by David Brelinski III, TSAC-F
TSAC Report September 2023
Vol 69, Issue 1
Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: No conflicts of interest and no sources of funding are declared. Disclaimer: The opinions or assertions contained herein are the views of the author and are not to be construed as the views of the Michigan State Police or any other law enforcement agency.
It is the task of a police training academy to prepare recruits for the job. A component of this preparation is physical training. Police academy physical training programs can benefit the recruit’s occupational performance and overall health (2,6,10,17). These programs must prepare recruits to perform a myriad of activities to include, but not limited to, victim rescues and confrontations by suspects (1). Physical strength and power are attributes that affect performance in these situations (14,15,16,26). Undoubtedly, poor or inadequate physical training creates risk for the public, the officer, and legal liability for the agency (3). For these reasons, strength and power have been identified as physical attributes that will positively contribute to a law enforcement officer’s operational success. For the trainees, strength and power development will prepare them for the critical tasks of the job and reduce their risk of injury (7). This article provides an overview of a resistance training program for tactical strength and conditioning facilitators in large law enforcement academy settings.
Strength is defined as the maximal force a muscle or muscle group can generate at a specific velocity (9). This is the ability to move a maximum amount of weight. Power, on the other hand, is defined as the product of force and velocity (9). This is the ability to move an external load quickly. While not commonly discussed in reference to law enforcement recruit training, strength and power can be augmented by hypertrophy training (5). Muscle hypertrophy is defined as an increase in the size of the muscle tissue (23). Muscle size plays an important part in strength development and is an indicator of strength potential (13). Additionally, while there is no formal research on the topic, it is suggested that muscle size may elevate an officer’s presence, which is considered the best way to resolve a situation, by giving them a more formidable appearance (27).
With the need for strength, power, and hypertrophy training in law enforcement academies, the next obstacle is how to conduct these training sessions effectively and efficiently. Below is an example of a strength, power, and hypertrophy program in a large police academy setting. This program has been conducted with training class sizes between 50 – 100 recruits, facilitated by 1 – 4 academy staff members.
This article originally appeared in TSAC Report, the NSCA’s quarterly, online-only publication geared toward the training of tactical athletes, operators, and facilitators. It provides research-based articles, performance drills, and conditioning techniques for operational, tactical athletes. The TSAC Report is only available for NSCA Members. Read more articles from TSAC Report