Police Fitness >> Browse Articles >> Academy Fitness


Training For The Coast Guard Special Ops DOG

Stew Smith, CSCS


The pushup is the most commonly used exercise in military, law enforcement, and fire fighter training programs.  Learning how to ace a fitness test is required for most groups BUT being able to do multiple sets of countless pushups is usually required in most indoctrination training programs (Boot Camps, Basic Training, Military and Law Enforcement and Fire Fighting Academies).  Here are some tips for the exercise that has been around for 1000’s of years.

  • Proper hand placement – Keep hands just greater than shoulder width apart and placed lower than your shoulders as if you were doing a bench press. This will place an equal amount of force on the chest, shoulders and triceps.

  • Up / Down movement – Pushups in this test is a 1 minute sprint. Building your endurance to do non-stop pushups for one minute is not as difficult as it may first appear. To score your best, you should focus on doing pushups as fast as you can, however exert on the UP motion and relax your arms when coming DOWN. Let gravity take you down.

The workouts used to build a foundation for your pushup scores by using super set or pyramid workouts like the ones below: 

Repeat 5-10 times
Pushups – 10
Situps – 10-20 on pace with goal 1 minute test 

Pushups Pyramid – do 1 pushup and build up to 25 pushups and back down to 1 in as little time as possible.  If you need to, “rest” by doing a timed set of situps of 15-30 situps.


This exercise requires some stomach and lower back strength as well as hip flexor / psoas strength and flexibility.  For some ideas to stretch / build lower back areas check out the Lower Back Plan.  

  • This is a pacing exercise as with running. If your goal is 50-60 in 1 minute, you have to build up to withstand a pace of up to 1 situp per second for 60 seconds.

  • Touch elbows to knees / shoulders to floor – This is a full repetition for the situp and the best way to master this is to exert on the UP movement and relax on DOWN and let gravity take you to the floor. Just as with the pushup test.

  • Paced Sets - Focus on learning the pace to reach your goal. If you goal is 50 situps in 1 minute, then get 25 in 30 seconds, 12-13 in 15 seconds and develop your situp workouts with timed sets throughout your workout.

Running Speed  - 300m sprint: 

  • This is ¾ of a 400m track and is meant to be a full sprint. Some people perform this fast run as a build up to a full sprint and still perform well. Start off fast to build up your momentum for the first 10-20 m, then keep that pace for the first 100m, pick it up a notch for the seconds 100m, and then the last 100m is full speed.

  • Build VO2 max with intervals / speed work / leg stamina thru calisthenics / weights / plyometrics

Some favorite workouts to ace this test as well as the vertical jump is to mix sprints with squat, lunges, and jumps a few times a week for 4-5 sets like this:

Repeat 4-5 times
300m fast run
squats – 20
lunges – 10/leg
vertical jump – 5
stretch legs lightly


PoliceLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use PoliceLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.