3 Training Tips to Enhance Fitness Preparation for the POPAT Test

Let’s be clear: there’s no way one can not prepare for the Police Officer Physical Ability Test—POPAT— and pass it. And given the highly demanding nature of the job, anyone wanting to protect and serve has to be ready for an excruciating assessment that has been designed to test candidates physically and mentally in a way that can end up being too taxing for some.

So let’s take a look at some training recommendations would-be officers can take into account before attempting the physical ability test. 

Tip 1: Prepare for the Specific Test You’re Facing

Two participants in an obstacle course climbing a wall

Even though the physical standard may be very similar, every police department in the country has its physical ability test. So the first thing you have to do is learn what exercises you’ll have to perform and start focusing your training on skills that’ll help you complete that specific test successfully. Most surely, you’ll be able to find the information on the department’s website, but if not, just give them a call or show up. Maybe they can even give you a rundown of the test and let you practice with them!

Most physical abilities tests involve some version of the following exercises:

  • A 1.5-mile run
    • Candidates must complete the run within a certain amount of time, so make sure to work on your stamina for this part of the test.
  • Obstacle course
    • The course may be set indoors or outdoors and include sprinting, jumping, carrying a 160-pound dummy (approximately), or going up a flight of stairs, among other things. This part of the test is timed and usually requires multiple laps to be completed.
  • Strength assessment
    • Everything from push-ups to bench-presses, you’ll have to show you can do many repetitions of many different exercises and still execute each one flawlessly in this part of the test.

Once you know what to expect, you can prepare for the test and improve your passing chances.

Tip 2: Focus and Keep At It

Male bodybuilder doing weightlifting exercise in the gym

The Police Officer Physical Ability Test may be all about being fit for duty, but it is also a huge mental challenge. Once you realize just how hard the test is, you may start asking yourself why you are even doing this in the first place. And that’s when you’ll have to remember your motivations and get back to training. 

Police officers face situations daily, from tranquil neighborhood patrols to chasing after a runaway vehicle or even facing active shooters. It’s only natural that the test for joining the force was such a challenge, as would-be officers must be aware that once they become law enforcement officers, they’ll have to manage complex situations all the time. So, for now, just focus and keep at it.

Tip 3: Don’t Overdo It

Photo of concentrated caucasian woman in sportswear resting while working out near city river

There’s no point in burning out right before you’re supposed to face the POPAT, so take it easy. If you’ve been consistently training and improving your skills and are confident you are ready, you should take a little break and give yourself some time to rest.

When the test is just a couple of days away, get good sleep and let your muscles recover. Continue to eat healthy foods and keep hydrated; your body will thank you later for this.

The Day of the Test

You’ve worked hard to get here, so now’s the time to show what you’ve got. Just remember to warm up and focus on your end goal. Once the test is over, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a police officer.
This article was brought to you by Kustom Signals, a leading provider of law enforcement, speed enforcement, and video solutions.

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