No matter what your level of fitness, individuals should always begin an exercise session with an appropriate amount of time allocated to warming-up. A warm-up prior to exercise stimulates the cardiovascular system and various muscle groups, which increases performance and reduces your risk of injury.
Warm-up should be gradual and strenuous enough to increase your core temperature and muscle temperature without causing fatigue or excess stress on the body. This could be walking, cycling, stair stepping, etc. Begin at a slow pace and then gradually increase the intensity. The duration of the warm-up will depend on the primary activity, the intensity of the activity, and your age and level of fitness. However, as a general rule, five to 10 minutes will be sufficient. After you have warmed-up, stretch all major body parts. It is important that you do not stretch until you are warmed up.
The running component is designed to meet the minimal running standards at the Police Academy. It will increase your endurance and speed, and is a great way to improve your cardiovascular system. There is nothing easier than putting on a pair of running shoes and heading out the door for fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. But while doing it is easy, if you’ve never run before, you’ll quickly realize how strenuous it can be. It takes time to build up the endurance to run for even a short period of time.
If you are new to running, you should ease into the program. If you are unable to run at a slow pace continuously for 30 minutes you should begin your program with a walk/run routine, alternating five minutes of fast walking with five minutes of running. Gradually build up your running time to a 30-minute self-paced run. Always complete your workout with a five-minute slow-paced cool-down and stretching of the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and back.
It is very important that you have a good pair of running shoes. Unlike cross trainers, running shoes are designed to allow your foot to strike the ground properly, reducing the amount of shock that travels up your leg and causes injuries. They are also made to fit your foot comfortably, which reduces the slipping and sliding that can lead to blisters.
The running should not to be done on a treadmill. A treadmill “pulls” the ground underneath your feet, and you do not meet any wind resistance, which makes running somewhat easier. However, many treadmills are padded, making them a good option if you’re carrying a few extra pounds or are injury-prone and want to decrease impact. To better simulate the effort of outdoor running, you can always set your treadmill at a one percent incline.
While you are building up your running stamina, practice good running form:
1. Run tall with good posture. Your trunk will lean forward from the hips slightly, but try to lengthen your body, lift your chest, and hold in your abdominal muscles.
2. Let your arms swing at a 90-degree angle between the chest and hipbone, not crossing them over your body. Your arm swing should complement your stride. Relax your wrists and hands. Do not clench your fists.
3. Power your stride from your thighs, hips, and buttocks muscles. Plant your heel on the ground first and roll onto the toes.
4. Stay relaxed.
When you can jog continuously for 30 minutes, you can begin testing yourself for the running portion of the WSTB, a 1.5 mile run to be completed under 14 minutes.
Calisthenics / Strength
The strength training is based on a calisthenics platform. Calisthenics develop the ability to squat, reach, twist, lunge, jump, land, push, and get up and down. These are the types of actions demanded of law enforcement officers during a routine patrol watch. Calisthenics build strength and promote endurance without the repetitive motion that often leads to overuse injuries. Finally, these exercises improve mobility by progressively taking the major joints through a full, controlled range of motion. Calisthenics also demand the attention to detail that conveys physical readiness and discipline. You should do the calisthenics exercises every day. It is important that you adjust the level of activity according to your individual fitness level and gradually progress at your own pace with every workout.
The cool-down is just as important as the warm-up. Abrupt cessation of vigorous activity leads to pooling of the blood and sluggish circulation. It may also contribute to cramping, soreness, or more serious problems. It is recommended that you complete your workout with a five-minute slow-paced cool-down, and stretch for ten minutes following your workouts. It is important to remember to stretch while your muscles are still warm.
Most people do not drink enough water. Water is essential to survival. Every function and movement of an officer’s body requires water. During hot weather or strenuous exercise, a larger amount of water is eliminated through perspiration in order to regulate body temperature. Therefore, it is critical to drink more water during hot weather or while exercising. It is recommended that you drink several cups of water before exercising. If the exercise is prolonged or vigorous, you should drink small quantities of water every 10 to 15 minutes during the activity. A guideline for consumption of water is 64 ounces of water per day.
1. Always warm up for 5-10 minutes prior to stretching. Suggestions – stationary bike, running in place, stairmaster, or treadmill.
2. Move slowly when stretching. Take this time to relax and focus on your breathing.
3. Depending on what you choose, music can help energize or relax you.
4. When lying on your back, move your legs one at a time. Sudden movements with both legs can strain the muscles of the lower back.
5. Stretch to the point of gentle tension. If something hurts, stop immediately. Stretching should feel good.
6. Try to stretch daily. This workout can take as little as 7-10 minutes, or as long as you’d like. A few minutes every day can improve your performance, prevent injuries, and help you relax.