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January 01, 2011

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PoliceOne Special Contributors Become a Cop
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Police fitness test: How to prepare

When a person applies to become a law enforcement officer, part of the application process involves taking a police fitness test. The testing process is a method of determining if you’re physically fit enough to have the endurance and strength to perform your duties as a law enforcement officer.

You don’t have to be Superman to become a law enforcement officer, but you must be able to run distances and jump over objects in pursuit of crime suspects and have the strength and coordination to handle weapons effectively and use physical force to overpower suspects, if necessary.

Here are some of the exercises a person must perform during a police fitness test:

Sit-ups: The ability to do sit-ups is a measure of your abdominal muscles and is an important component of core strength and mobility. Core strength also prevents back injury and promotes good posture, which is important in police work. Most police fitness tests are based on your ability to do a specified number of sit ups in one minute. The more sit-ups you can do in that period of time, the better your score.

Push-ups or bench press: Push-ups and bench-press exercises in a police fitness test measure the strength of your arms and upper torso. In the bench press, your score is the amount of weight you can press divided by your body weight. Good upper body strength is essential in situations that require the use of force when dealing with suspects.

Running: Most police fitness tests require that you be able to run 1.5 miles. Running tests your endurance, strength, breathing function and heart health. Your ability to run long distances in pursuit of a criminal suspect is essential to carrying out law enforcement tasks. Your score will take into account the time it takes you to complete the course.

Sit and reach: This police fitness test measures your flexibility and range of motion, as well as your quad (upper leg) and lower back strength. A strong lower back is essential to preventing disabling injury on the job. Leg strength is essential to running, jumping, standing and walking. Range of motion is required for a variety of police tasks, including operating firearms effectively. Your score on this test is comprised of the distance you can reach in the required sitting position.

If you’re getting ready to take a police fitness test, you should prepare through training exercises to ensure you get a good score. What follows are some great training exercises to help get ready:

Any exercises that stretch the abdominal muscles are good ones to prepare for the sit and stretch portion of the police fitness test. Sit on the floor with your legs straight and reach to touch your toes without bending your legs. Hold for 10 seconds. Release and repeat five times. Do the same exercise holding the ends of a rolled-up towel in your hands and stretched around the bottoms of your feet.

Preparing for the sit-ups and push-ups part of a police fitness test is simple: just do repetitions of them three times a week until you can easily perform them. With the bench press, you want to start off comfortably to avoid injury and gradually increase the weight in two pound increments. It’s best to practice three times a week.

Taking a police fitness test can be challenging, but if you prepare yourself beforehand by getting into shape, you should be able to pass them.

About the author

"Become a Cop" articles are intended to educate individuals interested in law enforcement careers about what it takes to join the force. These articles are written by PoliceOne staff members and PoliceOne contributors, and cover a wide range of topics from the basics on the different types of law enforcement careers to how to prepare for the police recruitment interview. If there's a topic you'd like to see covered, or are interested in writing for Become a Cop, email editor@policeone.com.




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