T Nation

Training to be a Police Officer

After I graduate college in about 2 years, I’m planning on becoming a police officer. I’ve started to manipulate my training regimen so that it would be more in tune with what I will be doing for a career. I used to train solely for hypertrophy and aesthetic reasons but now I’m focusing on strength and conditioning. For example, I have just started to do GPP and jump roping. I have also started a flexibilty routine. I recently started training grip strength using crushing power, pinching, and finger extensor exercises. Once I have shed some fat and bodyweight I plan on focusing on strength. I could use some advice and or ideas about what I would need to do and how to train in order to be in top condition in 2 years when I apply. Of course, I realize not every cop is in good shape, but I plan to excel in law enforcement and eventually apply for a more physically demanding position, such as SWAT. Thanks for any help that is provided.

Scott, check out Coach Davies site or contact him, and check out dragondoor

Check on the departments actual physical requirements for testing, then gear your training towards those. There’s much more to being a cop than being physically imposing, such as observation skills, driving ability, shooting accuracy and target selection under stress, etc… You might do a ride-along with some one on the force to get a feel for the job.

While being physically prepared for police work is important, it is often the most over-emphasized area for hopeful recruits. You simply must have excellent oral and written communications skills, as well as the ability to think analytically to even be considered for a job in law enforcement. Being able to run a six minute mile and do 50 pull-ups is wonderful, but if you can’t write bullet proof reports and carry out thorough investigations, you probably won’t get hired in the first place. College is a good start, but you should do some ride-alongs with your local police or Sheriff’s department to get a glimpse of what actual nuts and bolts police work is about. You will spend about 90% of your time writing and filing reports, making court appearances, and researching cases. So pay attention in class and learn to write (if you can’t already). Physical fitness is important, but honestly, as long as you engage in regular rigorous exercise including weights and cardio, you’ll be fine. And don’t forget the most important aspect of being a cop: you are there to help people, plain and simple. If you want to slide across car hoods a’ la T.J. Hooker, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Good luck!

a friend of mine is going into the FBI but has to have vision correction first, then wait two years after surgery. you may want to look into any possible vision requirements for your long term goals.

Make sure you build your dickwad muscles well. Police officers today must have these. You can start your training by assulting people on the street for no reason whatsoever. You can then move on to using these people for target practice. Most police officers find that black individuals are easier targets to hit. By following these outlined pricipals, you will fit in with any police force in America. Hope this helps.

First off, Aquaholic your an asshole.
Now, on to a more serious answer. Everyone else is right, except of course aquaholic. With physical fitness, I would check out more Matt Fureys training regimen, of bodyweight exercises. And start running. If you want to add in weights, then stick with very basic movements, like barbell rows, deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, only 2x a week. Center more around running, and body weight exercises.
For most states, once you are in the academy, that is the only time when physical training will be inforced upon you. And at the academy that usually entails alot of running, push-ups, sit-ups, jumping over hurdles etc. thats why I recommend matt Furey type work-outs.
But like others have said, develop your other skills. Communication, observation, interacting with people. learn how to read people.

Why bother with all that work? Start hitting the donuts. Most of the cops I’ve seen are pretty out of shape. Advancement has little to do with ability. It has more to do with politics.

Hey, aquaholic, what’s wrong? Upset that you don’t have the stones to stand up for someone else and put YOUR life on the line for someone who can’t defend themselves? It’s okay, just keep mumbling to yourself about what assholes cops are…and remember your attitude when someone breaks into YOUR house or assaults one of YOUR kids and you reach for the phone to dial 911. It’s their job to show up whether you like it or not. You’re welcome.

I have a good article from Pavel Tsatsouline with regards to SWAT training. Check out my web site: www.atlantic.net/~nathan. Email me, and I’ll send you a copy. It will help you prepare your training for the job at hand.

thanks for the responses, except aquaholic. i realize that it takes a lot more to be a police officer than physical condition. it seems i should have mentioned more about me. i have excellent communication skills and i’m developing my writing skills more through college. i’m a business mgmt. major and minoring in religious studies (which requires lots of reading and writing). i’ve taken a few communication courses and i work in a sales job so those bases are being covered. i have 20/15 vision (better than 20/20) and no arrests, driving violations, etc. i have checked with the requirements with my local dept. my post was mainly regarding the training aspect but thanks for the responses. and for ridealongs, which i plan to do, i have to be in the recruiting process, so i can’t do that yet until i apply.

another question, mainly directed toward police officers out there and/or any experts, i’m thinking of taking some reality defense fighting classes that i’ve taken before. the teacher is a friend and a master at hand-to-hand combat, knife fighting, etc. i’m also considering gun training prior to applying for the academy. is this truly necessary? would this help me a lot in the future when trying for a different, more physically demanding position? thanks for the replies.

You have to be in the recruiting process to do a ride along? That must be new, or just a requirement in your area. My wife’s first hubby was a cop, and she got to do ride-alongs before he ever got into the force (actually prior to his applying), and she NEVER even wanted to get on the force, just wanted to know what her husband was going to do. Maybe it takes knowing some one already on the force, or something, but I’d do a little more digging.

Truthfully, Scott, most of what you learn in any traditional self-defense class is unsuitable for police officers. The minute you hit a suspect with a closed fist or give him a boot to the head (for whatever reason) you’re probably going to be suspended and brought up on review. The problem is that as a cop, you must be able to restrain and control a suspect without causing any serious harm (hence the development of Defensive Tactics-a “less damaging” form of self defense, as well as pepper spray and stun guns). So no, I don’t think it’s a good idea to take traditional self defense courses. You’ll just have to “unlearn” much of what you know. Even SWAT officers must not cross the line and abuse the civil rights of the bad guys. Knife fighting is also not a necessary skill, as when the bad guy introduces a knife into the equation you’d better one-up him and draw your pistol. Instruction in knife fighting probably won’t hurt, but I don’t really see how it will help much either. If you’re going to take any self defense class, make sure it is geared towards police officers. As for shooting, well, if you take a police course then you’ll have a leg up on someone who is a novice to firearms, and it will make that part of your academy training a lot easier, and probably more fun. So I’d advise you to get some shooting courses under your belt if you feel the need. But, once again, of the utmost importance are your written and verbal communication skills (use the SHIFT key, even in your forum posts!). And hang around as many cops as possible to get an idea of what police work is really all about. I get the feeling that you’re going to be very surprised at what you’ll find.

Scot, what country are you in - america or canada?