What to Know About the Police Physical Fitness Test
There are over 900,000 active law enforcement officers in the United States, and many eager individuals are looking to grow that figure even more. Becoming a police officer takes courage, grit, and determination as you must navigate your way through mental and physical challenges. Arguably, one of the more intimidating obstacles that future police officers face is the physical fitness test. To help prepare our future officers, we’ll take a look into what the physical fitness test is, what it consists of, and what challenges you may face while completing it.
What is the Police Fitness Test
The fitness test is a combination of physical activities related to in-field law enforcement tasks. This test is designed to put hopeful officers’ flexibility, endurance, strength, and determination on full display and is graded on a pass/fail scale. While the test is primarily focused on physical performance, prospective officers should not overlook the mental aspect. Coming focused and prepared for the required tasks is equally as important as the physical training needed to complete this test.
Components of the Police Fitness Test
While the requirement specifics of the fitness test can vary depending on location and department, there are several common sections that an individual should prepare for:
- Sit and Reach Test: Flexibility is an often overlooked area of physical fitness. The sit and reach test puts your range of motion under stress as an individual must be seated and stretch out as far as possible. The score is measured by how far you reach and is typically determined by a yardstick.
- Sit-Up Test: The sit-up test is both a measure of endurance and physical strength. An individual has one minute to complete as many sit-ups as possible. Core strength and stamina are put to the test during the sit-up portion of the exam.
- Bench Press Test: Bench press is a strong indicator of upper body strength and force. This test is a one repetition maximum weight press that factors in both the weight pressed and the individual’s body weight. It’s important to note that some tests may require a one-minute push-up test instead of a bench press as both focus on upper body strength and endurance.
- Long Distance Run: Typically a 1.5-mile run, this test is an important indicator of endurance and stamina as this directly relates to a “real world” scenario in which an officer may need to pursue a suspect on foot. The score is measured as a time in minutes and seconds.
Fitness Test FAQs
How hard is the police fitness test? The fitness test is relatively difficult to pass as it’s documented that hundreds of hopeful officers fail to pass the physical portion each year.
What happens if you fail a section of the fitness test? Due to the pass/fail nature of the test, if an individual fails to pass a section of the test, they will not be allowed to move on to the next exercise. Typically, a second attempt can be given depending on the time frame and eligibility of the participant.
How do you prepare for the fitness test? Because of the available resources and known areas of the fitness test, an individual can efficiently train and work towards the satisfactory score levels needed to pass. As you get closer to your fitness test date, it is best to remain well rested in hopes of being at peak performance levels.
Are there any physical limitations to being a police officer? To apply and become a police officer, you must be 18 years of age or older. Additionally, there are no minimum or maximum height and weight requirements. However, police departments may use BMI scores as a reference point when determining physical fitness.
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