Ask Stew: Tactical Fitness Training for Special Response Teams

Photo courtesy of Wichita Police Department

Special Ops selection programs are highly rigorous and require a great deal of advance preparation. Here is an email from a police officer seeking to transfer into a SWAT / Special Response Team program within his city.

Stew, I am a police officer in Michigan and am training to be part of our special response team. I am using your YouTube videos as guidance, but am inquiring if you have the time to further prescribe a training and nutrition/supplementation program to get ready for the physical test. The test is similar to the Marine Corps Pct, although ours requires us to complete in succession a 3 mile run 18-21min, 60-80 sit ups, 50-70 push up and then 10-20 pull ups. The sit ups, push ups, and pull ups are not timed it is how many can be done consecutively without stopping then on to the next. If you have the time or any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you, Brad

Brad - that sounds like a challenging test, but very common in the tactical fitness world. With tactical fitness in preparation for special ops programs, you have two things you are looking at doing getting TO and THROUGH your training.

Tactical Fitness Preparation

To get TO the training, you have to ace this fitness test and it is smart that you start focusing on the specifics of that test. Here is a classic sample week of PT programming from the intermediate to get to the advanced level of scoring. However, training like the test protocols is something to

consider. Personally, workouts like the PT Pyramid , PT Super Sets, and Max Rep Set Workouts are ideal for you to build up the muscle stamina required to do back to back to back non-stop / no rest exercises. Plus running before, during and after these workouts will help you prepare for the 3 mile running distances by learning the goal pace of 6-7 minute miles to get that goal of 18-21 minutes for a 3 mile timed run.

PFT Bible - This is one of the most popular fitness tests around the world. Just about every type of profession in the military, police, and fire category use this fitness test. Practicing these events is critical to your success to getting the job and sometimes maintaining your fitness to keep your job. However, your level of standards are highly than normal. The 3 mile run and the higher repetitions required on pushups, situps, and pullups in a non-stop fashion requires a good 8-10 weeks of solid specific training.

This PFT Bible is a specific program that focuses on Pushups, Situps, Pullups and the 1.5 mile run - since you have a 3 mile run, you may want to start off with the 1.5 mile run at goal pace (9-10 minutes) and increase the distances weekly so you can easily get 3 miles fast. This program helps with functional strength of the abs, lower back, hips, upper body and running. The mix of weights, load bearing exercises will also help you prepare for the training AFTER the test where you will likely be doing training events wearing body armor. So once you ace the fitness test of the program, add a weight vest to much of the exercises and cardio events to prepare for the training after the test.

Nutrition Advice

What you eat (and drink) is the one factor affecting all of us multiple times per day and therefore has the greatest impact on a person’s overall physical performance and overall health. Nutrition being the number one approach to your performance. For instance, do not eat enough and you will last about 30 minutes before low blood sugar levels start to catch up to you. Do not drink enough water and dehydration or heat casualties start to occur.

For the tactical athlete testing or going through a selection program, this fact does not change.

The level of physical preparedness literally translates into life and death in these professions. This fact makes the tactical athlete a combination of strength and endurance athlete. Long hours of high stress from limited sleep and massive physical demands provide very unique nutritional demands. See links for below for more options to eating, drinking, and supplements.

Related Nutrition / Supplement Articles:

Nutrition and Supplements

Tactical Fitness Testing Nutrition

Before, During, After Testing and Training Nutrition

 

 

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