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Posted: Apr 12, 2020

Recruit Fitness Standards From a Large Law Enforcement Agency: Between-Class Comparisons, Percentile Rankings, and Implications for Physical Training


Between-class comparisons, percentile rankings, and implications for physical training. J Strength Cond Res 34(4): 934–941, 2020—Law enforcement can be a physically demanding profession. Many agencies use a “one-size-fits-all” academy training approach, which may not be optimal for all recruits. There is also little information that benchmarks fitness of law enforcement recruits. The purpose of this study was to analyze between-academy class differences in fitness, as well as produce normative data for the development of strength and conditioning programs. A retrospective analysis of 908 recruits (761 men and 147 women), comprising 11 classes from one agency, was used. Fitness assessment data included push-ups, sit-ups, and mountain climbers in 120 seconds; pull-ups; 201-m run; and 2.4-km run. A one-way analysis of variance with a Bonferroni post hoc adjustment revealed that fitness varied significantly between classes. Class 11 completed less sit-ups than 6 other classes (p ≤ 0.033) and were slower in the 201-m and 2.4-km run than 5 classes (p ≤ 0.005). Class 7 completed less push-ups than 3 classes (p ≤ 0.036) and less mountain climbers and were slower in the 201-m run than 5 classes (p ≤ 0.005). Individual recruit analysis and percentile data indicated a wide spread of all assessment results and the effects upon female recruits. For example, 81% of women completed ≤2 pull-ups and were in the bottom 2 percentile bands; 72–76% of women were in the bottom 3 bands for push-ups and the 201-m run. Fitness varies from class-to-class, and female recruits will generally be less physically fit. Training staff should ideally implement individualized, ability-based programming where appropriate to train their recruits.