T Nation

SWAT Fitness Test

Coach,

I am trying to revamp/completely replace my department’s SWAT team physical fitness test (standard run/PUs/SUs). Current team members do the test every quarter and prospects also have to pass it. However, myself and a few others just do not feel the standard PT test is a good measure of what we do.

Any suggestions on a completely new test or additions/subtractions on the current test?

Thanks for your time coach.

[quote]spenserd wrote:
Coach,

I am trying to revamp/completely replace my department’s SWAT team physical fitness test (standard run/PUs/SUs). Current team members do the test every quarter and prospects also have to pass it. However, myself and a few others just do not feel the standard PT test is a good measure of what we do.

Any suggestions on a completely new test or additions/subtractions on the current test?

Thanks for your time coach. [/quote]

What you current tests? They can vary depending on the place and I’m only familiar with the Quebec tests.

Current test is:
1.5 mile run in under 14 minutes
40 pushups in 1 minute
40 sit ups in 1 minute

Obviously there are shooting quals and such.

here are some unsolicited ideas :slight_smile:
-weighted chins
-middle distance run, something between 400-800m
-dummy carry

Pavel Tsatsouline has written about this before. I remember seeing pull-ups in full gear for reps, pistols in full gear for reps, and sprints in full gear

These are some very easy tests for such a demanding job!!!

I would see:

  • Pull-ups in full tactical gear (pronation grip, not supination… the former has a lot more transfer to real life)

  • Dips in full tactical gear

  • Backward overhead toss for height (imagine the keg toss event in strongmen competitions) with 20-30lbs (this test has been shown to have the highest correlation to athletic events requiring power and explosiveness)

  • The cardio test is fine

As for the shooting tests I would actually have people do the shooting tests while doing some form of “metabolic work” prior to shooting. For example do 50KB swings or 30 burpees THEN immediately shooting. The reason is that the higher your heart rate is, the harder it is to be precise with your shooting. In a stressful situation your heart rate will be racing an it will be harder to be precise. By doing the metabolic work just before shooting you artificially create a situation similar (physically) to during an intervention.

[quote]Pabro wrote:
Pavel Tsatsouline has written about this before. I remember seeing pull-ups in full gear for reps, pistols in full gear for reps, and sprints in full gear[/quote]

Thats it! It assures that operators are well-able to move fast and climb if necessary.

I think many SWAT tests are probably a little to easy. I believe my departments “test” to be on the SWAT team is a 1.5 mile run (not sure on what the time limit is), a seated reach, push ups, and sit ups. I think the things CT mentioned would be great to have in a SWAT test.

Just to add, I think along with the shooting qualification we also do a little scenario and then part of that is dragging a fairly heavy dummy for a distance while having to shoot before dragging and after.

[quote]cubuff2028 wrote:
here are some unsolicited ideas :slight_smile:
-weighted chins
-middle distance run, something between 400-800m
-dummy carry [/quote]

I am definitely looking to implement the dummy drag into the test somehow. Thanks for the reply.

[quote]Pabro wrote:
Pavel Tsatsouline has written about this before. I remember seeing pull-ups in full gear for reps, pistols in full gear for reps, and sprints in full gear[/quote]

I remember reading that interview. I will look it up. Thanks for the reply.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
These are some very easy tests for such a demanding job!!!

I would see:

  • Pull-ups in full tactical gear (pronation grip, not supination… the former has a lot more transfer to real life)

  • Dips in full tactical gear

  • Backward overhead toss for height (imagine the keg toss event in strongmen competitions) with 20-30lbs (this test has been shown to have the highest correlation to athletic events requiring power and explosiveness)

  • The cardio test is fine

As for the shooting tests I would actually have people do the shooting tests while doing some form of “metabolic work” prior to shooting. For example do 50KB swings or 30 burpees THEN immediately shooting. The reason is that the higher your heart rate is, the harder it is to be precise with your shooting. In a stressful situation your heart rate will be racing an it will be harder to be precise. By doing the metabolic work just before shooting you artificially create a situation similar (physically) to during an intervention.
[/quote]

Awesome, thanks coach. Did not think about the toss at all. Great idea. Some good ideas on stress shoot events as well; I am trying to standardize these. Right now, these tests are made up “on the fly”.

Quick question: In a perfect world, would you change the cardio test at all? I think the department is open to the idea of nixing the 1.5 mile for something else.

[quote]jtbrown0511 wrote:
Just to add, I think along with the shooting qualification we also do a little scenario and then part of that is dragging a fairly heavy dummy for a distance while having to shoot before dragging and after.[/quote]

Scenario idea is great. I am also writing a proposal to change the tryout; as it stands now, it is made up on the fly. A long scenario would be a really good measure for the prospective operators (shooters who can think, and thinkers who can shoot). Thanks for the reply.

[quote]spenserd wrote:
Quick question: In a perfect world, would you change the cardio test at all? I think the department is open to the idea of nixing the 1.5 mile for something else.

[/quote]

I personally believe that short bursts and the capacity to recover quickly are more important than long duration running.

A test I would see as more adapted would be to do a series of ten 100 yards sprints with 45 seconds of rest between sets (they have to respect that). The result is the total duration of doing the 10 sets. For example if they do:

Sprint 1: 13 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 2: 13.3 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 3: 14.1 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 4: 13.9 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 5: 14.6 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 6: 14.5 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 7: 15.1 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 8: 17.4 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 9: 18.1 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 10: 17.4 seconds
END OF TEST

The total time of the test is: 151.4 seconds (you don’t count the 45 sec breaks) and the average is 15.14 seconds/100m.

This test tells you several things:

  1. How fast the person is (normally first or second sprint)
  2. How fast he can recover (what is the average drop-off between sprints)
  3. What is his anaerobic capacity (where his times begin to be a lot slower, sprint 8 in my example)
  4. Mental toughness (tougher people tend to slow down in sets 6-8 but then have a sudden increase in performance in the 10th or eve the 9th sprint)

[quote]I personally believe that short bursts and the capacity to recover quickly are more important than long duration running.

A test I would see as more adapted would be to do a series of ten 100 yards sprints with 45 seconds of rest between sets (they have to respect that). The result is the total duration of doing the 10 sets. For example if they do:

Sprint 1: 13 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 2: 13.3 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 3: 14.1 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 4: 13.9 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 5: 14.6 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 6: 14.5 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 7: 15.1 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 8: 17.4 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 9: 18.1 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 10: 17.4 seconds
END OF TEST

The total time of the test is: 151.4 seconds (you don’t count the 45 sec breaks) and the average is 15.14 seconds/100m.

This test tells you several things:

  1. How fast the person is (normally first or second sprint)
  2. How fast he can recover (what is the average drop-off between sprints)
  3. What is his anaerobic capacity (where his times begin to be a lot slower, sprint 8 in my example)
  4. Mental toughness (tougher people tend to slow down in sets 6-8 but then have a sudden increase in performance in the 10th or eve the 9th sprint)[/quote]

Wow, this is amazing, thanks for the comprehensive response Coach. I know I speak for most on this board when I say you go above and beyond to help others. Thanks again.

Used to be quite popular in scandinavia with rifles during war-times.

You could do something similar with handguns/smg or the guns you use there in SWAT tests.
Have your applicants run around with a dummy-gun, and switch to a real gun at the a gun station, load it with a clip with say 5 bullets shoot them, show that clip is empty, switch gun again (to dummy), continue running with the dummy gun to another section, say rifles.
Make them shoot 10 bullets, but theres 1 empty/faulty ammo in between, so the gun will jam so they will have to reload it and continue shooting. etc

The dummy gun could have some blanks though, so you’d know if someone has bad weapon handling. (pulling trigger while running)

you could can also color code the clips/guns with tape etc

[quote]spenserd wrote:

[quote]I personally believe that short bursts and the capacity to recover quickly are more important than long duration running.

A test I would see as more adapted would be to do a series of ten 100 yards sprints with 45 seconds of rest between sets (they have to respect that). The result is the total duration of doing the 10 sets. For example if they do:

Sprint 1: 13 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 2: 13.3 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 3: 14.1 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 4: 13.9 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 5: 14.6 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 6: 14.5 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 7: 15.1 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 8: 17.4 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 9: 18.1 seconds
rest 45 sec
Sprint 10: 17.4 seconds
END OF TEST

The total time of the test is: 151.4 seconds (you don’t count the 45 sec breaks) and the average is 15.14 seconds/100m.

This test tells you several things:

  1. How fast the person is (normally first or second sprint)
  2. How fast he can recover (what is the average drop-off between sprints)
  3. What is his anaerobic capacity (where his times begin to be a lot slower, sprint 8 in my example)
  4. Mental toughness (tougher people tend to slow down in sets 6-8 but then have a sudden increase in performance in the 10th or eve the 9th sprint)[/quote]

Wow, this is amazing, thanks for the comprehensive response Coach. I know I speak for most on this board when I say you go above and beyond to help others. Thanks again.
[/quote]

My pleasure, I like real life applications that are out of the ordinary. Furthermore, my wife having passed several types of physical tests for her (still in development) police career it’s a subject for which I have a lot of interest.

CT can you give us some ideas on how someone would train in order to perform well on this anaerobic test you have provided here?

Google Secret Service Snatch Test (SSST) …

10 minutes, as many #53 lb kettlebell snatches as you can do, switching hands as often as necessary , rest as needed …

It’s a total suck fest …

Maybe set a minimum number, like 100 … 200 or more is considered fairly exceptional …

I imagine you could also do this with KB swings, which would be easier than the more technical snatch, but still be a good aerobic/anaerobic gut check

[quote]rommelh wrote:
CT can you give us some ideas on how someone would train in order to perform well on this anaerobic test you have provided here? [/quote]

Sprints with short rest intervals maybe :wink:

They key is to make it tougher on you than the test. Prowler sprints with short rest periods (15 sec sprints, 30-45 sec rest), hill sprints for example.

For those who live in a winter climate and don’t have a track to push a prowler the KB swing would work (as many reps as possible in 20 seconds, 30 sec. of rest x 10)