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Fitness Training and Police Work

Fitness Training and Police Work

Photo: Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office

Stew Smith, CSCS

Flexibility is Key

First of all, a police officer should be flexible with an ability to move at a moment’s notice. After hours of sitting still, jumping out of a car and chasing someone at full speed can injure even the most athletic individuals. Stretching at least your legs and lower back throughout the day and on a daily basis with your exercise routine will save you from unnecessarily pulling a muscle or worse.

Your increased flexibility will be the result of a daily stretching program that will help you better recover from the daily grind and of course challenging workouts. Stretching will help you break up the lactic acid that builds in your muscles. One tip – hold each stretch you do for 4-5 deep inhales and exhales. The inhales should be 3 or more seconds long – followed by a full exhale. This will also help you get oxygen to the muscles adding an increased effect to lactic acid release.

The most important stretches – thigh stretch, hamstring stretches, and lower back stretch – should be performed throughout the day. Check out the Lower Back Stretching Plan at

Quick Workouts for the Busy Officer

Easy to perform exercises and calisthenics such as pushups, pull-ups, dips, squats, lunges, abdominal and lower back exercises make it possible for the busiest of us to exercise anywhere in as little time as 15-20 minutes.

Pyramid Workout Plan

This program can be for beginners and advanced alike. The best thing about the pyramid workout is that you work up from a very easy level which counts as a warm-up. Continue up the pyramid as shown until you hit a maximum level of your fitness, then repeat in reverse order, which acts as your cool-down.

If you can complete the pyramid above your final total of pull-ups, pushups, and sit-ups will be: 36 pull-ups, 72 pushups, and 108 sit-ups. If you continue up the pyramid and build up to level 10 pull-ups / 20 pushups / 30 sit-ups on peak of pyramid, you will have completed the entire pyramid – that is 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 sit-ups or other abs of choice. It is good to mix in a variety of pushups (wide, regular, close, 8 count body builders etc) and differing grips on the pull-ups as well.

PT Supersets

This workout will push your pushups and sit-ups for 300 reps each and keep your pull-ups between 50-100 reps. The super set is a series of exercises to be repeated with no rest. For the upper body superset, simply do five to ten pushups then roll over and rest your pushup muscles by doing ten crunches and continue on with the two different versions of pushups and crunches. One super set can be accomplished in as little as two minutes. If you repeat this particular workout five times you will have 150 pushups and 200 crunches in a ten minute period. Once again, if you are at a beginner level of fitness, try to do your pushups on your knees once you fail at regular pushups and decrease the number of times you repeat this cycle to 4-5 supersets.

Repeat 10 times

Pull-ups – 5-10

Pushups – 10

Sit-ups – 10

Wide pushups – 10

Reverse crunches – 10

Tri pushups – 10

Double crunches – 10

Add 10-20 jumping jacks before every set and get some cardio benefit out of it. Total time is about 20 minutes

The Ultimate Super Set – Max PT / Fewest Sets Possible

This workout is one of my favorite for building from 10 pull-ups to 15-20 pull-ups. Many people get stuck at 10 pull-ups, this workout will get you over that hump. I recommend trying this workout only once a week in conjunction with the two above PT workouts during the week.

For intermediate athletes shoot for:

50 pull-ups

150 pushups

200 sit-ups

For advanced

100 pull-ups

250 pushups

300 sit-ups

For increased difficulty, add a ¼ mile run, during each cycle, at your goal pace for the 1.5 or 2 mile timed run.

Always do lower back exercises when doing stomach exercises for balance and do not forget to stretch daily…

Maintenance Plan

The goal is to create a maintenance program that will challenge your cardiovascular system as well as your muscular endurance. Some police departments may have weight room access with cardio equipment or even pools. If that is the case, get your cardio in the pool, bikes, or treadmills. Otherwise, these workouts can be done with little or no equipment as demonstrated below:

On other days you can work your legs and abs again or combine them for a full body workout.

Repeat the leg superset five to ten times depending on your fitness level.

1) Squats – 20

2) Crunches – 20

3) Lunges – 10/leg

4) Left/Right crunches – 20/20

5) Heel Raises – 20

6) Reverse crunch – 20

Add jumping jacks or running a ¼ mile on a local track to this one and now have a solid cardio and lower body endurance plan.

The leg workout superset below is a little more challenging due to the fact that you stand up and lie down repeatedly, but it is much like the requirements of a police officer on duty. Sitting still, jumping up, running, etc…

Some people have commented that the hardest part of this workout is the transition from one exercise to the other. As you can see, there is really no excuse why you cannot exercise any day of the week whether you are traveling, working long hours or staying at home with the kids. With minimal equipment and time sacrifice, we can all fit exercise in our lives and stay healthy for many years to come.

Mix a little cardio with PT for an all in one workout with both cardio and muscular benefits:

Repeat 5-10 times

Jumping Jacks – 10 / Squats – 10

And / or jog or walk or bike 5:00


Repeat the following 4-5 times:

squats- 20 reps

lunges 10/leg reps (regular, 1/2)

calves – 30 (regular, toes in, toes out)

bike or jog – 5:00

Jog 1/4 mile or bike 2:00-3:00 / stretch

Repeat the following four times:

Jog 1/4 mile on a treadmill or outside (or bike 2:00-3:00)

Squats – 10 – 20 reps

Lunges – 10 -15 reps each leg

Calves – 30 reps each leg


The ideas above should help you maintain your fitness level while having limited time and resources. The other side of the fitness and health equation is nutrition. Though you can burn plenty of calories with the above workouts, it does not benefit you as much if you are not eating for more energy or eating too many calories. At the end of the day, if you take in too many calories than you burn, you will continue to gain weight.

Remember the key to any weight control program is adding water to your diet and a fitness plan that will help you add oxygen and burn calories and fat for the caloric deficiency needed to lose weight. Feel free to email me at – I answer all my emails.

Want to improve your workouts? Visit Stew Smith’s PoliceLink Fitness Store for customized, downloadable ebooks written specifically for law enforcers.

Next: Fitness: Hanging with the Younger Crowd

Previous: Fitness For the Female Law Enforcer

© 2008, Stew Smith

  • Img00015-20101105-1530_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    This is the perfect way for cadet and recruit to get and stay in shape

  • Pict1517_max50


    about 7 years ago


    if it is possible to add some fitness training movies on this site, that well be great and more helpful

  • Pict1517_max50


    about 7 years ago


    wow, that is great and helpful for every individuals

  • Dsc08525_max50


    almost 8 years ago


    With the demanding jobs that we all do every day finding a good routine as stated in this article can end up being the difference of coming out on top and uninjured or bing left in a pile on the ground.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 8 years ago


    Physical fitness should be part of your job. Some of these work outs are not realistic for an on duty officer. Keep moving. Cardio is important.

  • 3734983337_1__max50


    almost 8 years ago


    it doesn't take that complex of a workout to stay in fighting shape.

  • 603027000639_max50


    almost 8 years ago


    I like the article, copied and pasted and printed it out. Sounds like a great workout tip as I am one that needs to get myself back into shape. Keep up the good work....

  • Kitty_max50


    almost 8 years ago


    Good article. Y'all can also check out (not just bodybuilders on there, but fitness folk and mma ers too) for more reading material on exercise and nutrition (trust me-it's what I do for a living).

  • Fnarnd_001_max50


    almost 8 years ago


    I would like to see some one do 300 sit-ups and 150 push ups all in ten min.. but outher then that I do like the plan and I wish I could do all of it..

  • 2004_0304macandanna0005_max50


    almost 8 years ago


    Good read Stew. Well put together program. M.Cline

  • 2004_0304macandanna0005_max50


    almost 8 years ago


    Good read Stew. Well put together program. M.Cline

  • Massachusetts_20flag_max50


    almost 8 years ago


    Great Workout, I like to change mine up from time to time to keep it fresh.

  • Bluebarb_max50


    almost 8 years ago


    Great info....I already have a daily workout plan but like to get fresh ideas every now and then

  • 299852108_b3a9ab7dd5_max50


    almost 8 years ago


    I'm going to print and share with my friends. Thanks!

  • Redshirt_annie_max50


    almost 8 years ago


    Inspirational. I should head back to the gym. I have been meaning to go this week.

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