Correctional Officer Physical Fitness Test
Corrections Officer Physical Fitness Test Standards
One common question I get from potential correctional officer recruits is, “What is the fastest way to lose weight and get into shape for my physical fitness test?” Here’s one such applicant that emailed me a while back:
” Hello, Officer Forestal, I am trying to qualify for a correctional officer position and one of the requirements is to pass a run test, as well as other fitness categories. I am 30 years old, 5’7”, and about 210 LBS. I only had a four weeks’ notice for this test and I tried running every other day.
During the test I was totally out of breath after only a couple minutes. I felt like I was sick with a cold—I had a runny nose and I was coughing as if I had bronchitis. I have high hopes of being able to pass this test in the future, and I need some guidance.
Response to this applicant:
This is not an uncommon problem for prospects on a short notice, especially for applicants over 25 who have had been living more of a sedentary lifestyle. Ideally, you’ll want to start training at least 2-3 months in advance, but decent improvements can be made in four weeks. Getting fit is difficult. It takes desire, strength, and willpower to achieve. If you want this job badly enough, you will qualify.
There is no question that your weight is a very big part of your problem. If you don’t believe me, put on a backpack filled with 20 pounds of rocks and try to run a few blocks.
To slim down and speed up, you can follow my law enforcement specific workout program, go to a gym for supervised resistance training, and train with more of a structured plan as outlined in the Fit For Duty Workout Program.
Your feeling of being out of breath indicates that you need to build up your cardiovascular strength. To do so and be able to handle a disciplined pace (not just an easy run) requires you use a more specific speed work. The heart is a muscle and you need to strengthen that muscle. For example, if you’re trying to build up your biceps, you do dumbbell curls. When you draw the weight up, the stress builds muscle and the release is recovery. In running, the heart is stressed when you run faster rather than slower. This stress elevates your pulse and you build cardiovascular strength.
Try to run five days per week as follows:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Jog for 5 minutes, walk for 2 minutes. Repeat for 45 minutes total.
Tuesday, Thursday: Run 0.25 miles in 2 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat for 30 minutes total.
In addition to being the toughest jails/prisons/detention facilities in America, below are the top cities sorted by rank that I believe have arguably the toughest fitness standards for corrections officers. You can click on your state or city if it’s listed to download a workout routine:
About The Author
Officer Forestal has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, 8 years law enforcement experience and is a graduate of the 2002 Police Corps, where he was recognized as an expert shooter. Former Collegiate all-American, certifield personal trainer and author of several fitness and police related books such as the Police Oral Interview Secrets, and Police Exam For Dummies. As a Law Enforcement enthusiast, E.L. has helped hundreds of candidates "ACE" their respective entrance exam and the oral board interview. Learn More...