What does the Police Job Related Fitness Test comprise?
The Police Job Related Fitness Test comprises three components, each one testing a specific area of fitness. The component parts of the test are:
- Endurance Test (shuttle run)
- Dynamic Strength Test (push and pull)
- 15m Shuttle Run Test (Bleep Test)
The endurance section of the test is designed to establish how efficient the candidate's body is at taking in oxygen, transporting the oxygen and how efficient the body is at utilising the oxygen. This is established using a 15m shuttle run.
The 15 metre shuttle run is maximal and progressive, i.e. the test gets harder as it progresses, and you work to exhaustion. The test is run to and fro along a 15 metre course as and when indicated by the electronic bleep. You will start at one end of the gymnasium and you will run to the end line of the course. You should arrive at the other end of the course when the bleep sounds, turn 180 degrees and run back to the other end of the gym, again in time with the bleep. If you arrive at the line before the bleep has sounded you should stop, turn and wait for the bleep to sound before you start running. You should then adjust your running speed to ensure you reach the line when the bleep sounds.
If you fail to contact the line when the bleep sounds you will be given a first warning. If you fail to contact the next consecutive line on the bleep, you will be given a second warning. If you fail to contact the third consecutive line on the bleep your test will end.
However, if after the first or second warning you contact the next line on the bleep, your warnings are cancelled and you continue with your test. The warnings are there to let you know that you have fallen off the pace, and that if you wish to continue, you must increase your running speed.
You are not allowed to run around the line in a circle, if you do, you will be warned. If you continue to run in circles you will be called out of the test. You are not allowed to leave either end before the bleep has sounded. If you do so you will be warned. If you continue to leave early you will be called out of the test.
You are required to reach level 5 shuttle 4 to pass the endurance test. If you fail to reach level 5 shuttle 4 you would have failed the test as a whole.
Dynamic Strength Test (Push and Pull)
Dynamic strength refers to the ability to apply force repeatedly over a period of time. The most common police duty that would require dynamic strength is the arrest and restraint of struggling or fighting individuals. This would involve a degree of pushing, pulling and grappling and would therefore require dynamic strength in the muscles of the upper body. Possessing high levels of dynamic strength will also lessen the chance of injury to the muscular skeletal system.
The dynamic strength test involves performing five seated chest press and five seated pulls, on a machine called a Concept II Dyno. The sum of the five will be recorded.
Dynamic test for pushing
You must sit upright with your back firmly pushed against the padding. Your feet must be flat on the floor with your knees at approximately 90 degrees. A firm grip of the push bar should be taken, with your hands level with the middle of your sternum.
- Before each effort the slider position is set that the push bar is in contact with your chest.
- The three warm-up efforts must be performed first at approximately 80% maximum effort.
- Each warm-up and subsequent efforts are performed to full arm extension.
- Following the three warm-up reps you are required to perform FIVE MAXIMUM efforts with three seconds recovery between the efforts.
- The average force produced during each effort is displayed on the monitor.
- The average value of the five efforts is displayed at the end of the set.
- You must achieve a minimum of 34kg on the dynamic push test.
Dynamic Test for Pulling
- You must sit upright with your chest firmly pushed against the padding. Your feet must be flat on the floor with your knees set at approximately 90 degrees. A firm grip of the pull handles should be taken, with your hands level with the middle of your sternum.
- Before each effort the slider is set that the arms are fully extended.
- Three warm-up efforts must be performed first at approximately 80% of maximum effort.
- During each warm-up and subsequent effort you must pull with your hands until they touch your chest.
- Following the three warm-ups efforts you are required to perform FIVE MAXIMUM efforts with three seconds recovery between effort.
- The average force produced during each effort is displayed on the monitor.
- The average value of the five efforts is displayed at the end of the set.
- You must achieve a minimum of 35kg on the pull test.
- What training can you do to improve your fitness test score?
The following information will provide you with guidance regarding improving your performance on the Police Job Related Fitness Test. It is important that you read the whole document. Endurance Fitness
There are many different activities that you can participate in to improve your level of endurance fitness and these can be categorised into sporting activities and rhythmical type exercises.
Playing sports regularly such as football, hockey, squash and rugby can be an enjoyable way of improving and maintaining your level of endurance fitness. Any sport that causes you to get out of breath and last 30 minutes or more will be of benefit. Many sports fit this category; choose one that will fit into your lifestyle and that you enjoy. You are then more likely to continue playing. The extent and rate of improvement in endurance fitness from participation in sport will be dependent upon your initial level of fitness and on how hard you play.
The most rapid improvements in endurance fitness will be made if you engage in activities that use large muscle groups and thereby create a large aerobic demand. Examples of such activities include running, cycling, swimming and rowing. There are three training methods that you can use to improve your level of endurance fitness using rhythmical exercise; these are continuous, and interval training.
The following refer to running however they can just as easily be substituted by any other form of rhythmical exercise. However, remember that specificity of training is extremely important. If the bleep test was about cycling, then you would need to include cycling as part of your training. The bleep test is about your ability to run. It tests your body's ability to take in oxygen, transport that oxygen and then extract it to produce energy. The fitter you are, the more oxygen you will be able to extract, therefore you will be able to run for longer. So running must form the basis of your training.
Involves exercising either continuously for a set time (20 minutes or more) and recording the distances covered, or exercising for a set distance and recording the time taken. For example, with running, the most popular of the two is to run a set distance, (at least 3 miles) usually that starts and finishes at home, and try to reduce the time taken to cover it.
Heart rate is a good indicator for controlling the intensity at which you exercise continuously. A suggested level is between 130 and 160 beats per minute. You will find that at this intensity you will be able to sustain a conversation with a partner.
Heart rate can be measured simply by taking the pulse. To do this place two fingers on the underside of your wrist in line with the bases of your thumb and count the number of beats in fifteen seconds. Multiply this figure by four to give an estimate of your heart rate per minute.
Interval training involves running for a set time or distance, a specified number of times with periods of hard or maximum efforts, interspersed with recovery periods. It is extremely important that you include interval training into your endurance training. It simulates what happens to your body in the endurance test. This is a typical example of an interval training session. 1. Run for 5 minutes at 65-70% maximum heart rate. 2. Run for 5 minutes at 75% maximum heart rate. 3. Sprint as fast as you can for 2 minutes. 4. Recover for 2 minutes by jogging. Do not allow your heart rate to drop below 65% maximum heart rate. 5. Repeat 5 repetitions of sprinting and 5 lots of recovery. 6. Run for 10 minutes at 75% maximum heart rate. 7. Jog for 2 minutes at < 65% maximum heart rate. 8. Stretch to cool down (ten minutes)
Interval training can also take place over a specified distance, ie. Sprint 400 - 800 metres followed by recovery of the equal distance.
Frequency of endurance training
To develop and maintain endurance, try to do one or a combination of these activities three times a week with each continuous session lasting 20-40 minutes.
For those individuals who have not exercised regularly in the past, it is advisable to start with gentle continuous exercise sessions lasting 15 minutes and then build up to 20 minutes or more over a couple of months. Interval training can then be performed once you have developed a good endurance base. You should perform at least two interval sessions per week.
The best way to improve your dynamic strength in the muscles of the upper body, is to perform resistance exercises. These can be achieved by using body weight, free-weights or resistance machines. Two body weight exercises that would work the muscles responsible for pressing and pulling, would be a press-up and a reverse pull up.
Place your hands shoulder width apart, and ensure arms are vertical. Your head must be fixed with your eyes looking directly down at the floor. A straight body position must be maintained throughout the action, making sure that you go all the way down to touch the sternum (chest bone) on the floor and then fully extending the arms on recovery.
Try to breathe in as you push yourself up and breathe out as you lower yourself down. Do as many press-ups as you can until you can not perform another one. Rest for two minutes and repeat the process until failure.
Do 3-5 sets of as many repetitions as you can. Record the number of repetitions that you have completed and try to better your score each time. However, you must make sure that you have the same amount of rest period between sets.
A less strenuous alternative is the kneeling press-up.
If you find it difficult to perform a succession of press-ups due to insufficient body strength then begin with practicing kneeling press-ups. Adopt a front support position with the arms shoulder width apart. Kneel with the knees immediately below the hips and feet on the floor. Bend the arms to lower the chest to the floor and return to the front support position.
Once you have developed sufficient strength to be able to do 10 or more of these then move on to extended kneeling press-ups. Again adopt the front support position with the arms positioned in front of the shoulder.
Kneel with the knees positioned back from the hips, the feet raised and the lower legs crossed. Performing extended knee press-ups on a regular basis will develop your strength enough to be able to perform a full press-up with the feet on the floor.
You will require a bar securely fixed approximately three feet from the floor. The body position resembles an inverted press-up. With your palms facing your body, take a firm grip of the bar. Extend your arms, and keeping your body straight, pull yourself towards the bar until your chest touches. Slowly return to the start position and repeat the procedure. Try to breathe out as you pull yourself up and breathe out as you lower yourself down.
Perform 3 to 5 sets of as many repetitions as you can of each exercise with a 2 minute recovery period separating each set. Record the total amount of repetitions that you perform and try to better this in your next session. However, you must make sure that you have the same recovery between each set. Strength Training
Improved strength in the arms, shoulders, chest and back muscles is required to pass the dynamic strength test. Improved strength would also be of benefit in the grip test.
To improve strength, the muscles must be made to work against resistance that is not normally encountered i.e. they must be overloaded. Adaptations then take place, which result in improvements in strength. As such improvements are made it will be necessary to progressively increase the weight so as to maintain the muscle overload. This is known as progressive resistance.
The following weight training exercises are very good for the development of overall strength:- shoulder press, bench press, lat pull downs, seated row and squats. The most relevant weight training exercises to develop strength specifically for the Concept II Dyno, are the bench press and the seated row.
The following progressive resistance training method is ideal for strength training and can be used with any weight training exercise that you perform:
Begin by establishing your 6 rep maximum (6-RM.) which is the resistance with which you can just about perform 6 repetitions. Then perform 2 to 3 sets of 6 repetitions. When you are able to perform 6 repetitions on the final set it no longer represents the 6-RM and a heavier load must be used.
Try to exercise your abdominal muscles and lower back at the end of every resistance training session.
This training programme should ideally be implemented three times per week, with a full days rest between sessions. Warming Up and Cooling Down:
Before any form of exercise it is important to warm the body up to prepare it for the exercise that will follow. Warming up before exercise will not only prepare the body for physical work but will also decrease the risk of injury by increasing muscle temperature, increasing blood flow and stretching muscles and tendons. The activities performed during warm up should be relatively slow and rhythmical such as light jogging or cycling.
Warm up guidelines
Adopt whole body warm ups which raise body temperature and increase heart rates - slow running is a good example of this kind of activity.
Carefully stretch all the major muscles paying particular attention to those muscles, which will be used during the activity.
Avoid a time lag between warming up and performing the activity.
Ensure the warm ups last approximately 10 minutes and do not lead to any feelings of fatigue.
Cooling down guidelines
Cooling down after exercise will help you to recover and prevent muscle soreness by removing waste products from the system. Your cool down should consist of light exercise which gradually decreases in intensity, combined with some gentle stretches particularly of the muscles that have just been worked. The cool down should last for at least 10 minutes; it is advisable to put extra clothing on as you cool down. Recovery from Exercise
Along with the physical exercise that you perform adequate recovery time and proper nutrition are two very important factors that contribute to overall physical performance and health.
Following training, the body needs time to recover and make certain adaptations. As a result of these adaptations improvements will be made. Not allowing sufficient recovery time could mean that you do not get the full benefit of the training you have undertaken.
Ensure that you have 24 hours recovery following any form of strength training. If you have not engaged in strength training before, or you have not trained for a while, then initially extend this recovery period to 2 days. Following speed training ensure that you have at least 24- 36 hours recovery depending upon your initial level of fitness.
Expect some muscle soreness following strength and speed training. This can be minimised by cooling down and stretching following exercise. Nutrition
Nutrition refers to everything that we eat and drink. Good nutrition will speed the recovery process after exercise, and will enable training adaptations to be maximised.
Energy is taken from our food intake to enable the body to perform most of its functions, including exercise. Fat, protein and carbohydrate are the three sources, and are required in different amounts. Ideally around 60% of our energy intake would come from carbohydrates, 15% from protein and 25% from fat.
This will ensure that energy levels are high enough to support your training requirements, and provided that your total energy intake matches your expenditure, a healthy body weight and physique will be maintained.
Carbohydrate (Energy = 4 calories per gramme)
There are two main types of carbohydrates; these are simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. The bulk of your intake should come from complex sources, which include wholegrain pasta, bread, rice, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Simple or refined carbohydrates include sugar, confectionery and preserves, and should be eaten less often.
Protein (Energy 4 calories per gramme)
Small quantities of protein are essential. Good sources include meat, milk, poultry, fish, dairy products and pulses. Fat (Energy = 9 calories per gramme)
Dietary fat contains the highest number of calories per gramme, and has often been left out of meals completely to aid weight loss. However, a small amount of fat is essential. The best sources are classified as mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and are found in vegetable fats and oils. Try to limit your intake of saturated fats, which are found in meat, dairy products, and many of the sauces and creams that we add to our meals. Vitamins, minerals and fibre
Vitamins and minerals are needed by the body in tiny amounts for normal bodily functions. They are found in a wide variety of foods so it is important to consume a varied diet in order to ensure an adequate supply. Fibre is the non-digestible carbohydrate found in foods such as vegetables, whole grain cereals and wholemeal bread. The body does not absorb it, but it is an important part of the diet.General Try to ensure that your energy intake matches your expenditure. Weigh yourself once a week in order to monitor your body weight, ensuring that any weight loss is no greater than 1 or 2 lbs per week.
Spread your energy intake over at least 3-4 meals per day, and try not to go longer than 4 hours without food. Try to eat a high carbohydrate meal as soon as possible after training, and make sure that your water intake is sufficient (ideally 1.5 - 2.0 litres per day when training).
Safety Considerations for Exercise
It is advisable to gain medical approval before you commence any exercise programme. The benefits of exercise should far outweigh the risks but if you have any concerns about your health either before or during your programme then consult your GP. - Suitable clothing and footwear must be worn whenever training. - Avoid exercising if you have a cold or an infection. - Exercise should be brisk but do not overdo it. Exercise at a comfortable level for longer rather than intensely for a shorter duration.
The only thing that will enable you to improve your fitness levels is hard work. Take the advice outlined above, put in some consistent hard work and you will pass the Job Related Fitness Test!!