The 10 Best Exercises for Police Officers
The long shifts and odd schedule make finding time to workout as a cop very tough. I’m always asked, “What are the best exercises for police officers?” And when I tell my answers, I’m usually met with some resistance. Of course, my favorites are the big three - squat, deadlift, and bench press - but there are some other important exercises that police officers need to start incorporating into their workout routine.
Instead of just sitting around on the bench press doing rep after rep with a five-minute rest in-between, here are some of the best exercises, whether you’re a town cop, state trooper, or SWAT. They were picked to not only help you spice up your routine, but to work on weak points that can actually hinder most police officer’s workouts, and therefore on-the-job performance, too.
1. Sandbag Clean and Press
Start in a quarter-squat position with both hands gripping a sandbag and the sandbag resting softly on the ground. Explosively stand up as you bring your elbows up, then sweep them under the sandbag so it rests on your chest. Pause for a second, then straighten your arms up as you shoulder press the sandbag overhead. That’s one rep.
2. Partner Glute-Ham Raise
Kneel on the ground (preferably on some kind of mat) with a partner holding your lower legs down to the ground. Keeping your core engaged slowly lower yourself (about two to three seconds) until you are in a push up position. Push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat.
3. Swiss Ball Knee Drive/Pike
Get into a push up position with your feet on top of a Swiss ball (stability ball) and your core engaged. For the knee drives, simply bring your knees to your chest in a controlled motion, slowly returning back to the starting position. For a more advanced variation, keep your legs straight as you drive them forward to form an inverted V with your body, pause for a moment, then return back to normal.
4. Walk the Plank
Start in a push up position with your toes on two weights or Valslides. Slowly walk your hands forward, one-by-one, as you try to keep your hips as straight as possible by keeping your core engaged throughout the entire movement. For a more advanced variation, bring your elbows down to the ground and slowly walk your elbows forward, maintaining good hip control and core stability.
5. Bear-Hug Walks
Grab a sandbag, holding it across your chest, bringing your arms up to form a ninety-degree angle. Simply walk forward for thirty yards, turn around, and return to the starting position.
6. Offset Walking Sandbag Lunge
Start with a sandbag over one shoulder in the standing position. Take a step forward as you lower yourself until your back leg is about an inch off of the ground then push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg as you walk straight forward. Switch shoulders that the sandbag will rest on after each set.
7. Inverted Row (One and Two Arms)
Lie on your back under a secured barbell with your hands gripping it at shoulder-width apart. Pull your chest towards the bar, pause for a second, and bring yourself back down to the starting position. For a more advanced variation only use one arm as you keep your core engaged and avoid any hip rotation.
8. Rope/Towel Pull Up
Hang a rope or towel on one side of a pull up bar. Grip the rope/towel with one hand and place the other in the standard pull up position. Pull your chest towards the bar, pause for a second, then return back to the starting position. Switch hands after each set.
9. Landmine Press
Load up a barbell with a weight on one side, planting the other end in the corner of the room (if you don’t have access to a LandMine). Start with your left leg forward, slightly bent, and your back foot staggered in back. With the barbell planted firmly in your right hand, drive your arm up and forward as you stabilize your core and avoid falling off balance. Pause for a second, then return back to the starting position.
10. Knee-to-Elbow Push Up Series
Start in the push up position and maintain quality core stability throughout these three different variations. Start by lowering yourself, pausing, and driving your left knee out to the side and making contact with your elbow. Then, return to the starting position. Complete one standard push up. Next, drive your knee straight into your left elbow, pause, and then return to the starting position. Complete one standard push up. Next, drive your left knee to make contact with your right elbow, pause for a second, and return back to the starting position. Complete one last standard push up. That’s one rep in the series. Switch the driving knee after each set.