Preparing for Police Academy

I will, fingers crossed, be hired and put through an academy starting in approximately six months. From what I understand, the academies are “Crossfit based” (assuming this means lots of HIIT work, not necessarily the WODs) plus lots of running. I can meet all the minimum requirements…60 seconds each for 15 pushups and 20 situps. 1:45 seconds to run 500 yards. 6 foot wall climb. Etc. But these are nothing, I need to improve my conditioning a lot.

My training has focused primarily on strength and power, never doing more than 5 reps. My only conditioning work has come from jiu jitsu Tuesday and Thursday nights some 50-yard sprints a couple times a week and a long hike every weekend. But raw strength isn’t what I’ll need to excel in the academy.

Can anyone recommend a good program that focuses on my conditioning? Plan to checkout SEAL fit since it’s all I can think of. Any other programs, though?

I was also wondering what would be the best way to minimize my strength losses in my back squat, deadlift, overhead press, and maybe weighted dip. I know I will lose some strength in exchange for drastically increasing my conditioning and running, but I’m okay with that since it’s not for the rest of my life. I only wonder how to best minimize the losses. Few very heavy reps a week of each? Something else?

Having worked in police training for several years, I dont see a major problem in your background, it seems you know how to “work” and that is the most important asset. SEALFIT is good, if you have the time and equipment (pool for laps/lake). I would suggest any book/article on “MMA Conditioning” (plenty of advice on the Combat Forum and articles here), Martin Rooney, etc. would prepare you for the academy. Most cadets fail because ,( believe it or not,) they simply havent faced any physical/ mental stress before.

You are 6 months away, that is a long time, IMHO, two months out go to Wendler’s 5-3-1 twice a week, work a day on “crossfit” type drills and spent the rest on biking, hiking, and sprints. One of the main causes of failure in the academies are shin splints, so I would not spend all my time running/jogging.Based on how “military” the academy is, will depend on the amount of distance running.

Some academies run 3 of miles every morning, some run 5 miles three times a week, some dont do shit but some crap in the afternoons after class (jumping around in some type of Zumba related stuff).A lot of academies use the “PT” training to weed out cadets, outdated , but thats the way it is. The larger the city/county, the better the training. Me personally: I would go to the 5-3-1 twice a week, increase my JJ and try to find a boxing/ Muay Thai gym, that way, I am training for the street, and getting in shape at the same time. I currently train SF/SWAT now and this is the routine I try to stick to.

Remember, you goal is to pass, you can work on your bench press after getting sworn in. I hang out on the Combat Forum, if I can help in any way, post on a question on the “Bad Ideas Thread” . Good Luck.

I teach at a large Ohio academy and you have to pass the graduation PT test, Copper’s 50th percentile, just to get in the academy. Unless you have to do correction the workouts are pretty easy.

First off, I suggest you listen to idaho and JRT. They have been there done that whereas I am in a similar spot as you are. That said, here’s my $.02:

If you want to check out Sealfit, I’d encourage you to invest in Coach Divine’s “8 Weeks to Sealfit” book. It provides what seems to me to be a fairly intelligently laid out “on ramp” program to introduce you to Sealfit. It also calls for a lot of journaling, meditation, contemplation, visualization etc, which I dig but is not everyone’s thing. As idaho alludes to, you need access to a certain amount of equipment and need to be prepared to invest a fair amount of time.

Rob Shaul from Mountain Athlete/Military athlete has another website called LE Athlete. Training is somewhat Crossfit-like except workouts follow more structured progressions and periodization with emphasis on sprinting, agility, strength, durability and upper body mass. LE Athlete also offers a 6 week Cooper’s test prep plan. This requires minimal equipment and helps prepare you for one of the more common LE fitness tests (2400m run, 300m run, max push ups, pull ups, sit ups and bench). This may or may not be a good test for LE specific fitness, but it is a popular one, it’s simple to do yourself and provides some decent benchmarks.

Hope something there may be of use. All the best in the recruiting process.


From my experience attending a ‘high stress’ academy in SoCal and helping prep recruits for another, you will need to be able to do high reps (i.e. 400-600 push-ups/day) of body weight exercises (push-ups, squat thrusts, mountain climbers, sit-ups and pull-ups) and run distance (3-6 miles at a <9min/mile) 3x/week. The ?CrossFit? types of workouts are during the PT sessions. The body weight stuff happens at every at march-on, breaks, lunch and any time someone screws up.

Honestly, the minimum PT tests/qualifications were not a big deal for an active recruit compared to surviving a day on the ‘beach’. My class saw the weight room about 3 times in 26 weeks and there were no “tests” on any lifts. So for the majority of your prep workouts, reduce the weight room unless you need to rehab/prehab something. Do your BW REPS!!! Get back to the iron after the academy. Focus your prep to succeed at the academy.

Focus your basic prep workouts on body weight exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, squat thrusts/burpees, mountain climbers, pull-ups and running) with the idea of multiple sets of 25 reps (except for pull-ups). Oh…and they are back-to-back sets meaning 25 push-ups, 25 squat thrusts, 25 mountain climbers, 25 sit-ups…repeat with ~10 second breaks between sets.

Two simple ways to get in reps: 1) during the working day, every hour take a break and bang out a set of push-ups. You can dive under your desk or an unused conference room. Pre-academy, I worked in a professional business environment and did this in a shirt and tie. If anyone asked, I told them it was my version of a cigarette break.

  1. at night when you are watching TV, every commercial break do a set of push-ups and one of the other exercises. It?s pretty easy to get in a few hundred reps each evening. Or if you are watching baseball, do the same at the top of every inning.

A good prep program is the SEAL Prep on Feel free to skip the swimming portion.

As for a good starting program beginner?s running plan, check out the “couch to 5K” program on the Cool Running website. If you are already beyond this level, pick one of the other programs. Save yourself some pain, head for a runners shoe store (not Dick’s or Big 5) and have them find the right shoe for you. It will cost a bit more but it’s worth it.

Another suggestion head for a boxing or muay thai gym. The conditioning aspect is outstanding and you can develop some cross over skills along the way (i.e. hitting things). Don’t be too concerned if the most accessible place to you isn’t a MMA hotbed as long as it isn’t KardioKickboxing or whatever your gym is calling the aerobics class. You should be hitting the bag or pads. An UFC gym would do you fine.

You could certainly sign-up for CrossFit a few days a week if you want to get use to that type of program.

Remember: we don?t typically loose people because they can?t pass the PT TEST. If recruits leave because of PT, it?s from the constant pounding throughout the day.

I run a gym in Maryland and program for things just like this (I am also in the field and a trainer for my agency). If you want to check out my daily workouts, I post them. You can also check out my log because I train for similar goals Alpha's Work IV - Training Logs - Forums - T Nation

EDIT: I added a link to my website in the post above but it got taken out by the mods…If you want to check out my programming, go to my log (link above) and click on one of my youtube videos. My website appears at the beginning and end of each vid. Sorry about that.

When I went to the academy, granted it was long time ago, I used to hit the weights after class. The so called beatings we got were a joke and it only messed with the mentally weak and poorly prepared cadets. None of the instructors could even do the workouts they made us do. But nothing pisses off client agencies more than having their cadets that they invested a lot of time and money in quit because of the PT that they will never have to do again the moment the graduate.

I’ve made cadets puke that was only during remedial instruction but even then it’s very uncommon. I do all the workouts with the class but I don’t do punishment. It pays to follow simple instructions.

There a lot of good suggestions in this thread though. I recommend the C25K to everyone too. I teach at a full and a part time academy and in the part time everyone is self commissioned and therefore have day jobs. Time and time again I see failures from overworked people who think they can cram the running during the last few weeks by sprinting every day. Stew Smith has a standard for PT tests like the Cooper’s, the SEAL challenge test, etc and that is to be fit enough to be able to take the test twice back to back and still be able to make the min passing standard. That way regardless of fatigue, having a cold, a minor injury, whatever you can still pass and running 1.5miles in 12min is definitely doable on a moderate intensity run program.

SEALFIT is a great program if you handle the logistics and CF is fine too. I tell guys, particulary ones who have been on the job for awhile, that any program or sport that they enjoy and stick with is better than any other program they don’t do over the long haul. And don’t be afraid to change passions either. In 25 years I’ve done MMA (in regards to fitness), competitive shooting (not PT but a survival skill), tournament paintball, distance running, BJJ (still do it but I rarely get gassed anymore), powerlifting and now I’m looking at playing team Frisbee this summer. Who would have thought that was a competitive sport requiring stamina and agility?

Thanks for the replies. Money is really tight right now, and I don’t think that I can justify paying for SEALFIT, especially since I don’t have access to much in the way of equipment…no pool, no tires, gyms KBs only go up to 25#, etc…I’m surprised they even have squat racks…but it is only $9.99/month, which is cheap around here. Same goes for military athlete, which I just looked up, financially it is not as bad, but looked at sample workouts, and I’m going to have to substitute/change a lot.

So thought I would give CrossFit football a try this last week (with some changes). Dropped the conditioning component on Tuesday and Thursday since I was at Jiu Jitsu about 2 hours after the strength workout, hiked Wednesday instead of resting, and dropped Saturday’s conditioning for an endurance run. Feel like four days of lifting, two days of HIIT, two days of Jiu Jitsu, and one day of hiking really kicked my ass and maybe wasn’t the best idea, but I’ll run it for a couple weeks and see how it goes. If it doesn’t, might switch to a 5/3/1+HIIT based program 2 or 3 days a week so I can keep the jiu jitsu and hiking.

Question about C25k. Would it be a bad idea to run that, say first thing in the morning, and then still do conditioning the same day after weights (or hiking in the afternoon)? This would be separated by about nine hours.

For what it matters, life is pretty low stress. Work three jobs, during the week I either substitute teach or bale hay (when I do not get called to sub), but that only involves sitting in a tractor and lots of walking. I also deliver pizza on the weekends.

There is no reason to pay for any of those programs because there is so much as or better information on the internet.

If you want to just do 5/3/1 with a lot of pushups, situps and flutter kicks all week you are good to go.

As far as your conditioning concerns the only way you know if you can do it so slowly work it in and see if you’re recovering. My cardio doesn’t really affect my lifting but I’m well past my PR days. I don’t tell cadets this because I don’t want them going off the rails but I don’t even distance run. I do intervals, alternating short and long interval days, with a recovery jog between intervals as my only running. The recovery jog b serves as an intensity gauge because if I have to walk it’s time to stop the workout. The majority of my aerobic work is on the arc trainer.