Part 5 - The Physical Agility Test
Deputy Bob Cooley
Just about every agency I have had dealings with in my career has both a physical agility test and a physical fitness program. In this line of work you have to maintain a high level of physical fitness as a means of self-preservation! Officer survival depends on you and your commitment to being physically able to handle the dangers of the job. You will be handling drunks, drug addicts who are high, deranged people and a host of others including the proverbial cat stuck up in a tree (please don’t do what Tackleberry did in the movie “Police Academy,” because that will be a career ending move beside having the local SPCA jumping down your throat). All joking aside you need to start gearing up for the physical agility test and the physical fitness exercises you will be required to perform in the police academy.
First, check with the agency your interested in to find out what their physical agility test consists of. Most that I know of have a running course, push-ups, sit-ups, pull ups, a dummy drag and a host of other requirements as part of the test. My personal weakness was in the run and push-ups. So I went out to better myself before I took the agility test. You need to do the same thing. If you’re weak in certain areas then start exercising in the areas you are weakest in first, but please exercise for all of the portions of the test.
Second, if you have any doubts about your current level of physical fitness and you consider yourself older than the average rookie officer check with your physician to hear what they have to say about precautions you need to take before starting a program for yourself.
Third, on the morning or afternoon of the test don’t overload yourself with a big breakfast or lunch. One of my closest friends is a career firefighter who has lifted weights for years starting when he was a teen and he told me of the day he took the test. Even though my friend was in great shape it was a hot day and he lost his breakfast while doing the test. Have a light breakfast or lunch so you don’t end up tossing your cookies all over the place.
Fourth, bring something to drink to the test site. I don’t mean soda pop I mean Gatorade or something similar. You will get hot and you will sweat I promise you that and you’ll need something to replace the fluids you lost during the test. To replace potassium bring along a banana as they are high in potassium and will help you to prevent cramps later on.
Fifth, don’t kill yourself just do the best you can. If you start to have problems such as cramps or God forbid chest pains tell the instructors at the testing site immediately. All you may need to do is take a break for a couple of minutes and I’ve found most instructors are there to help as well as conduct the test so if you feel you need help, ask!
Sixth, bring a towel with you to help cool off and wipe the sweat away and even a change of cloths if you’re permitted to use a locker room at the testing site to change. You’ll feel better with fresh cloths on rather than jumping into your car all hot and sweaty. Check with the agency on this.