Serving as a police officer requires a certain amount of physical strength and stamina. Fitness standards for officers are important. In 2001, New Hampshire became the first state in the country to require that police officers meet physical performance standards throughout their careers, not just as they sign on.
In New Hampshire, officers must pass a physical test every three years that includes a 1.5-mile run, push-ups and sit-ups. The standards differ for male and female officers and are relaxed somewhat as officers age. A 50-year-old police officer isn't expected to be able to run as fast as a 25-year-old new recruit.
Only officers who were hired after 2001 are required to take the test every three years. But some departments in Southern New Hampshire are offering incentives for their older officers to take the test voluntarily.
Maintaining an adequate level of fitness is not only important to job performance, it helps relieve the stress that builds up from day to day in the very demanding profession of law enforcement. The good news is that the requisite levels of fitness are far from Olympian, and can be attained in as little as three hours of training per week. Coupling an exercise program with solid nutritional habits, not using tobacco, and controlling the use of alcohol, the life expectancy of law enforcement officers can approach that of their civilian counterparts. The New Hampshire Police Association wants to ensure that every officer in New Hampshire can and will pass the physical fitness testing.
Contained in this section is a wealth of knowledge about physical exersice and nutrition to ensure that Law Enforcement Officers within the State of NH are the most physically fit.
|Know Your Numbers
Know Your Numbers, Know Your Health
Staying healthy is important. That’s why we want to encourage and support all employees to learn more about your current health status—and what you can do to improve it. This month, the VitaMin newsletter from CIGNA offers information about the numbers associated with healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, and body composition levels.
|Preparing for the Most Common Physical Fitness Training in the U.S.
Preparing for the Most Common Physical Fitness Training in the U.S.
After doing research and writing about physical fitness tests for military and law enforcement agencies for the past ten years, I recognized a common appearance of the 1.5 mile run, pushups, and sit-ups test as a near universal basis for testing fitness levels. The groups who use the Common PFT are the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and more than 50% of federal, state, and local police agencies as a minimum standard for physical testing.
In the military units, they also have alternate testing exercises such as bike or swim for the run if injury prevents a member from running and both military and law enforcement units alter the amount of time for pushups and sit-ups. Some have one minute tests and others have two minute tests for the strength testing portion. The Coast Guard and some police departments get creative and substitute pushups with a bench press endurance test, but more than half of the United States Military and Law Enforcement Agencies use what I call the Common PFT.
Preparing for this PFT is not that difficult. In fact, many times most service members can train for a few weeks and score passing grades on the test as the minimum standards are not that difficult. Achieving the minimal standards on anything should not be the peak of our endeavors no matter what we do personally. But, there are many jobs in the military and law enforcement that do not require rigorous physical activity, however, if your job puts you in harm’s way, you should reconsider your fitness level. Whether you are saving yourself, another victim, or your partner, having the strength, endurance, and flexibility can make a difference between life and death. Yes, fitness is THAT important.
As the regular military and law enforcement agencies use the Common PFT as a standard for fitness, the specialized groups in these units like SWAT teams, Fire Fighters, Navy SEAL, Air Force PJs, and Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers all have more rigorous standards and testing exercises. The above units and other Special Ops groups require differing levels of fitness due to the extreme conditions and missions they must be prepared for. There are many workout programs that can be found on the advanced special operations groups above at the PoliceLink Fitness Store.
The good news about the Common PFT is that there are plenty of articles written over the past few years to assist with performing better on the test. Scoring better on physical fitness tests can affect promotion rate, pay-grade, energy levels due to better overall health, as well as your ability to protect and defend yourself and others in an emergency (natural or man-made).
Now, there is an ebook that addresses the PFT standard, but also helps with functional strength of the abs, lower back, hips, upper body and running. More than half the military and law enforcement personnel have to do this PFT – That is why I call this training plan the PFT Bible!
Go to your training in the shape of your life with this program to help ace the standard Physical Fitness Test (PFT). Pushups, situps, and running are featured in this program accompanied with weights as optional training tools as well.
Good luck with your training
Email Stew Smith CSCS should you have any questions about Military or Law Enforcement Fitness Training. His writings help prepare the Heroes of Tomorrow for today’s military, law enforcement and fire fighting professions.
Want to improve your workouts? Visit Stew Smith’s PoliceLink Fitness Store for customized, downloadable ebooks written specifically for law enforcers.
|How to train for a 1.5 mile run
Copyright © 2010 Running Times Magazine
Ask the Coaches: Training for a 1.5 Mile Run
As featured in the issue of Running Times Magazine
Q: Training for a 1.5 Mile Run: I am trying to get my 1.5 mile from a 10:55 to a sub-10:00 (I know it's still slow but I am a weight training guy trying to run). I am not sure how to get this done quickly. I need to do this as part of a qualification for work. I currently train fairly instinctively, usually a few 30 minute runs a week with 2-3 intervals &/or 1/4 or 1/8 repeats. Thank you for whatever help you can offer.
A: Dear JP,
First of all, let me clarify the distances I'll talk about below. I assume that you will be tested on the standard 400 meter size track. So even though your test is billed as 1.5 miles, it will actually be 2400 meters. Since the difference per lap is only 7.5 feet shorter for 400 than 440 yards (1/4 mile), just ignore these language differences and understand that you are actually getting a bit of a break since your test will probably be 45 feet short of 1.5 miles.
If my calculations are correct, you goal pace has to be roughly 10 sec per 440 yard lap faster. You are now running each lap in about 1:50 and therefore will need to improve to 1:40 per lap. So you'd better stop bulking up in the gym and instead spend just two days per week in there just maintaining your current level of strength. Instead, get out to the track and do the following workouts.
Day One: after a warm up jog for 5:00 and some light stretching, run 16 x 100m on the straightaway in 23 to 22 sec with a 100 meter walk jog around the curve for recovery. This is your speed workout to help you stay relaxed when you slow back down to race pace.
Day Two: Before you do your weight training, warm up and then jog 8-10 laps at around 2:15 (9:00 min per mile pace). This workout will not only help you recover, it will add a little endurance to your fitness base.
Day Three: Off.
Day Four: Usual warm up and then run 6-8 x 400 in 1:55 to 1:50 pace with a 400 walk/jog recovery. It is important to NOT run these any faster, so resist the temptation or you will become over-trained in short order. This workout will improve your cardio-respiratory systems to get oxygen to your muscles.
Day Five: Repeat Day Two.
Day Six: Warm up and then run 3 x 800 at goal pace of 1:40 per lap with a 800 jog recovery interval This workout will do the same as Day four, but, more importantly, will teach you race pace and how to suck it up and be tough when you start to huff and puff so hard that smoke comes out of your ears.
Day Seven: Take off to recover from all the excitement of so much running.
|Ace Any Law Enforcement Fitness Test
Ace Any Law Enforcement Fitness Test
Stew Smith, CSCS
Prior to basic, boot camp or police academy, personnel line up to take their physical fitness tests (PFT). Though each service and agency differs in testing exercises and measuring criteria, most personnel labor over this event for several weeks prior. But for those who properly prepare themselves, the PFT can be just another workout.
Here are the exercises of all the service’s PFTs and helpful tips to increase your overall score on test day:
– The anxiety felt by most service members is largely due to performing within a time limit. The more your workouts are timed the better you are at “pacing” yourself, thus eliminating most anxiety.
– During the pullup and pushup test, you want to perform these as fast as possible while adhering to the proper form and technique. Also, look straight up at the sky in order to use your back muscles more for pullups. Recommended workout – pyramid workout. Start off with just one pullup for the first set, two pullups for the second set and continue up the pyramid by adding one pullupfor every set possible. When you can no longer continue, repeat in reverse order until you are back to just one pullup. (ex. 1,2,3,4,5,6,5,4,3,2,1)
– Placing your hands in the wrong position can seriously effect your maximum score. A perfect location for your hands is just outside shoulder width. This position enables the chest, shoulders and triceps to be equally taxed. Keep hands at shoulder height when in the up position. Your pushups will be weakened if your hands are too low, wide, close or high..
Recommended workout – Try 5 sets of maximum pushups in five 1:00 periods.
– This is an exercise you need to pace. Most people burn out in the first 30 seconds with 30 curl-ups accomplished, only able to perform another 20 or so curlups within the next 1:30. By setting a pace at, for instance, 20 situps every 30 seconds, you can turn your score of 50-60 to 80 with very little effort.
Recommended workout – Try timing yourself with 5 sets of 30 seconds, setting your pace to your goal. A good pace is 20 situps in 30 seconds – totaling 80 in two minutes.
For most people the most challenging event of any PFT is by far the run. I receive many requests everyday from military members who are seeking workouts for their 1.5 mile, two or three mile PFT runs (Navy/ Army / Marine Corps respectively). Since all these distances use relatively the same training philosophy – short distance, faster pace – here are a few options to help all Armed Forces members, regardless of service, get a little faster on their runs.
– PACE – The most important thing is to not start off too fast. Learn your pace and set your goal by pacing yourself to the finish. For instance, if your goal is to run the 2 mile run in 14:00, you must run a 7:00 mile or a 1:45 – 1/4 mile..
Recommended workout and techniques – The Four Mile Track Workout has worked for many military and short distance runners for years. This workout is basically interval training. Interval training means you run at a certain pace for a particular distance then increase the pace for the same distance. The Four Mile Track Workout is broken into 1/4 mile sprints and jogs and 1/8 mile sprints and jogs for a total of four miles. The workout goes as follows:
4 Mile Track Work Jog – 1 mile in 7:00 – 8:00 Three sets of: Sprint-1/4 mile in Jog – 1/4 mile in 1:45 Six sets of: Sprint-1/8 mile Jog – 1/8 mile 1:00
Do this workout without walking to rest. The only rest you will receive is during your slower jogging pace. Try to catch your breath while you jog. Have fun with this one it is tough.
Another good speed workout is called REPEATS. Simply run a certain distance as fast as you can a specified number of times. This time you get to walk to recover and catch your breath before the next sprint. You can try one of the following distances for a challenging workout:
MILE REPEATS – 1 mile x 3-4 (walk 1/4 mile in between) = 3-4 miles 1/2 MILE REPEATS – 1/2 mile x 6 (walk 1/4 mile in between) = 3 miles 1/4 MILE REPEATS – 1/4 mile repeats x 12 (walk 1/8 mile in between) = 3 miles 1/8 MILE REPEATS – 1/8 mile repeat x 16 (walk 100 yds in between) = 2 miles
Finally, if you have not had enough, you can try mixing shorter jogs and sprints together for a longer period of time. This type of training is great for building the speed and endurance needed for any of the PFTs or 5 or 10K races. I call them SPRINT / JOGS. Simply run about 50 yards as fast as you can then jog 50 yards fairly slow in order to catch your breath. I like doing this one where telephone poles line the road so I can just sprint form one telephone pole then jog to the next.
Sprint / Jogs 100 yd sprint / 100 yd jog for 10, 20 , 30 minutes
All of these workouts are fantastic ways to get faster but build the needed endurance which most sprinters lack. Remember to take big deep breaths, relax your upperbody and slightly bend your arms. Do not run flat footed. These workouts are just a few of over hundred different workouts featured the DOWNLOADABLE eBooks for sale at PoliceLink Fitness Bookstore.
Stew Smith, former Navy SEAL and fitness writer is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Email him personally at firstname.lastname@example.org .
|Stress and Exercise - A Personal Experience
Stress and Exercise - A Personal Experience
Dr. Mel C. Siff
Stress has been a constant companion in my life. Two years ago, despite being a fitness fanatic (via strength and cardio training), vegetarian, consumer of almost every anti-oxidant known, a person with no family history of heart disease and one with absolutely no cardiac risk factors or elevated cholesterol, I experienced a near-fatal heart attack while lecturing to about 100 of my engineering students back inS Africa.
I 'flatlined' for about 7 minutes and miraculously survived without brain damage, then later had a quadruple bypass. I give constant thanks for this incredible second chance at life. BC (Before Coronary), my sports science lectures on cardio phenomena and exercise were just theoretical exercises, but my recent experience really taught me in a highly practical way about so many of the myths and facts about cardiac rehab and aerobic exercise.
For one thing, don't ever believe that years of fitness training is going to prevent a heart attack - there are so many other factors involved that it is vain and naive to think that any of us are even vaguely close to having all of the answers.
It's because of this, that I sometimes post information on cardiac disease to make fitness instructors more aware of how subtle and insidious heart disease can be. Just look around and every one of you will have at least a quarter
of your family, friends or clients in the USA afflicted or killed by heart disease - maybe even yourself.
Nobody is immune and it is vital that we be as educated as possible about cardiac health and disease. Even if you know CPR, something like 30% of those whom you try to save will die if you do not get them to an intensive care unit or good paramedics within minutes - and I mean minutes! - one minute I was lecturing animatedly, when, totally without warning, I went through a brief phase of dizziness and nausea and was soon flat on my back in total agony, rapidly expiring in front of all my students!
Chest pains? Radiating pain down the arms? None! One minute fine, the next minute, well on my way to the beyond!
Anyway, despite the extensive left ventricular damage resulting from that 7 minute deprivation of oxygen to heart and brain, I decided to apply the principles of our "Supertraining" book (Siff M C & Verkhoshansky Y V 1999 to cardiac rehabilitation, because I just could not find a single book on how to return a cardiac survivor to serious lifting or heavy sport again. I documented what I did, including all nutritional means and medical tests, to allow me to advise other serious athletes who may also suffer from heart disease.
In fact, modified martial arts regimes formed an important part of my early rehabilitation. Back, side back kicks or any form of kicking? What a joke! - after having those veins stripped surgically from your legs as bypass grafts? The leg surgery alone is one of the more persisently painful side-effects of coronary bypass surgery - this is very useful to know if you are trying to devise group classes for cardiac survivors.
The sawn-in-half sternum means that push ups or any arm adduction-adduction, arm swings and so forth are extremely painful, so one has to be very creativeif one wishes to devise a useable cardiac rehab program!
Interestingly, cardiac monitoring while I was working on a treadmill showed that blood pressure increased more with sustained periods of endurance exercise than with shorter series of interval training with regular rests. I had always believed that aerobic training did not place that sort of loading on the heart. If you really think that aerobics classes are not
just as likely to precipitate a heart attack as a weights session, think again! Jim Fixx, the great running guru, sadly discovered this when he died on a run.
This discovery spurred me onto use a special regime of smaller modules of resistance and aerobic training that was much shorter than the average aerobics class, something like those used in Bulgarian weightlifting training. Exactly a year after my quadruple bypass, I competed in an Olympic weightliftingevent, which I believe is very unique in the annals of cardiac survival.
Other principles adapted from "Supertraining" for cardiac rehab included:
1. Breaking up all aerobic training into 5-10 minute modules of walking, and modified martial arts movements throughout the day
2. Progressing from an initial state of specific limitations (limitations of range of movement, planes of movement, speed, resistance, complexity, duration etc) to a progressively advancing state.
3. Use of progressively undulating overload, not constant overload, as is traditionally taught
4. Application of 'Cybernetic Periodisation' in which one uses Ratings of Perceived Effort to constantly modulate each type of periodisation or cycled loading
5. Control of intrathoracic pressure to an even greater extent than intra-abdominal pressure to minimise compressive pressure on the heart
6. Regular use of formal methods of restoration, such as massage, specialised nutrition, electrostimulation, hydrotherapy, meditation, music therapy, autogenic training and rhythmic movement
7. Use of intermittent sets or cluster methods of loading with brief rests (1-10 seconds) between single repetitions of strength exercises.
8. Use of sets with no more than 3-5 repetitions for many months
9. Walking and rhythmic movement between each repetition and set; no sitting down during a workout to minimise sudden changes in stress level and blood pressure
10. Use of the conjugate sequence principle in which one type of fitness training overlaps with the rest and lays the foundation for what is to follow
11. Never working to an emotional all-out maximum, but choosing to work to a relatively easy 3 RM which does not encourage too great a rise in intrathoracic pressure.
12. Avoidance of any prolonged loading, slow tempo training, heavy eccentrics, endurance training, HIT (Highly Intensive Training) or 'superslow' methods, because these all tend to cause large or sustained increase in intrathoracic and blood pressure.
13. Alternating easy and more strenuous days of training.
14. Implementing the delayed after-effects principle (performance improvements may be stimulated as long as 5 weeks later by current loading)
15. Prolific use of quicker Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting training variations over partial and full range, especially "hybrids" (aerobic, martial and strength types of combined movements) - over 250 examples are listed in "Supertraining".
16. Regular use of mental rehearsal, visualisation, loadless training and reflex conditioning (a la Pavlov)
17. Gradual introduction of more ballistic and 'plyometric' (powermetric) action in the form of very small sets over a limited range of action, with aqua-powermetrics indifferent depths of water.
18. Modification of loading according to the differential adaptation of each different part of the body to training.
19. Use of punctuated informal training throughout the day, using free standing squats, pull ups, pressups, good mornings etc, for a few minutes at a time
20. Use of undemanding aerobic training such as walking and gentle swimming as a means of restoration, mental relaxation and joint mobilisation
21. Periodic use of PNF or Functional Neuromuscular Training methods of patterned, three dimensional movement to increase structural and functional capabilities.
In many ways, I am most grateful for the incredible learning experience that my cardiac event provided. It taught me even more strongly about what is really important in life and how to apply sports science in a far more practical way than ever before.
|Weights vs Cardio
Weights vs Cardio
Weights or Cardio First?
By Scott White
Cardio weights for fast weight loss. If my main goal is to lose weight, which makes more sense . . . cardio first or lifting weights first? I've heard both sides, but never know who's right.
Cardio or weights for quick weightloss? Not all exercise is created equal. Cardio exercise, for example, is very good for the health and proper working condition of your heart and of course there is a benefit to this form of exercise. A heart that isn't fit and healthy will lead to a shortened lifespan. However, those in search of exercise to aid with fat-burning and weight loss are much better served by weight training. Weights Before Cardio
Weight training a better choice for fat loss and weight reduction because it builds muscles, and strong muscle mass is needed to achieve lasting fat loss and weight reduction. What do muscles have to do with fat loss? Do they "chew up" and "spit out" the fat? And doesn't muscle-building actually cause you to weigh more and your body to appear even larger? Muscles don't do the chewing or getting rid of fat, but they do assist by providing the energy that your metabolism (your fat-chomping machine) needs to burn fat quickly. Muscles accelerate the fat-eliminating capacity of your metabolism, causing rapid fat loss, weight reduction, and improved health. It is true that muscles "weigh" more than fat and so when you begin a weight-training routine, you may experience an initial weight gain. Fear not, as the more fat loss that occurs, the more quickly your body weight will readjust its weight. You can also afford to weigh more if that weight is muscle instead of fat. Weight from muscle does not lead to the disastrous medical conditions and diseases that having too much fat does. Weight training is simply an amazing fat-loss tool for those who want to lose fat and gain health. Weight training is a complete workout for the body, for your complete health. It also helps your newly developing muscles obtain shape, definition, and tone, for the "chiseled and fit" physique you desire. If you've been searching for the best form of exercise to accelerate your fat loss, weight-training is the exercise that can get the job done!
|Diet, Exercise and Weight Loss Myths
Diet, Exercise and Weight Loss Myths
Once again, it has come to our attention that there are a lot of misinformed people out there. We are not entirely sure from where this glut of non-knowledge is originating, nor do we want to point fingers. We have our suspicions about various publications. Nevertheless, be prepared for the latest soapbox ranting in attempt to clear the air and bring some enlightenment to the poor undereducated masses.
Myth #1. In Order To Lose Fat, You Need To Eat Less
On the surface, this may seem correct, but let's really think about it for a minute. Given, in order to lose fat, the calories ingested must be less than the calories expended. But (pun intended) there are loopholes to this grand axiom in that there are many ways to accomplish this calorie imbalance. When you exercise, you burn calories. On a simple level, if you are burning more than you?re eating, you will lose fat.
Since muscle is active, and fat is inert, the metabolic rate (metabolism, the rate at which you burn calories) is basically determined by the ratio between fat- and lean-bodyweight. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. So, you can burn more fat by adding more muscle. In order to add more muscle, you need to eat more. Again, simply put, you can actually lose fat by eating more.
Myth #2. In Order To Lose Fat, You Need To Do Lots Of Cardio
Again, this seems right. But look at it this way: When you exercise, you burn calories. Now where these calories come from is the basis as to whether you will lose fat or muscle. Without going into a tremendous amount of science, let?s take for granted, that the body prefers protein sources over fat for its fuel. Muscles are made of protein. If you are not ingesting enough protein in your diet, and you do an extreme amount of cardio, the body may feed on its muscle and you will lose lean bodyweight. (Just look at Olympic-class runners - very lean, but very little muscles, too.) Now when you lose too much lean bodyweight, what happens to your metabolism? It takes a nose-dive. Then what? Well, my fluffy friend, the two-thousand calories a day that used to make you lose weight, is now causing you to gain fat! Hmmmm?
Myth #3. In Order To Lose Your Belly, You Need To Do Lots Of Sit Ups
Okay, a little earlier we established that when we exercise, we burn calories. Let's assume that we really nailed our nutrition plan, so these calories are going to come from the stored fat in our bodies. But, exactly where is the fat going to "burn off" first? Good question. The real answer, though, is in saying where it will not come from first. When you perform bicep curls, a lot, and heavy, to the point that your body is using calories, you, according to the logic above, are burning fat. Are you burning the fat only on your biceps? Of course not. The body does not care where it gets the fat to burn, and doing a particular exercise for a particular area does not guarantee that the fat burned will come from that area. Again, plain and simple. Following that truth, does performing a lot of sit-ups burn the fat off your middle? No way. Well, maybe it will, but not just off your middle. It's going to come off pretty much everywhere. There are certain reasons pertaining to biology, anatomy, body types, etc, that dictate where the fat comes from first, and how much where, but generally speaking, it's going to come off everywhere. The same logic would apply to the various electronic muscle-stimulating devices that are flooding the infomercials. Go, ahead, give yourself some electronic stimulation. It may be a great way (I doubt it) to exercise and tone your abs. But that is not going to guarantee that the flab is going to come off of them. About the only thing that it is going to guarantee, is that you spent too much. So, what's the best way to get the flab off of a certain area, and only that area, of your body? Try liposuction.
Myth #4. Carbs Are Bad For You
You should know by now that almost any generalized statement is a lie, and subject to my attack. Our bodies need carbs (technically "carbohydrates") to exist. They are one of the preferred fuel sources for energy. Certain carbs, eaten under specific conditions (i.e., starchy white carbs eaten less than three hours before bedtime) may cause you to gain or hold onto extra weight, but certainly, by no means are all carbohydrates bad for you.
Myth #5. Eating Pasta Makes You Fat
Being Italian, I have to wholeheartedly object to this. Eating pasta, in itself, does not make you fat. Overeating, (anything) makes you fat. Period.
Myth #6. Drinking Water With Meals Makes You Bloated And Retain Fluid
Exactly when water is ingested has no effect. And drinking too little water actually causes water retention.
Myth #7. Fat Is Bad For You
See Myth #4 above. The same logic applies. But apply it to saturated and unsaturated fats. Take unsaturated whenever there is a choice.
Myth #8. Losing Weight Fast Is The Best Way
You should know better. Losing weight fast usually means losing water and lean weight. Losing water weight in itself is harmless, but not even close to permanent. You will gain it all back very quickly as soon as the body re-hydrates itself. Losing lean weight, on the other hand, is counter-productive. As we saw above, losing lean weight will in turn lower your metabolism, and we know what comes next. (See #1 and #2 above)
Page Last Updated: Nov 30, 2010 (06:53:00)