Physical fitness

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Deputydave
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Physical fitness

Post by Deputydave » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:47 pm

I'd like to touch on physical fitness for first responders. When I first started my career we were required to be able to do a minimum number of push up, sit ups, bench press, mile and a half run etc. That was just to be able to apply for the job. The academy contained an excellent amount of physical conditioning as well. The problem is people keeping it up after the academy was over.

Now here is my take; I'm coming up on my 21st year of duty. In that time I taught firearms, defensive tactics, physical conditioning and operations in the academy for law enforcement, corrections and E.O.T. for 9 years. As mentioned, the physical conditioning portion was excellent. I am a natural body builder/power lifter. I am also a martial arts instructor. I would take that experience and pour it into my recruits. I taught them how to do hand-stand push ups, dive-bomber push ups, hindu squats, power pyramids etc. I would also teach them sound weight lifting exercises like squats, pressing, dead lifting i.e. solid compound movements to increase muscle mass, decrease body fat and increase strength. By the time they graduated the academy they were people in excellent shape.

But as they say, you can lead an elephant to water but you can't push one in.

A lot of them stuck with some type of personal training program. Many unfortunately did not and let themselves go. People are people and some don't make the wisest of choices.

And a lot depends on their work ethic. I'll give you a couple of examples. One man that I taught in a Corrections academy was 50 years old. He was a cancer survivor. He gave me 110% in the academy and ran circles around some 20 year old 'kids' that were chain-smokers and couldn't do 10 push ups if you put a gun to their head....literally. He stayed in Corrections until (unfortunately) the cancer came back years later and claimed his life. The 20 year old 'kid' is long gone (fired)! As a second example, a man (who is now a good friend and co-worker) had suffered a shoulder injury as a roofer just prior to getting hired and sent to the academy. When everyone else in class was doing push ups, he was doing one-armed push ups to keep up with the class and be a part of the team! He could have chosen to stay out of the physical portion but instead he had the intestinal fortitude to not only give it his all but go above and beyond to prove his worth. Now that speaks volumes to me!

Personally, as I mentioned I alternate between a body building program and a power lifting program. My goal is to compete in a natural body building competition. I train hard because I'd like to live long and be healthy. I want to see my son grow up and see grand children. But there is another reason; in my career I've gone hands-on more than 200 times (I stopped counting after 200 uses-of-force) and I've been in four deadly-force incidents. I don't say this to represent myself as billy-badass. What I'm saying is that in my chosen career, I might have to fight for my life on any given day or defend someone. I might have to pick up a person and carry them to safety. I might have to run. I might have to jump up or down obstacles. I might be required to perform CPR for an extended period of time. I might have to drag someone out of a smoke filled environment wearing a Scott Air pack on my back. In other words, any given day might bring an out-of-the-ordinary physical challenge. I need to be in good shape and strong, not only for myself but for my fellow Deputy as well. And it sure would be nice if he/she was in shape for me as well.

I've seen female Deputies that were in excellent physical condition and able to handle themselves and situations. You don't have to be 6'6. But you do need to be in shape. I think personally that a FR should be able (as a minimum) to squat their own weight for reps, press at least half their weight for reps, bench their weight and dead lift their own weight. And these are minimums. Taking into account any injuries that occur of course. I know a female Deputy that is about 5'4 and maybe 120lbs. But she's in excellent shape. She can handle herself and because she works out she has strength beyond what you'd think a 5'4 120lbs female would have. I'm not saying she's a body builder or power lifter. A person can be strong without bulging muscles. And she is in excellent cardio shape as well.

Anyway, that is some of my thoughts....
You don't rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.

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Rentprop1
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Re: Physical fitness

Post by Rentprop1 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:00 pm

not really physical fitness, but my only issue with female officers is the length of their hair, if it's long enough to get a hold of and shake them silly then its too long, look at the lot of the other male officers, there is a reason it's short
In the days of the old west a 6 shooter was as common as cell phones are today and just annoying if they go off in a theater.

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situationalray
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Re: Physical fitness

Post by situationalray » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:06 pm

I could be completely wrong, but it seems that after the academy, all personal training stops? No more running or hitting the weight room as a squad or unit? I know people have families and other things to do on their days off, but maybe make set up a day or two after a day shift and go for a run before going home? Same thing as going to the firing range to brush up on your shooting skills, go out together as a unit and go for a run and then hit the pullup bar.

Do you guys have quarterly weigh ins and progress reports or anything like that? Maybe have a personal training test schedule every couple of months and if a LEO does bad he cannot pick up rank at that time, or something like that? I know its a different situation with different duties, but when I was in the military we stayed in the barracks and whenever we were not in the field or deployed, we would go on a pt run each morning bright and early or hit the gym.

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bonjorno2
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Re: Physical fitness

Post by bonjorno2 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:11 pm

we have to take a PT test at work every year, but it is far from hard for anyone in decent shape. The female officers we have tend to struggle more, but most of them make it with ease.
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Deputydave
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Re: Physical fitness

Post by Deputydave » Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:46 am

situationalray wrote:I could be completely wrong, but it seems that after the academy, all personal training stops? No more running or hitting the weight room as a squad or unit? I know people have families and other things to do on their days off, but maybe make set up a day or two after a day shift and go for a run before going home? Same thing as going to the firing range to brush up on your shooting skills, go out together as a unit and go for a run and then hit the pullup bar.

Do you guys have quarterly weigh ins and progress reports or anything like that? Maybe have a personal training test schedule every couple of months and if a LEO does bad he cannot pick up rank at that time, or something like that? I know its a different situation with different duties, but when I was in the military we stayed in the barracks and whenever we were not in the field or deployed, we would go on a pt run each morning bright and early or hit the gym.
After the academy it is generally up to the Deputy/Officer/Trooper to stay in shape. Depending on the agency, many opportunities or incentives are offered. For example, our agency as three fully functional gyms around the county for Deputies (as well as family, court staff etc) that include free weights, machines, tread mills etc. Doesn't cost anything except your time and effort. We have an annual P.A.T (physical abilities test) that somewhat simulates what you may have to do on duty i.e. run, over/under obstacles, pulling a 150 lbs dummy 100ft etc. It is timed and you'd have to be completely out of shape to fail. If you do it under a certain time you get a bonus of $100 and you really have to beat-feet to make that bonus time i.e. be in great shape.

Some teams such as SWAT and CRT train as a team doing runs, weight training etc.

To be completely forthright, in today's world with programs like Crossfit, P90X, Strong lifts etc gyms all over the place as well as the ability to get a great workout right in your own home you really have to go out of your way to be a fat slob. And this could apply to anyone, not just FR. I don't accept the excuse, 'I don't have time'. I home school my son M-F, care for a disabled spouse, shop, clean house and work full time and I still am able to train 5 days a weeks for an hour to an hour and a half. My secret....I don't sit in front of the idiot box! Hell....if people would just do something during the damn commercials you could get in a full workout during the evening.
You don't rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.

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Re: Physical fitness

Post by Toorop » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:20 am

I think it is important but I do believe that LEO work can take a serious toll on the body. I believe this is why it is hard for many to stay in shape as they get injured on the job.

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Re: Physical fitness

Post by Deputydave » Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:09 pm

Toorop wrote:I think it is important but I do believe that LEO work can take a serious toll on the body. I believe this is why it is hard for many to stay in shape as they get injured on the job.
LEO/Corrections can and does take a toll on the body, both physically and mentally. Stress is the number one in each category. Injury can also be a very real possibility. And then there are things beyond our control from a medical perspective. But being in shape can prevent or mitigate a plethora of ailments and/or injuries.

It all depends on if you take your duty seriously or if you're just collecting a paycheck.
You don't rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.

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