around like the men did.

No matter how strong and muscular you become there are real limits to what your joints and your ligaments etc can handle on a small person with a gracile frame. If you do not have a robust frame you may be at serious risk of doing permanent injury to yourself no matter how powerful you become.
I'm a 5'0 Army medic. I agree...to an extent. Is it more likely that I'll hurt myself lifting a patient someday? Sure, because it's more likely he'll weigh a lot more than I do. Can I take steps to avoid it, by working constantly on my core strength and being sure to use proper technique? Yup.

Also, as the OP said: a fireman's carry is not part of the normal, day-to-day routine. If a medic is scooping someone up like that, then it means several things are seriously bad (like 'inside a burning building' levels of bad). Normally a medic wouldn't be moving a patient alone. Also, normally you'd be using a spine board or lifting them right onto a wheeled stretcher or using some other sort of carrying device. Is it important for a medic to be able to if needed? Absolutely. Is it assumed that a medic is going to be routinely picking patients up like that? Nope. It's an emergency thing.
  #31  
Old 04-07-2012, 10:32 AM
KarlGrenze KarlGrenze is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 6,406
But the thing is, you're not squatting an 180 lbs person, you're just lifting/carrying it for what it seems (per the test) a relatively short distance, before getting a respite and finish it.

Squatting is different from carrying. I don't think I can squat 180 lbs, or heck, 120 lbs, but I know I can carry a 120 lbs person for a short distance. And I'm not even training for that!

You can position someone over the shoulder, or piggy back, and find the balance that fits you and where you can carry the extra weight for a little while.

Directed at nate.

Last edited by KarlGrenze; 04-07-2012 at 10:33 AM.
  #32  
Old 04-07-2012, 10:54 AM
nate nate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 802
Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGrenze View Post
But the thing is, you're not squatting an 180 lbs person, you're just lifting/carrying it for what it seems (per the test) a relatively short distance, before getting a respite and finish it.

Squatting is different from carrying. I don't think I can squat 180 lbs, or heck, 120 lbs, but I know I can carry a 120 lbs person for a short distance. And I'm not even training for that!

You can position someone over the shoulder, or piggy back, and find the balance that fits you and where you can carry the extra weight for a little while.

Directed at nate.
I'm picturing someone squatting to flop the limp dummy over their shoulders and then having to stand up to carry it. I agree that the carrying part would be much easier. It's the lifting the dummy to the carrying position that somewhat resembles a squat.
  #33  
Old 04-07-2012, 01:34 PM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Taint of creation
Posts: 33,150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
As a 5'4", 164lb, completely un-athletic woman I lifted 250lb with one leg (either leg) and no effort; the 250lb was the max weight the machine could hold. What I'd be worried about is whether you'll be able to manage someone who's 6'-something and either unconscious or wriggling.

In Spain I've seen female emergency personnel your height in all kinds of frames, from "porcelain doll" to "beardless fantasy dwarf"; they have to be able to pass the carry tests, but I don't know how is it structured for each of their organizations.
Women often tend to have quite strong legs and there are lots of women who can leg press large amounts of weight well beyond 400 bs who still be very hard put to hoist up a limp 180 lb person on their backs for a suspended carry because of the (relative) lack of upper body and abdominal core strength.

Another factor here related to Dogzilla's post is the extreme importance of experience and leverage issues. People in physically demanding jobs can often lift and handle much more weight than you might expect because they have simply learned over time how position their bodies and develop their technique to efficiently handle the object they are expected to move around. Yes, you have to have a certain minimum strength capacity, but practicing lifting something very similar to the object you are expected to hoist and move is a very big deal especially if you are a smaller person who is going to be physically challenged by the attempt.
  #34  
Old 04-07-2012, 03:29 PM
Try2B Comprehensive's Avatar
Try2B Comprehensive Try2B Comprehensive is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 6,002
I think you can do it. Judging by the test requirements, it looks like a 3-way approach would work best. Keep up with the yoga for the reasons you mentioned, and because you'll be less likely to hurt your back that way. Weight training of course. And you will want to work on your cardio so you don't poop out halfway through, so running or biking or something like that. Endurance is a big factor in strength.

What you eat can have a big effect on how your training goes. Protein from stuff like salmon or tuna after training is better than beef or the junk that a lot of people eat. And those nutrition stores don't entirely peddle bs. Certain supplements and so on might give you a big advantage in your quest to build up your body. It would be worth looking into.

Good luck!
  #35  
Old 04-07-2012, 03:46 PM
Try2B Comprehensive's Avatar
Try2B Comprehensive Try2B Comprehensive is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 6,002
Oh yeah, maybe switch what kind of yoga you're doing. Try vinyasa (power) yoga. It will probably be useful for you, to the point that it could be your entire training routine if you do it enough.
  #36  
Old 04-07-2012, 08:34 PM
Imago Imago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by Try2B Comprehensive View Post
I think you can do it. Judging by the test requirements, it looks like a 3-way approach would work best. Keep up with the yoga for the reasons you mentioned, and because you'll be less likely to hurt your back that way. Weight training of course. And you will want to work on your cardio so you don't poop out halfway through, so running or biking or something like that. Endurance is a big factor in strength.

What you eat can have a big effect on how your training goes. Protein from stuff like salmon or tuna after training is better than beef or the junk that a lot of people eat. And those nutrition stores don't entirely peddle bs. Certain supplements and so on might give you a big advantage in your quest to build up your body. It would be worth looking into.

Good luck!
I'd definitely thought of that. The reason I started out with stairs was that I was pretty sure after such a long period of convalescence I wouldn't have the endurance for anything else right away.

I am hopeless at ever riding a bike- right now I've just been increasing the duration, intensity etc of abusing the staircase, but once summer hits a lot of elderly folks are likely to move into my apartment and I'll have to put a stop to that in the interest of being a good neighbour. We'll see how running pans out if I can find a gym that's got a track or something around here- how different, exactly, is running on a track from running on a treadmill?

Last time I ran outside was during winter. I had heavy boots on and gave myself the most godawful backache. We've yet to have conditions safe to run outside in sneakers in, so I'm going to see if that turns out well as soon as we do. If it doesn't I'll have to look into what I'm doing wrong there.

Nutrition for intense fitness on a student's budget (and a student's schedule!) is a whole other package of worries, but with determination, creativity and the SDMB on my side I've got high hopes. I do happen to know quite a bit about how much people of varying bodies and lifestyles need of various nutrients, but putting that into practice for meeting the lifting requirements is going to be new to me. Thanks a tonne for the advice there!

Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post
t practicing lifting something very similar to the object you are expected to hoist and move is a very big deal especially if you are a smaller person who is going to be physically challenged by the attempt.
This sounds like a very good idea. Where on earth would I find something similar to a dummy/person/etc though?

Last edited by Imago; 04-07-2012 at 08:35 PM.
  #37  
Old 04-07-2012, 09:47 PM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Taint of creation
Posts: 33,150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imago View Post
I'd definitely thought of that. The reason I started out with stairs was that I was pretty sure after such a long period of convalescence I wouldn't have the endurance for anything else right away.

I am hopeless at ever riding a bike- right now I've just been increasing the duration, intensity etc of abusing the staircase, but once summer hits a lot of elderly folks are likely to move into my apartment and I'll have to put a stop to that in the interest of being a good neighbour. We'll see how running pans out if I can find a gym that's got a track or something around here- how different, exactly, is running on a track from running on a treadmill?

Last time I ran outside was during winter. I had heavy boots on and gave myself the most godawful backache. We've yet to have conditions safe to run outside in sneakers in, so I'm going to see if that turns out well as soon as we do. If it doesn't I'll have to look into what I'm doing wrong there.

Nutrition for intense fitness on a student's budget (and a student's schedule!) is a whole other package of worries, but with determination, creativity and the SDMB on my side I've got high hopes. I do happen to know quite a bit about how much people of varying bodies and lifestyles need of various nutrients, but putting that into practice for meeting the lifting requirements is going to be new to me. Thanks a tonne for the advice there!



This sounds like a very good idea. Where on earth would I find something similar to a dummy/person/etc though?
What is the test using? If you've got a friend around 180 willing to be sack of potatoes a few times that would be best. Not to be sexist but it might be safer to use men as some women (not all) bruise more easily when being hoisted and manhandled, and are more likely to be injured if inadvertently dropped.
  #38  
Old 04-07-2012, 09:57 PM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Taint of creation
Posts: 33,150
Here's a rescue dummy you can fill with sand for $ 224.

As an aside I think you may need to do more research on your assumptions about the test requirements. In looking for 180 lb test dummy sale sites I had a lot of google hits re fireman and paramedic requirements re dragging a 180 lb (or less) dummy around, but nothing about hoisting one aloft for a fireman's carry.

Are you 100% sure this 180 lb lift and carry is a requirement of your paramedic test?

Last edited by astro; 04-07-2012 at 09:58 PM.
  #39  
Old 04-07-2012, 10:25 PM
Imago Imago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 527
To be honest the booklet is quite old, and the test could have changed between someone making it and me reading it. That said, I imagine requirements would be getting more stringent not less, though as of Wednesday I am waiting on a call back from several different people (some with the place doing the test, one from the school, some with various gyms) on what exactly the test requires here and now. The wording in the booklet seems pretty clear but the education system here for all professions is in such a state that nothing is ever as clear as it seems.

I also have a tendency to over-prepare for things, 'cause I can't stand the idea of being under-prepared for any kind of test I knew I was taking in advance, so there's a slight chance I dreamed the no dragging bit. As of right now though all things point to having to really lift the thing.

As for human volunteers- the only male friends I have who haven't moved away (mass exodus of young people to other areas) is health enthusiast well over 230 lbs, and one tiny buddhist well under 140. The only other male I keep in contact with is my father, who I'd say is maybe 210. And I'd be a little reluctant to manhandle him at 50, really- dude's been a heavy smoker since his preteens and it's his side I inherited the small bone structure from.

For ladies willing to risk it there is my best friend, who'se 5'7" and always a tad underweight. I've no idea how much she weighs but I'd estimate it's a tad less than me before I was ill and a tad more than me since then, so no good. Her father's quite a heavy man and her mother leaves the room if I enter it, so they're both out of the question. An ex-neighbour who is maybe 160, is that close enough?

I DO have a couple of ex-girlfriends around 180lbs I'd like to toss around I don't think it's appropriate to call them up though...
  #40  
Old 04-07-2012, 11:24 PM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Taint of creation
Posts: 33,150
This may be of interest. MedicWest Physical Agility Test

In further looking around the web at various EMS test requirements I can't see any EMS physical test requirements in the US that specify being able to lift and carry a 180 lb dummy or person on your back. I see lots of dragging but no lifting.
  #41  
Old 04-07-2012, 11:46 PM
Imago Imago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 527
I'm not in the US. Eastern Canada.
  #42  
Old 04-07-2012, 11:50 PM
Dr. Love Dr. Love is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 942
I wouldn't try to immediately pick up people-sized and -shaped objects, especially if you're not used to moving heavy things. To build strength you want something that is easily adjustable in weight and ergonomic--a barbell. A proper strength training routine will address nearly all the concerns given in this tread. Muscles get stronger with weight training, as do the connective tissues. Bones become denser in response to the weight. Furthermore, time spent training the basic barbell exercises (like squat, deadlift and overhead press) will teach you to work with the levers in your body, and teach you to lift the weight in the most efficient way possible.
  #43  
Old 04-08-2012, 09:59 AM
Try2B Comprehensive's Avatar
Try2B Comprehensive Try2B Comprehensive is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 6,002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imago View Post
We'll see how running pans out if I can find a gym that's got a track or something around here- how different, exactly, is running on a track from running on a treadmill?

Last time I ran outside was during winter. I had heavy boots on and gave myself the most godawful backache. We've yet to have conditions safe to run outside in sneakers in, so I'm going to see if that turns out well as soon as we do. If it doesn't I'll have to look into what I'm doing wrong there.
A treadmill really isn't much different from running on a track. X amount of time doing either is more or less the same workout. Treadmills can come in handy if you're going to a gym- you lift weights for awhile, then hop on the treadmill and get a cross-training workout in one session. Same with the stationary bike or the elliptical machines.

I'd avoid running in boots if you can help it. Seems like it would be hard to get proper footing and keep good posture that way. You want to be able to maintain a consistent 'athletic pose' when you're running to avoid stressing out your body, especially when you're starting out.

Quote:
Nutrition for intense fitness on a student's budget (and a student's schedule!) is a whole other package of worries, but with determination, creativity and the SDMB on my side I've got high hopes. I do happen to know quite a bit about how much people of varying bodies and lifestyles need of various nutrients, but putting that into practice for meeting the lifting requirements is going to be new to me. Thanks a tonne for the advice there!
The kind of thing I had in mind were the amino acid and protein supplements. If you are trying to put on a lot of muscle, your body needs the full spectrum of amino acids to get the best results. And then bombing your body with protein on top of that gives it the raw material to build muscle (I hope you aren't afraid of gaining a few pounds). It doesn't cost all that much, but if you are really poor I have been told that tuna + cauliflower contains all the amino acids. A little ranch dressing on top to make it taste good and there's a good post-workout snack.

Ultimately it isn't terribly complicated. Eat right (here are 10 foods for runners. They omit black beans, but whatever) and it is effort in --> results out.

Last edited by Try2B Comprehensive; 04-08-2012 at 10:00 AM.
  #44  
Old 04-08-2012, 12:13 PM
Imago Imago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 527
Awesome.

It just snowed again here today (ugh), which is why the last time I ran it was in boots. I'd suspected it was a bad idea but didn't want to be able to say I hadn't tried it. Definitely never doing that again.

Definitely not afraid of gaining a few pounds- I essentially don't care about numbers or appearances as long as I can get the job done.

Last edited by Imago; 04-08-2012 at 12:14 PM.
  #45  
Old 04-08-2012, 02:19 PM
DSeid's Avatar
DSeid DSeid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 21,006
You may want to contact the people at CrossFit for Firefighters as this sounds right up their alley.

Personally I'd start out with sandbag carry intervals, including up and down stairs, moving towards adding a weighted backpack and/or weight vest. Start lighter going for speed (and building strength and form first to avoid injury) and build up.

Nothing magic about the amino acid supplements other than the ability to make your wallet disappear, but some good quality protein, at least 15 to 25 grams, within an hour of work out. Chocolate milk, yogurt, a soy or whey supplement smoothie, chicken ... all good.
  #46  
Old 04-08-2012, 02:52 PM
DSeid's Avatar
DSeid DSeid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 21,006
FWIW here's Manitoba's paramedic fitness requirements:
Quote:
Equipment Carry: Carry a trauma bag, O2 tank, and defibrillator up and down one flight of stairs without stopping.

CPR Compressions: Perform CPR compressions on a mannequin for 3 consecutive minutes.

Patient Carry Simulation: Ascend and descend 4 stairs both forwards and backwards carrying 110 lb. (50 kg.) barbell.

Patient Transfer Simulation: Transfer an 80 lb. torso bag in a cradle position from table height down to a height approximately 1 foot from the ground, then up to another table and across to another table. Distance between each transfer is approximately 15 feet.
A 180 lb carry up and down a flight of stairs seems a bit out of the norm, even though I know you in Eastern Canada are much tougher than those in Manitoba!

Last edited by DSeid; 04-08-2012 at 02:52 PM.
  #47  
Old 04-08-2012, 06:35 PM
Imago Imago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 527
Hahaha... No, the stairs are only for the wheelchair section, which is done with a partner.
  #48  
Old 04-12-2012, 11:25 PM
Spud's Avatar
Spud Spud is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Central Indiana
Posts: 3,580
I know it has been a few days since this thread has been active, but I finally remembered to ask my 5'0" 17 YO daughter. She is very athletic and takes advanced physical training classes, and has hit all of the top goals in various lifts, presses, etc.. She will be graduating early to play on an athletic scholarship at a D1 University.

Her first response was... It would be tough. She said maybe if she could get it on her back she my be able to carry it, but a grab from the front would be really tough. Anyway, I was ready to give some somewhat discouraging news.

But then I told her why I was asking. Immediately she perked up and said "tell her to look into rescue helicopter duty." She also volunteers at a hospital complex and has spent some time with this group. She said everyone there was her size, and they are actually recruited because smaller people fit much better into the cramped area of a helicopter (they picked her out of the group to encourage her to look into it). They even get paid more than the regular EMT's and she thinks the qualifications are different (not as much physical as ability).

So, even though I know this thread is winding down... my answer to your question is...

The bad news... it would be very difficult to meet the lifting/carrying requirement for someone of your size, but not impossible.

The good news... there may be other options where you can use your size to your advantage.

Last edited by Spud; 04-12-2012 at 11:30 PM.
  #49  
Old 04-13-2012, 12:08 AM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Taint of creation
Posts: 33,150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spud View Post

The bad news... it would be very difficult to meet the lifting/carrying requirement for someone of your size, but not impossible.

The good news... there may be other options where you can use your size to your advantage.
Based on the various physical requirement tests for EMTs and even fire personnel posted on the web I'm pretty doubtful the OP actually has to lift and carry a 180 lb dummy on her back for the current tests. Drag maybe, but lift and carry, no. I think she was going to post again once she clarified the current requirements.

Last edited by astro; 04-13-2012 at 12:10 AM.
  #50  
Old 04-13-2012, 02:49 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 4,900
A late comment. The effort, skill and strength needed in a fireman's lift are all in the lift, and not in the carry. Once on your shoulders, walking with the weight requires much less effort. The actual lift is very similar to the judo throw of kata garuma. Indeed when we teach the throw we usually ensure that the judoka can manage the lift properly - even if the throw itself is more about directing movement than the lift. The lift is a whole body strength issue. Aspects that are not usually appreciated are the importance of the arms is drawing and controlling the liftee so that they don't just flop, but that you are able to insert yourself under them in a safe and strong position. After that it is mostly the strength and skill obtained from simple squats that get you upright with them carried. All the time the arms control the liftee. Getting the lift right is a 50/50 mix of strength and skill. Brute strength can overcome some lack of skill, but learning the skills are critical to avoid injury and will enable much larger weights to be managed with the same base strength. Lower back and abdominal strength are crucial to being able to control your posture. Letting our posture fail is the start of most injuries. In judo training warmup sessions we get to run up and down the mat carrying a partner like this. With a partner of equal weight it isn't too hard. 50% heavier and it gets pretty grim.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:09 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017