It is often assumed that the ‘Push’ station of the Police Physical Abilities Tests (PATs) are a measure of upper body strength or endurance. While upper-body pressing power is a major factor, the ‘Push’ requires whole body involvement. If you only train for pressing, you still won’t get anywhere if you fail to transfer force from your core...
If you take your training seriously you need to understand the SAID principle: Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. This means that how you train has a direct impact on your results. You get out what you put in. The stimulus you provide creates the adaptation. It isn't just limited to the gym though. The SAID principle applies to all aspects of your physical life, including what you do in the remaining 23hrs of the day spent outside the gym.
Let's talk about what it is, how it affects your training and how you can take advantage of it to maximize your performance.
Warning: this is the most boring article you will read this week.
Straight up. I am going to talk about some super simple, straightforward NON-ground breaking stuff... It isn't the most exciting. BUT.... if you take what you read to heart and actually USE IT you can significantly decrease your chance of injury or even address some of the injuries you may already have.
I have already written about WHY so many cops get back pain and how they should train to maximize their performance. I highly recommend checking those article out.
The focus of this article is teaching 'Spine Sparing' strategies. These strategies will help you learn to use your shoulders and hip properly, instead of your back...
Simple. Not easy.
Strength and Conditioning isn't rocket science, though some of the programs I see suggest otherwise.
The best way for an officer to avoid injury is to have a simple, well rounded and consistent program. No fancy gimmicks or equipment, just solid fundamentals. That doesn't mean we can't have fun.... battle ropes, airdynes, medicine balls... they all have their place. But the bulk of your training should be focused on the highest ROI.
When I train officers, I focus on the 7 Fundamental Movement Patterns. These are: Pressing, Pulling, Lunging, Squatting, Hinging, Twisting and Running. As human beings, everything we do is a hybridization or variation of these 7 movement patterns. Sometimes it can look more complex than that, but the reality is everything can be broken down into its' movement building blocks. (Kinda like Lego! And who doesn't love Lego?).
How often you train is going to affect what each training session looks like, but the sessions don't have to vary dramatically. I have already written extensively about the 7 Fundamental Movement patterns, so if you are unfamiliar with them I suggest checking out the series I wrote about them: Part 1: Push/Pull, Part 2: Lunge/Squat, Part 3: Hinge/Twist and Part 4: Gait/Running.
Here are a couple of examples, depending on frequency, of how a training session would look...
If you have back pain, you are among millions of North Americans. As many as 85% of people will experience back pain in their lifetime, and most of those who do will experience it more than once. That is borderline INSANITY. There are many factors in play, like biomechanics, genetics and body composition, but the good news is, for most people it is preventable. Many people can get out of pain by making a deliberate decision to fix it.
For a Law Enforcement Officer, this can be a significant problem, and the deck is stacked against you. Between the car, the gear, and the physical demands, LEOs are pre-disposed to injury, unless you take proper precautions. The nature of the job requires you to be able to go from a standstill to 100% effort immediately. You're not about to tell a bad guy "Hold on a sec, I just need to quickly do some glute bridges and monster walks." If you are going to be prepared for this rapid increase in intensity, you need to train for it and have the mobility to handle it. The nature of the responsibilities of an L.E.O. require a lot of sedentary time, and it doesn't set you up for success.
As a first responder you are responsible for the public's safety and well-being. FR are some of the most important jobs in today's modern world. There is a catch though. Not only are you responsible for the public's safety (including my own!), you are also responsible for your own. You owe it to yourself to be prepared and ready to respond to the demands. To do this you need to be injury free, strong and fit. Sometimes when you are living a high performance lifestyle (such as a first responder) it is easy to get side tracked and forget about what is important. When it comes to fitness, there are a few goals that I recommend working towards to stay in tip-top shape. Whether you are running into a burning building, chasing after the bad guy or lifting the MI patient into the stretch, these goals give you the fundamentals you need.
If you are training from the POPAT, PARE, COPAT, or any other Physical Abilities Test, you will definitively benefit from this advice. I asked experts in the industry including trainers, testers, professors and current Law Enforcement Officers for their advice.
I asked two simple questions, one about PAT training and obstacles, and the other about life in the force. Each of these pieces of advice is super valuable, so I encourage you to take action and your next step towards your Law Enforcement career.