Strength training to prepare for policing
The majority of our strength training activities in PT class are exercises using your own body weight. For example, push ups and squats. This is good if you are new to strength training and don't really have any control of your own body weight. Remember, you are training to be a police officer, if you need to control someone who is resisting you when making an arrest it is important that you are strong enough to control your own body weight and them. So how do you prepare yourself for starting out……(This is only a general guide for someone new to strength training, no specific sets or repetitions as you are all different and at different levels. Please note you are required to do 25 push ups on your toes when you get here.)
Do your push ups on your toes, as many as you can, then rest. Do this again another 2 times.
Do some squats. As many as you can then have a rest and repeat. Try and get your thighs parallel to the ground. If you can, use a mirror to check your technique or have a professional check if you go to a gym. (You shouldn't be getting sore knees squatting, make sure you get this looked at if you do)
Get into the prone hover or plank (people refer to it with many names) position. In the test you are required to hold this position with extended arms strong for 90 seconds. Try and go better then that, make sure you can do this. Once you can do this have a go on your elbows, this still works you core which is important. Time yourself and try and better it each week.
Find somewhere where you can do some pull ups or body rows. You need a bar about hip height. You can use gym equipment at the gym or find a park with one. Lie under the bar and take hold of it with a reverse grip and pull your chest up to the bar. Do this as many times as you can, have a rest and repeat.
Don't do this every day. Twice a week should be sufficient, particularly if strength training is new to you. However, you must ensure you have trained hard through the session and pushed your body to its max. If you take it easy and just go through the motions you are wasting your time. You should work up a sweat, your arms should be shaking, your abs burning and your legs feel like jelly when you are finished. If you don't feel like this you need to train harder. If you pushed your limits, when you are having a few days between strength training your body will recover and should adapt to what you put it through. This means that over time as you stress your body when training it, it will start to develop more muscle fibres, it will become stronger and you will find you are able to do more push ups, maintain the prone hover longer, do more squats without getting sore, etc.
You need to be consistent. You can't be good one week and train and have the next off without doing anything. If you do this you are allowing your body to go back to where you started and you won't make any strength gains. You need to keep 'pushing that envelop'.
If you feel yourself starting to get lazy with it, or are losing interest remember why you need to do these if you want to prepare for policing;
Pushups, you need pushing strength in policing or it would not be in the test, you need this upper body strength for defensive tactics training and self defence drills.
Squats, you need leg strength, it will give you an increased resistance to fatigue when running, you need leg strength for general policing, jumping, running up stairs, simply standing on your feet for a full 12 hour shift with all you arms and appointments can be taxing on the body.
Hovers develop core strength. Core strength is so important in policing. A strong core protects our spine and looks after our posture. I am sure you don't want to end up on restricted duties in your first few years of service with a back injury as a result of a weak core, remember carting around those arms and appointments for a 12 hour shift can be taxing on the body if you are weak.
Pull ups – pulling strength is also important in policing; you may have to drag a person who is unconscious to safety. It also balances out the upper body after doing the push ups. This exercise also assists in grip strength, helping you keep control of your appointments.
It is also a good idea to write down what you are completing each session. It is not only motivating, as hopefully you are seeing improvements from when you started but it also keeps you honest. Good luck with it, remember it will take time so don't be disappointed if you don't see results straight away. If this was easy, everyone would be fit. Those of you that want to join the police should be able to stand up to the challenge of getting fit, you have a duty to not only yourself and your future colleagues but the public also that you will serve to get your self in the best shape you possibly can so you can be an effective police officer who is able to do your job to the best of your ability.