How to Prepare for the Police Academy

Dec 14, 2020
police academy training

Let's get this straight from the start. Every police academy is different. The standards one agency has may be completely different than the standards of another agency of an agency city or town.


The first step in preparing for the Academy is to reach out to the agency you are interested in joining and learning from them first hand what to expect.


Find an officer that is fresh out of the academy and ask them all the questions you have.


Common questions to ask include:

  • What is the typical day look like in the Academy? What about a week?
  • What does the PT look like?
  • How many days were you running?
  • Did you do any strength training?
  • Did you get any breaks throughout the day?
  • What does education look like?
  • How much time did you spend time outside the Academy preparing or studying?
  • Is there anything that you wish you knew before starting the Academy?
  • Is there any advice you can give me before I start?


It is best to do research about the requirements of the Academy well before the Academy starts.


We recommend starting your training for the Academy at least 12 weeks out, but the further out, the better.




The more information you know about the Academy, the better you will be able to structure your fitness training leading up to the start.


Almost all Academies will have a PT test standard. Many require the recruits to pass the PT test before the Academy starts, while some require the recruits must pass the test at the end of the Academy.


Again, research and ask the agency beforehand.


The most common testing standards include:

  • Max push-ups in 60 seconds
  • Max sit-ups in 60 seconds
  • 1.5-2 mile run or the Beep Test


Passing standards are different based on the agency and many agencies may have different tests in their standard.


The Cooper Institute recommends that recruits complete:

  • 1.5 mile in 14:40 - 15:54 minutes
  • Push-ups 25-34 reps in 60 seconds
  • Sit-ups 30-38 reps in 60 seconds


Females are often required to hit 40-50th percentile for the men in push-ups of their specific age group.


These standards are not hard to achieve. They are meant to be the bare minimum.  We recommend that you train well above the standard.  If you are not there yet, no worries, it's time to start now! 


Your training program should not just prepare you for the Academy PT test. It should prepare you for the Academy itself. Training to max your push ups, sit ups, and 1.5 mile run is very different than training to do well in the Academy,


Often the academy involves running and doing calisthenics on multiple days in a row. If you are trying to train for the test, you may only need to train 2-3 days a week. That approach would set you up for failure when you entered into the Academy. 


We recommend that you start training 3x a week and slow build-up to training 5x a week over a 12 week period.




Start with basic calesthnics, running, and core work. Over the 12 week period incorporate more strength training to prepare your body for the police academy.


A sample workout might look like this:


Strength work:

Barbell Rows 3 sets of 10

Walking Lunges 3 sets of 20 steps

Rotator Cuff Strengthening 3 sets of 15 reps

Bodyweight circuit:

As many rounds in 10 minutes of:

5 Push ups

10 Sit Ups

15 Air Squats

Rest 5-10 minutes


2 sets of 400-800m runs with 2-5 minutes between runs


Some days you should just run and take a break from strength work and some days you should lift weights and just take a break from running.


There is no right or wrong way to train. Just make sure that your training will look like the training you will be doing day to day in the Academy.

Outside of physical training, mindset is key for the Academy. Here is a quick list of tips to set your mindset to be best prepared for the academy.

  • Tip number 1... be a team player. You will not get through the Academy alone. You will need to support and be supported by the other recruits.
  • Relinquish control... you are not in control in the Academy. You will need to follow orders and take commands. Do what you are told if you like it or not. Know that this is temporary.
  • Adapt to your environment. There will be situations that will challenge you and you may not want to be in. Adapt and overcome. Know that all these situations will only make you stronger.
  • Remember your why. The reason why you joined the Academy should push you throughout the process. If you joined because you think its "cool", you are going to be challenged when things get hard. Dig deep and really come up with your reason "why". Write it out and remember it when things get hard.
  • Know that thousands of other recruits have been in your shoes. When you think it is impossible, know that it has been accomplished. Follow the steps and you will become an officer.


 If we can help you beyond what it is in this article, please reach out to us at [email protected]