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Police Fitness Test - Weak Bench


I have an upcoming fitness test with the police force and I haven't been very active since highschool so I was hoping some of you experienced guys could help me.

I know that this forum is usually borderline hostile to beginners and I have in fact read several of the stickies in the beginners forum but I am not sure if they are quite what I am looking for.

I am 25, 6'3 and have a BW of 225. I haven't had much exercise since 2002 when I played football and rugby, except I have started BJJ awhile back and am a blue belt now so my endurance for grappling is much better than it was. I work at a investment firm, the most work I do is lifting my briefcase. My shoulders have always been big and disproportionately strong but my chest is pathetic.

For my police exam I they want me to be able to do:

70 pushups
18 pullups
and have a 1 rep max bench of 150% of my body weight! ( I can pass with 100% though)

I am fairly thin with a bit of a soft stomach but I can do the running requirements, however I can currently do about 25 pushups with strict form without stopping, I can't do a single pull up, and I can bench 135 in sets of 6.

I just went to the gym for the first time yesterday and I am weaker than when I weighed 175 in Gr. 12. I couldn't do any pullups so I just hung on the bar grunting about 50% of the way up. I concentrated intensely but could not get all the way up.

I need to be strong not big, I am just doing more pushups and believe I can make that goal but how do you start with pullups?

Also I have always had a terrible bench and hope to drop to about 205 pounds but how can I really maximize my strength? I have just under a year to do this.

I know this is more of a hypertrophy forum but I need some strength advice,



for pullups i would suggest starting off by doing negatives. get a chair/bench/whatever and place it under the bar. stand on it, use it to get yourself over the bar,remove your feet from the object, and then slowly lower yourself down.

do that a lot. like until you think you're going to fall off.

eventually you'll be able to do full pullups. i'd then do sets where you do full pullups until you gas out, and then do the negatives i mentioned earlier.

when you can do 10 solid pullups without having to stop, you can start adding weight. add enough weight where you can do 5 solid reps. do like 3 sets of 5 with that.

soon enough you should be gangster on pullups.

what branch of law enforcement are you applying for?


with a year, you should have no problem. It's just a matter of doing it consistently. Don't actively try to lose weight either, give your body the fuel it needs.


Thanks for the info so far guys, any more specifically pertaining to my bench would be great, is there a specific strategy to gain strength?

HolyMacaroni I live in BC, Canada and am applying to the RCMP. Just passed the entrance exam, only big hurdle is a very thorough moral polygraph test, but I have a pretty clean past.


Get your tris and back strong as fuck while hitting your bench training. Focus on retracting the shoulder blades together (pretend like you're trying to pinch a pen inbetween your shoulder blades). Tuck elbows a bit on the way down. Explode up.

I would recommend west side for skinny bastards. a lot of guys who do mma, military training, police work do some sort of upper/lower body split.


If possible find a dual pulley lat machine do work on feeling your lats on it and when you do pull ups they should feel easier to do, dumbbell rows to get your lats stronger and they help you in benching as well, do lytp or ytwl and face pulls for upper back which will help you on the top part of the pull ups and make you more stable in benching which will allow you to push more weight. There was a dave tate article on benching i would read that as well.


try and run a basic westside template. the whole idea behind it is to just get your lifts up. keep your volume down if you do more running


Armstrong pullup program.

google it.

do it.



Some good advice given,

Negatives have done wonders for my chin-up numbers.
If you don't have a structured program already, the adivce to try ws4sb is a good adivce.

Or if you want to specfically focus on pull-ups/push-ups for a little while,
you could try doing GTG (grease the groove), basically doing many, many sets of both spread out during the day, never going to failure. Alot of people have had sucess with this.

I'd also re-state what people have said about working on back-strength to increase bench numbers, it is very important.
Also working on bp form, it can make a huge difference.
Getting your weighted push-up numbers up will also help your bench.

hope this helps.


damn that's a tough police exam! A friend of mine passed his police exam a few weeks back and he is very much out of shape. He has a high BF% and doesn't really lift at all. I mean he is quite strong just from being a big guy but that's it. And he does some boxing so he has a little stamina.

The Canadian police force must kick the Dutch's police force's ass, I reckon.


Holy shit, what Police department is this?

Most PDs have pathetic physical standards outside of their special/tactical units.

Good luck, that's pretty cool though.


I thought it was pretty standard for most police officers to be pathetically out of shape.


A year? Fucking hell. I was just thinking "I wonder how long he has. I bet it's a month." (Just goes to show the caliber of people who typically post for help here.)

I suggest you follow a basic strength training routine while eating properly.

Don't go overboard with the eating, since your goals are a function of your bodyweight. Maintain weight while getting in large amounts of protein: 1.5g per lb of bodyweight. Use a carb cutoff; time your carbs properly (around workouts and in the morning). The only recommended supplements would be creatine (seriously, it's cheap, use a lot) and some protein powder (whey isolate). Eat consistently day in and day out.

As far as training, just pick something proven and simple. Madcow's 5x5 linear, IA's "Simple Power Based Routine", Westside for Skinny Bastards ( http://www.elitefts.com/ws4sb/WS4SB.pdf ), Starting Strength ( http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/Starting_Strength_Wiki ), or Stronglifts 5x5

It's all about consistency. You should easily meet your goals within a year.


Thank you everyone for some great advice.

I have printed out the WS4SB article though I read most all of them. I read up on the Armstrong pullup program as well.

I bought a cheap pullup bar that leverages onto my doorway so I can do negative pullups 5-6 days a week. I can only get to the gym maybe 3-4 times a week.

I have started recording EVERYTHING I eat with a digital kitchen scale and the fitday program and I realize what my big problem is starting out. I was eating no breakfast, little lunch, and a big dinner late I have only been getting about 1500 - 1600 cals a day and most were coming from simple processed carbs, white pasta, white bread. Yet my BMR is somewhere around 2100 cals.

So I have been trying very hard to each much better and more and more often. For Example for breakfast I had :

8 eggwhite omelete w/ peppers, onions, 1oz low fat cheese (only about 4g fat an oz)

2 scoop choc protein powder with 2 tblsp all natural peanut butter
12 fl oz 1% milk

1/2 spaghetti squash
2 cups tomato sauce (I realize this is full of sugar and garbage)
1 can mushrooms (again this should not be from a can)
1lb extra lean ground turkey breast

Keep in mind this is a huge change for me as normally I would heat a frozen burrito and have a coke. I feel this is a good start and some of this stuff was just using stuff I had and won't buy again (such as the tomato sauce). Today I went to the grocery store and bought brussel sprouts, spinach, grean peas, blueberries, chicken, salmon, and some peaches for a treat. Nothing I bought was in a box or bag at all.

One more question, I did as many negative pullups yesterday as I could without slipping off the bar and today my lats and especially the inside of my elbows where a needle would go to draw blood is so sore I can hardly lift my arms to shoulder level and I can't fully straighten my arm. Is this normal?

PS: In regards to the physical requirements I was surprised as well as I know several officers and only one could probably do that right now, the other 2 are older heavyset guys.


does that mean you already did your PARE exam? and you are prepping for your exit? are you going into a particular branch of RCMP?


Dude, those RCMP numbers are for superior marks coming out of Depot, and don't get me wrong they are are great to aim for... that being said, passing grades are 8 strict pull ups, 100% Bench Press Body Weight, 30 Pushups. Going into Depot make sure your core strength is high because they love to push planks to the extreme and be strict with your pull ups as last I checked you do them on a wall so it is impossible to cheat with your legs.

As for training, the single most important aspect is your PARE time, I have seen lots of athletic looking people blow there PARE. The training you receive in Depot will get your lifts to where they want them and remember, those numbers are to graduate from depot, not to get in. The only physical requirement to get in is the PARE time.
And good luck with the polygraph, it is very scary and awkward but they do there best to not be intimidating


that was sort of gonna be my next point


Good to know guys, I really want to be able to hit the superior standard by the time I am done which will be right about a year if my poly is successful. I am not worried to much about the PARE to be honest, I can do the push and pull with drop to the front or back and starting this routine will only help. The 100lb bag carry I could also do right now. I know that the first part, the obstacle course part is a challenge for some people but I have been doing some running again and I was always a good runner with pretty good cardio so I am pretty confident about that. I can roll for about an hour in BJJ without a break, so my cardio in that regard is good as well.

There is a p90x styled gym where I live and there have a training program specifically to simulate the PARE, the manager is a client of mine and he offered next week to run me through it for a couple weeks.

I know I can get in, I just want to be more than prepared to graduate, and I feel if I start now I can realistically hit those numbers.

Did srjensen and Montenegro are you guys members? What was your experience like?


Depot is fun.... If you do BJJ then you will love rounds and likely dominate them. Don't take the PARE lightly though, it is way more challenging than it looks but IMO it is more about not giving up than it is about fitness. Its very military but it is what is........


JDYE I'm like you I'm in the middle of the process n all...I actually have been for a few years, had to put it on hold for a little while.....good luck, and who knows, maybe I'll see you in Regina