Police Tests Are Not Fitness Tests

The tests are not measurements of fitness, they are measurements of performance.

What does that mean? Let me share a story.

A few months ago, an applicant, let’s call her Jane, came to Redline to prepare for the POPAT. On her own, she was going to Crossfit 3x/wk, ran 2-3x/wk, and played soccer regularly. At her first Redline class, I could see clearly she was fit and strong.

Why, then, did she come to Redline to prepare?

Her first POPAT went miserably for her, running a time of 4:34 (under 4:15 is needed to pass).

How can that be? How can someone who is fit  and strong, fail a fitness test?

Because these tests are not a fitness test. They are a performance test. They are testing your physical abilities, to see how you will perform in a simulated chase and altercation. And these simulations require skill.

If it were a fitness test, then Jane wouldn’t have had a problem. Most fitness tests (if you look at the States) evaluate your strength and endurance through push-ups, sit-ups, vertical jump, and a run (ranging from 300m to 2.4km).

When you look at that POPAT, and PARE, and COPAT, and PREP, etc. there’s more involved (despite the simplicity of the set up). How you tackle the push/pull machine is crucial; it can make or break your test. How you perform the front and back falls; you need to be smooth and efficient. The vault, the hurdles, the mat jump, and the stairs, everything requires skill and not just pure fitness and brute strength to get through the test.

The most important skill of all? Your pace on the obstacle course.

If you don’t pace yourself right (ie sprint the course), you severely hamper your overall performance on the test. You may think you’ll get a fast time, but you will only falter. Don’t believe me? Check out this comparison of PARE tests.

Jane learned all the ins and outs of the test, and the strategies needed to perform her best. After a month of training, she was able to realize her full potential, running her official POPAT in 3:31 (to put things in perspective, 3:30 or faster is considered competitive for males). The combination of her strength, her fitness, and the newfound skills helped her to achieve a fantastic time.

Don’t treat these tests as just another fitness test. It is a performance test, and performances require skill. Practice your skills along with your fitness and you will perform at a higher level come test day.

Need to train for your test? Try us out for 2 weeks with our Redline Intro Trial.

Looking to run your official test or need to do a full practice? Check out the Official and Practice Testing schedule for the next available session.

And if you have any questions about training or our services, you can reach out to our Team at redlineteam@rlconditioning.ca.