So you’ve decided to begin a career in law enforcement, a decision that will give you the opportunity to give back to your community, and to your country. But, you want to know how to prepare for the gruesome training ahead of you. Luckily, we’ve put together a little guide to help you get ready and prep for the academy.
The police academy is a test of your physical fitness combined with academic coursework and training in pursuit driving and firearms ability. Although each state, city, and department may vary in regards to when you attend the academy, and what you are taught, you can make some general preparations and practice the skills you'll need that’ll prepare you mentally, and physically.
As a graduate of a certified police academy, and current Law Enforcement Officer, I often get asked by people interested in attending the academy what it is like and how best to prepare. Well, going through the police academy is an intense, stressful, eye opening, and rewarding experience. Trust me, by the time you are done you will be a different person. I mean this in the best possible way of course. I suggest contacting your closest academy to see what their fitness requirements are, so that way you know what you’re even preparing for.
In the academy, you can expect to run, and run ALOT! I wish I could tell you what to expect, but these instructors get very creative with their fitness regimes, and you’ll learn to hate it. But now to why we are all here
I suggest starting your training few months before the academy begins (the earlier the better) and get used to working out five days a week. Concentrate on cardio as this seems to be what most academies concentrate on the most. Start waking up an hour earlier each day and going on a run, then come home and eat breakfast afterwards. Power through the first two weeks of this schedule and it will become your morning routine. It honestly becomes like a cup of coffee in the morning, it’s what gets your day started. Before you know it, you’ll be seeing improvements in your time, speed, and effort you need to put forth to finish your run.
Consistency and discipline here is key, no excuses on why you can’t run today. That will not fly at the academy, so don’t train the way prior to the academy. No one is going to make you do this, this is something you decided to do, so it is something YOU need to stick to. It will be the difference between graduation, and failing out. Below we provided a sample workout routine for you to follow. Now you can do all the research in the world, and follow all the routines known to man, but at the end of the day, it boils down to the effort you’re putting in, your discipline, and how hard you are training. How much do you want it? Are you willing to outwork the person you were yesterday? This line of work is not easy, and neither should your training be.
You’ll want to run, run, and run some more. Interval running will be your best friend here. Find a track, and become best friends with it. Jog a lap, sprint a quarter lap, and repeat. You’ll want to do this until you’ve reach 2 miles.
Pushups and sit-ups are two tests that most police academies use to measure your strength/ endurance.
The form for push-ups, arms should be held close to the body and core stomach muscles should be tightened. There are many different types of push-ups that increase arm and chest strength, so feel free to experiment and change it up:
You should start by doing 100 push-ups a day. I recommend finding the maximum number of push-ups you can do at one time. Start to increase the number each day until you can do 25-30 push-ups at one time and repeat the exercise over time until you have accomplished 100 push-ups a day.
Over time, the number of push-ups can be increased as the body adapts and becomes less fatigued. With training, it will become easier to complete the recommended number of push-ups for the academy test.
Sit-ups are often the final portion of the police academy fitness test. Sit-ups measure abdominal muscle strength and endurance. Strengthening the abdominal muscles over time is essential for improving sit-up technique and increasing the number of sit-ups. The strength of abdominal muscles can be improved through exercises focusing on the stomach or by including core stability work, such as reverse crunches, planks and Russian Twists. Now sticking to these three exercises will not only burn you out, but probably bore you as well. Below is a sample workout that targets all three aspects of the fitness tests, offering you a little variety.
Besides the physical aspect, you can expect to a rigid schedule, because punctuality is key. You can expect a variety of written tests that will test your knowledge on Vehicle Code, Inspection, Criminal Law, some civil law, and so forth. You can also expect to be tested on emergency driving, conflict resolution, and proficiency on an array of both lethal and non-lethal weapon systems. It will be hard, but it will be worth it.
So now you have it, what you can expect, and how you can better prepare for the police academy testing.
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
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