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What Is Involved in Police Fitness Testing?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Police fitness standards vary from one location to the next. In many areas, police fitness testing involves measuring upper-body strength, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility. Some areas may require candidates to complete a portion, which is similar to an obstacle course. The police fitness test may have different requirements based upon an individual's age and gender. Agencies typically require officers to pass the required test on a periodic basis, usually annually.

Many agencies require officers to have a great deal of upper-body strength. This can be measured a number of ways. Performing a minimum number of push-ups or chin-ups is often required. Fitness testers may also use a device to measure grip strength, which is the overall strength of the hands and forearms.

Cardiovascular endurance is normally measured by a running event. These events may require candidates to sprint anywhere from 20 to 300 meters (21.8 to 327 feet). They could also be required to complete a 1.5 mile (2.42 km) run within a particular time period.

Sit-ups are often required during police fitness testing. This exercise measures abdominal strength and flexibility. Most agencies require applicants to perform a minimum number of repetitions within an allotted time, usually one to two minutes.

Flexibility is another police fitness testing requirement in many areas. One method of measuring this is to have the individual try to touch his toes while sitting. Agility tests may be given in conjunction with flexibility tests. These can include maneuvering obstacles or jumping from side to side.

In some areas, police fitness standards also include measuring other criteria. Officers must typically meet height and weight standards for their gender and age. Some agencies will measure blood pressure or heart rate as well.

Police fitness testing is usually given to a group of individuals at a centralized location. The test may begin with warm-up exercises and stretches. Events are given in a particular order, usually beginning with the least strenuous and advancing to the more rigorous. There may be breaks between each event in order to allow muscles to recuperate.

Most agencies require police fitness testing to be given in its entirety. This means all the required events will be measured at the same time. Those who are unable to complete all the events are typically disqualified and scheduled for retesting later. For this reason, candidates should be prepared to complete the fitness testing when they are scheduled to do so.

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Discussion Comments

By Vaclav — On May 05, 2011

@honeysuckle- I can about guarantee that the officers you have seen were slimmer during their physicals. The fitness test is a requirement for becoming a police officer and cannot be passed by someone overweight.

I have an uncle who is a police officer. He said the fitness test is very hard, and you must be prepared for it. It would be extremely hard for an overweight person to prepare for it, let alone pass it. He said everyone knows that the fitness tests are part of police training, and if you are overweight while in training, you have to get the weight off.

By honeysuckle — On May 04, 2011

I had no idea that there was a police physical fitness test. To be honest, I see a lot of overweight officers and assumed there was no such thing as a fitness test. I guess they took it when they first became an officer, or perhaps they passed it even with the extra weight on them.

The requirements are pretty strenuous, so I would think it would be hard to pass if you are out of shape. Maybe some of the officers I have seen were slimmer during test time and gradually put on weight over the course of their career.

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