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Thread: Physical Fitness Testing Results

  1. #1
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    Default Physical Fitness Testing Results

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    I just wanted to share a recent experience with you and hear your thoughts. I know you are familiar with my background however, I would like to give any readers a little information. I have been in law enforcement for 16 years and over half of that time I have spent assigned to our SWAT Team.

    Our department requires a fitness test based on the Cooper’s Institute in order to be assigned to the SWAT Team. This test is administered once per year and then 6 months later a more strength biased test is administered. This is a recent addition as the Cooper’s test used to be administered two times per year. The Cooper’s based test consists of a vertical jump, max push-ups in 60 seconds (40 minimum), max sit-ups in 60 seconds (37 minimum), 1.5 mile run (13:18 max), and a 300 meter sprint (60 second max).

    The last time I participated in the test was 1 year ago. It is important to note that this is also the last time that I have ran for fitness, done a sit-up, a pushup, and possibly jumped vertically. Since that time I have dedicated myself to the Starting Strength program. Now I have done the SS program before however, I have had my affairs with running, rucking, and other fads. The only time I deviate from the SS program in the last year (other than vacation, illness, or letting night shift beat me) is the 2 monthly team workouts that accompany training. I also do a prowler workout on very rare occasion. It’s also important to note that the last time I took the test I weighed about 185-190 pounds. A year later I weigh 221 pounds and am much stronger than I was the previous year. I just took the PT Test, and noted something interesting. And just so everyone knows I’m a 40 year old male who, other than being healthy, was not gifted genetically.

    I began the test by performing the vertical jump. The result was a 32” vertical. Now I know that number isn’t anything great (NFL, NBA, or anyone else won’t be recruiting me) however, I don’t believe I have jumped quite 32” before. We then moved to the push-up test. My goal here was to conserve energy for the upcoming run so I would only complete the minimum number required on push-ups or sit-ups. I completed the required 40 push-ups right around the 30 second mark. The push-ups were easy to say the least. But I stopped at 40. I did the same on the sit-ups, which were also easy and were completed around the 40 second mark. I noticed that my hip flexors weren’t tired. I have always noticed tight, tired hip flexors after a number of quick sit-ups in the past. We then moved to the 1.5 mile run. Several of my teammates believed that this would be difficult at my heavier weight and since I haven’t ran in a year. At the halfway point my time was 5:30. I was not winded or tired at all. I decided to slow down to save energy for the sprint. I finished right at 12 minutes and felt great. I had plenty left to give and could easily have stayed on my original pace. We then moved to the 300 meter sprint. I ran a 50 second 300 meter. I felt great on this run but I paced all wrong. I had plenty more to give on the 300. At this point I wished I would’ve gone all out in all areas just to see what I could’ve done. Another interesting note is that I ALWAYS get shin splints after the 1.5 mile run and the 300 meter sprint. I did not have a single issue with this during or after the test this time.

    So here are some thoughts and questions. We have all been conditioned to believe (I think some of this is due to marketing) that in order to perform well on tests such as these you must be doing “cardio”, be lightweight, be doing push-ups, and “core” work. So conditioned that I believed that I must really conserve to pass the runs. As there is no way to pass a measured run if you haven’t been running right? It appears that my newly developed strength has benefited me more than anything I have done in the past. Not to mention I am a bigger stronger man for someone to deal with in general. What do you believe generated the results I saw on the 1.5 mile run? Does the heavy lifting of the 3 x 5 program build a certain level of “cardio”? Is it just easier to push my body through space now that I am measurably stronger than I once was? The push-ups are obviously a result of my bench and press but what about the sit-ups? Is this a direct result of my core putting in the work during my squat sessions? And what about the shin splints? A result of stronger bones, muscles, and tendons?

    I was fortunate to meet you near the beginning of my LE career. Who knows where I would be physically had I really listened to you back then. With all of that said, thanks for the work that you do, for helping me when I need it, and for making me better.

    Bucky

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    North Texas
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    39,289

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bucky View Post
    I began the test by performing the vertical jump. The result was a 32” vertical. Now I know that number isn’t anything great (NFL, NBA, or anyone else won’t be recruiting me) however, I don’t believe I have jumped quite 32” before.
    First off, excellent job. What took you so long? That's a pretty good vertical, better than I would have thought, you being rather slug-like and all. We may have to try that under non-government test conditions in the gym.

    We then moved to the push-up test. My goal here was to conserve energy for the upcoming run so I would only complete the minimum number required on push-ups or sit-ups. I completed the required 40 push-ups right around the 30 second mark. The push-ups were easy to say the least. But I stopped at 40. I did the same on the sit-ups, which were also easy and were completed around the 40 second mark. I noticed that my hip flexors weren’t tired. I have always noticed tight, tired hip flexors after a number of quick sit-ups in the past. We then moved to the 1.5 mile run. Several of my teammates believed that this would be difficult at my heavier weight and since I haven’t ran in a year. At the halfway point my time was 5:30. I was not winded or tired at all. I decided to slow down to save energy for the sprint. I finished right at 12 minutes and felt great. I had plenty left to give and could easily have stayed on my original pace. We then moved to the 300 meter sprint. I ran a 50 second 300 meter. I felt great on this run but I paced all wrong. I had plenty more to give on the 300. At this point I wished I would’ve gone all out in all areas just to see what I could’ve done. Another interesting note is that I ALWAYS get shin splints after the 1.5 mile run and the 300 meter sprint. I did not have a single issue with this during or after the test this time.
    This is completely consistent with what we normally see, every time, especially in much younger men.

    We have all been conditioned to believe (I think some of this is due to marketing) that in order to perform well on tests such as these you must be doing “cardio”, be lightweight, be doing push-ups, and “core” work. So conditioned that I believed that I must really conserve to pass the runs. As there is no way to pass a measured run if you haven’t been running right? It appears that my newly developed strength has benefited me more than anything I have done in the past. Not to mention I am a bigger stronger man for someone to deal with in general. What do you believe generated the results I saw on the 1.5 mile run? Does the heavy lifting of the 3 x 5 program build a certain level of “cardio”? Is it just easier to push my body through space now that I am measurably stronger than I once was?
    This is extremely important, and we've been saying this for years while absolutely no one listens but us. For a "fit" person, running is just not that hard. It's putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to do so, even if it hurts a little. Strength training makes you "fit" and therefore improves your running. Unless we have decided that we are taking cars away from the cops and the military, running 5 miles is neither necessary from an operational standpoint nor productive from a training standpoint: running makes you better at running and that's all, while lifting makes you better at running and everything else too.

    Let's repeat this: running makes you better at running and that's all, while lifting makes you better at running and everything else too. And since we don't run more that short distances in the field anymore -- which lifting improves too -- then preparing to run long distances while failing to implement a systematic approach to getting stronger is a waste of time, money, and physical potential.


    The push-ups are obviously a result of my bench and press but what about the sit-ups? Is this a direct result of my core putting in the work during my squat sessions? And what about the shin splints? A result of stronger bones, muscles, and tendons?
    Situps are a silly thing to test if a guy can squat 405. Silly, stupid, pointless, inefficient, and ineffective, and this is precisely how governments do things. You have risen above this. Guys like you assuming a leadership role are the only way this paradigm will shift.

    For more information:

    Tactical Athlete Radio - Episode 7: Interview with Mark Rippetoe | Listen via Stitcher Radio On Demand

    Are you Strong Enough? An interview with Mark Rippetoe - | @TheRhinoDen | Home Of All Things Military

  3. #3
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    well yeah . . .

    Bucky = Winter Solider . . .DUH

    USSR/Hydra bio-engineered super commando.

    Hardly what I'd call DTP.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2014
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    My opinion: Push ups, sit ups and mile runs are done for PF tests because, like machine-loaded weight rooms, they're easy to judge success and failure.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Murphysboro, IL
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    To the OP:

    Per the 1.5 mile run. Have you or ANYONE in LE that you know of had to run that far or long in a foot pursuit? This is an especially relevant question since you are in a SWAT team. Now the 300 yard sprint is a relevant measure. Being that foot pursuits end well before or nearly immediately after 300 yards.

    I know, you have to go with the program and measurement metrics you are compelled to undertake, but perhaps posing this question might be something to consider. Just be careful and don't push too hard if you elect to pursue this. Because if you piss off command, some unwanted attention from internal affairs may ensue.

    Good luck in making your 20. Or whatever your vested timeline is. But remember, there is life after cops and robbers. Even if it is the best game there is.

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