Top 5 Exercises For Police Officers

Aug 05, 2019


Police Officers and First Responders have duties that the rest of the population does not have. We have to be ready at any moment to run, jump, carry, climb, lift, etc. The job requires us to be quick on your feet and be ready for ANYTHING. When emergencies happen, we have no choice but to be ready. 


Now the question is.... Do you feel prepared?


What we have found is that in the time of emergency, we don't have time to think about HOW we will pick up objects up. We don't have time to think about HOW we will get the task done OR if we will be able to complete the task safely. We just REACT.


We are no good to the situation if we are not fit and capable to do our job. 

When the time comes, we need to be READY to do the job EFFECTIVELY. 


What if I told you, that it is possible to train in the gym to be prepared for these situations? If you can train these movement patterns so many times, your body will KNOW what to do when the time comes. Instead of training muscle groups, train movement patterns that will allow you to be more effective in everyday life.



This article will cover our top 5 exercises for LEO and first responders. 


1. Agility/Sprints

As LEO and first responders, we need to be able to move on our feet. We need to be QUICK and able to change directions fast.


We don't need to be JUST able to move fast once, but we need to be able to move fast repeatedly.


Would you be effective in an emergency situation if you gassed out after a few sprints? Imagine if you were sprinting in a crowded environment to move injured people from a dangerous environment to a safe environment. After a few minutes, you become fatigued and unable to continue your objective.  There could be multiple people who need YOU, and you wouldn't be able to help because you weren't prepared.


Don't be that officer who isn't ready!


Here are some of our favorite agility/sprint drills.

100-400m Runs

- Repeat 4-8 runs at 70-80%

- Note to be careful with top-end speeds, if you are not used to running you have an increased chance for pulling a hamstring when returning to running full speed (hence the 70-80%)


4 Cone Box Drill

- 4-6 repeats starting on opposite sides each time


Lateral Shuffle 2 Step

- 4-5 sets of max touches in 20 seconds

- Stay low to the ground


Shuttles with Different Start Positions

- Start on one cone, run 10-20 yards, touch the cone, sprint back

- These should be progressed from running down and back to running down and back 2-3 times

- 6-8 shuttle sprint sets

- Change your start position every set of sprints. Set 1 you can start on your back, get up and run. Set 2 you can start on your belly. Set 3 you can start with your back to the cones. Set 4-6 you can line up facing the sides. 

- You want to be able to change directions and pick up speed quickly from different positions. You will not be in a sprinters stance in an emergency situation. We want to be prepared for anything!


These are just a few of the way we can improve your agility and sprinting speed. In our Effective Fitness program, we often include short sprints in the middle of a workout. Do some push-ups or squats, then run 200m holding a weight, then onto the next movement. 


The key is making this a priority in your training! 


Click Here for 8 Free Sample Workouts


2. Push-Ups/Burpees

We need to be able to get up off the ground quickly! We need a strong upper body to support the demands of our jobs. Push-ups are a GREAT way to improve our functional strength. When in the Academy many of us were great at push-ups but when we finished the Academy we stopped doing them as often. Let's change that!


There are plenty of ways to program push-ups into your exercise routine. We can do max sets (3 sets of max reps). We can do EMOMs (every minute on the minute do 5-10 push-ups and continue until you cannot complete the prescribed number of reps). We can do weighted push-ups with a vest/gear on. 


If we can't do full push-ups we can work our way down from an incline to the ground over time. The video below shows a way to progress to getting a full push up using a squat rack. The same can be done with boxes or anything that can support your full weight.


Burpees are another GREAT option to train this horizontal pressing movement while incorporating the lower body. If you have no equipment, you can get an amazing workout just by doing burpees. Ever tried 10 minutes of burpees or 100 burpees for time? If not, you should.. 


Our favorite way to program push-ups and burpees, is how we listed them above in the agility section. Let's include them when you are tired. Complete one task, then do push ups/burpees, then move onto the next exercise, then we will come back to them. 


4 Rounds

Run 400m

15 Burpees

25 Walking Lunges

20 KB/DB Swings

Rest 30 seconds and start next round


Click Here for 8 Free Sample Workouts


3. Deadlifts

Our job often requires us to lift heavy things from the ground. We need to be able to have a strong hinge pattern so we can resort to using the right technique when an emergency comes. We don't have time to think about how to pick something up from the ground safely. We need to REACT quickly. If we train this pattern weekly in the gym, when the time comes to use it in the field, we are prepared.


Do not skip deadlifts because you are scared of hurting your back. You need to learn how to do them! There are plenty of trainers who can teach you how to do it safely. There are THOUSANDS of videos on YouTube covering how to perform them safely. 


There are many types of deadlifts. The ones you familiar with are probably conventional deadlifts and trap bar deadlifts. These are both great! But trap bar deadlifts should never replace deadlifts with a barbell or an object in front of you. 


Do at least 1 day of barbell deadlifts a week before you add in trap bar deadlifts.


Deadlifts are best done at 5 reps or less with heavier load to maintain proper positioning. Typically after 5 reps you will have a greater likelyhood at rounding the back. We want to maintain that flat back the entire pull. 


3 sets of 5 reps with heavy load while maintaining flat back.


Click Here for 8 Free Sample Workouts


4. Pull-Ups

We should all be able to do pull-ups! We should be able to lift our own weight. Some of us need to be prepared to climb. If we have the ability to do multiple pull-ups our climbing skills will be much better! 


A minimum number of pull-ups you should be able to perform is 5. 


Not only does the pulling make your job easier, it is also great for your shoulder health. Many of us sit in a car all day with our shoulders protracted forward gripping the steering wheel. We want our pulling strength and training volume to be HIGHER than our pushing strength. Instead of doing more bench press, let's do more pull-ups and rows to improve that shoulder health! 


Being out of shape makes this WAY harder. You have to pull the extra weight. Often by just shedding a few pounds, these become easier.


Click Here for 8 Free Sample Workouts


5. Weighted Carries

We need to be able to carry things to be EFFECTIVE. This is a basic human movement pattern that separates us from other animals! Whether we are an officer and we need to carry someone to safety, or we are a parent and need to carry our child, we need to be prepared to carry.


Carring heavy stuff is our favorite way to develop work capacity and improve functional muscular strength. Pick up this heavy object and carry it 50-100ft. Then do it a few more times! This is one of the oldest and simplest ways to improve your strength. You don't need any fancy equipment. You can use rocks, tree logs, sandbags, DBs/KBs, etc.


There is no better way to strengthen the trunk/core than carrying something while maintaining an upright trunk. That weight will try to pull you forward or to the side. Stand up tall and WALK.


Our favorite carrying exercises are the following:

Farmer's Carries

Carry heavy weights in both hands for 50-100ft. Then rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat 6-8 times. These too can be thrown into a metcon style workout to really challenge your grip and engine. 


Suitcase Carries

These are farmer's carries that are done with just one hand. Same protocol as above but switch sides after 50-100ft.


Bear Hug Carries

These are carries that are done with a heavy load while hugging a medball, slamball, or sandbag to your chest while carrying it for 20-30 seconds for 6-8 sets.


Overhead Carries

These are great to develop shoulder stability and endurance. It can be done with a barbell or DB/KB. These can be done unilaterally (one arm carrying only) or bilateral (weight in both hands). Complete 4-6 sets of 20-30 seconds. 


These are just a few of the exercises that we include in our Effective Fitness Program. Your time in the gym should make you more EFFECTIVE at your job. We should be training to be resilient so when the time comes, we are PREPARED!


Thanks for reading!

Want Free Sample Workouts?

Fill out your information below to be emailed 8 sample workouts.

Discover what your workout routine as a police officer should look like.


Fill Out Your Information Below To Recieve 8 Sample Workouts