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Improving Your Fitness

To perform the role of a Police Officer effectively it is essential that you are physically and mentally fit. Not only is this important to pass the initial recruitment fitness tests but it is also important that you remain fit and healthy throughout your career as a Police Officer.

This guide will help you prepare for your recruitment fitness tests by providing you with a basic six week fitness programme. By the end of the six weeks, whatever your level of fitness you had to start with, you should have developed your cardiovascular fitness enough to be able to run continuously for at least 30 minutes at a good pace and have developed good muscular strength and endurance that you can then build on by starting a weight training programme or other more advanced forms of training.

FIRSTLY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY
NO PAIN, NO GAIN is total RUBBISH!

If you experience pain in your muscles or joints while exercising, STOP and rest. Apply R.I.C.E.: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate; if pain persists seek medical attention. Mild soreness following exercise, especially when you're just starting out, is to be expected and should not concern you provided it lasts no longer than 24-48 hours.

It's important that you buy and wear a good pair of running shoes, this is due to the fact that immense forces move through your joints with each step. These should be replaced annually or every 500 miles, whichever is sooner. Find a running shop and ask for advice there, many such shops will carry out an assessment of your feet and your running style and recommend an appropriate shoe. This can save you much pain and discomfort and is well worth the time and effort spent finding the right shoe.

Try to run on dirt tracks, cycle ways, grass and the like, and avoid running solely on tarmac or concrete, as this is may lead to a very painful condition called shin splints.

Always gently warm-up (by walking/jogging slowly) before commencing exercise, stretch, undertake your exercise and then warm-down by again walking/jogging slowly.

IMPORTANT

Before starting on a programme of physical activity, especially if you have previously done little or no exercise, it is strongly recommended that you:

  • Consult a Doctor or Healthcare professional to ensure that you are of adequate health to proceed with a programme of moderate to vigorous exercise.
  • Understand all advice and information supplied to you. If at all unsure about any aspect of the programme you must contact a certified fitness professional.

Note that this guide is provided as general advice and is no substitute for a specifically designed fitness programme put together by a fitness instructor. If you're in any doubt, you are strongly advised to seek advice from a gym, or consider joining a running club - there are lots of local clubs who are happy to provide help and advice as you build your fitness

So with that out of the way, let's get fitter!

A little on cardiovascular fitness

Cardiovascular exercise, or 'cardio' for short, is basically any form of movement that gets your heart rate up and increases the blood circulation throughout the body. There are various forms and methods of performing cardio, all of which have their own specific benefits, but the form included in this guide focuses on your endurance and ability to run for extended periods of time.

Regardless of which form of cardio you do though, there are a wide variety of health benefits you receive from a regular cardio programme such as improved heart health, increased metabolism and an improved hormonal balance (the 'feel good' hormones associated with exercise for example).

Please note that you should aim to run outdoors wherever possible. If you do have to use a running machine then please ensure that it has an incline of at least 5%.

Bodyweight Count

Circuit training is an excellent way to simultaneously build strength and stamina. You simply perform each exercise for a specified number of repetitions, rest for 30-60 seconds and then move on to your next exercise. Once you have completed your list of exercises you repeat it anywhere between 2-6 times.

The main focus for your workouts are bodyweight exercises. This allows you to build a good base to your strength before progressing to using weights at a later stage. Note: For some exercises it is suitable to use dumbbells to make them slightly harder.

Exercise 1: Burpees (Total-body exercise)
Exercise 2: Press-Ups (Upper-body exercise)
Exercise 3: Lunges (Lower-body exercise)
Exercise 4: Knees to Chest (Core/Abdominal exercise)
Exercise 5: Squats to Presses (Total-body exercise)
Exercise 6: Dips (Upper-body exercise)
Exercise 7: One-Leg Squats (Lower-body exercise)
Exercise 8: Plank Holds (Core/Abdominal Exercise) (1 Rep = 10 seconds hold)

Training programme overview

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat/Sun
1 Cardio Workout Cardio Workout Cardio Rest
2 Cardio Workout Cardio Workout Cardio Rest
3 Cardio Workout Cardio Workout Cardio Rest
4 Cardio Workout Cardio Workout Cardio Rest
5 Cardio Workout Cardio Workout Cardio Rest
6 Cardio Workout Cardio Workout Cardio Rest

Complete 6 week programme

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat/Sun
Week 1
  • Run for 3min
  • Walk for 2min
  • Repeat 3 times
  • 10 Repetitions each exercise
  • Rest 60 seconds between exercise
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Run for 3min
  • Walk for 2min
  • Repeat 3 times
  • 10 Repetitions each exercise
  • Rest 60 seconds between exercise
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Run for 3min
  • Walk for 2min
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Rest Day
Week 2
  • Run for 5min
  • Walk for 2min
  • Repeat 3 times
  • 12 Repetitions each exercise
  • Rest 60 seconds between exercise
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Run for 5min
  • Walk for 2min
  • Repeat 3 times
  • 12 Repetitions each exercise
  • Rest 60 seconds between exercise
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Run for 5min
  • Walk for 2min
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Rest Day
Week 3
  • Run for 7min
  • Walk for 2min
  • Repeat 3 times
  • 14 Repetitions each exercise
  • Rest 45 seconds between exercise
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Run for 7min
  • Walk for 2min
  • Repeat 3 times
  • 14 Repetitions each exercise
  • Rest 45 seconds between exercise
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Run for 7min
  • Walk for 2min
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Rest Day
Week 4
  • Run for 10min
  • Walk for 2min
  • Repeat 3 times
  • 16 Repetitions each exercise
  • Rest 45 seconds between exercise
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Run for 10min
  • Walk for 2min
  • Repeat 3 times
  • 16 Repetitions each exercise
  • Rest 45 seconds between exercise
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Run for 10min
  • Walk for 2min
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Rest Day
Week 5
  • Run for 15min
  • Walk for 3min
  • Run for 15min
  • 18 Repetitions each exercise
  • Rest 30 seconds between exercise
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Run for 15min
  • Walk for 3min
  • Run for 15min
  • 18 Repetitions each exercise
  • Rest 30 seconds between exercise
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Run for 15min
  • Walk for 3min
  • Run for 15min
  • Rest Day
Week 6
  • Run continuously for 30min
  • 20 Repetitions each exercise
  • Rest 30 seconds between exercise
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Run continuously for 30min
  • 20 Repetitions each exercise
  • Rest 30 seconds between exercise
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Run continuously for 30min
  • Rest Day