What SWAT fitness experts are discovering is that some of this wear and tear and incapacitation can be avoided with "smart" training instead of "hard" training. Smart training is real-world oriented and job applicable. It's not just training for the sake of training.
One of the things that never fails to amaze me is how often some precious belief I have turns out to just be a myth. Well, myth is a tough word because some of the meanings of "myth" are important, like: A legend or story that explains or demonstrates a virtue or message.
The plan here is to introduce a Monday-Wednesday-Friday exercise regimen that is unique, fast (sub-30 minutes each), and cheap. Do as you read here for six weeks and you'll be nothing less than shocked at the level of strength and conditioning you attain with so little time invested in each workout.
When you're a young officer, moderation seems likely to leave you missing more than a few good times. I think back to the "choir practices" I participated in as a young Tucson cop only to awaken in the afternoon looking for the train that hit me.
You can develop a great deal of strength in the weight room, but traditional barbell lifts won't help you to perform a real-life tasks on the job like sandbag lifts and rope pulls will. I recommend adding odd object lifting to your exercise regimen to increase functional strength and add variety to your program. Read our feature, "Odd Object Training," for the full story.
With odd object training, non-traditional forms of resistance such as sandbags, ropes, water, rocks, and tires allow you to trade in "weight room" strength for functional strength.
The benefits of foot beats are many and this type of patrol should be a fundamental aspect in any community policing model. But after being directed to an assigned area or neighborhood to walk, an officer and his or her department should have sound strategies in place for how best to accomplish this mission in a safe and productive manner.
As officers we ignore stress and drive on as if it were part of a crusade. Whether we choose to accept it or not, it's our responsibility as individuals to handle it. Most of us sleep very little, eat like crap, and continuously ride an emotionally and adrenaline-filled roller coaster.
What the heck happened to us? Cro-Magnons were big, athletic, and healthy until they died (mostly young), and had bigger brains than we do.