How to Prepare Yourself for The Police Academy


Recently I was at a commercial gym and about to head out after my training session until 1 of the guys introduced himself to me and asked me if I was a cop. He had seen me training as I went back and forth in superset style fashion. He thought I was in training for something but that fast paced training is common for me.

It's funny because I used to get that question quite often back when I buzzed my head, people thought I was in the Military or Law Enforcement. Anyway, we got chatting when he asked me what I do and I told him I'm a Strength Coach / Gym Owner and his eyes and ears perked up right away.

He wasn't in the best of physical condition and during his training session I saw him using a few machines, the common bodybuilding work, and I simply assumed he's there to "try to get in shape".

He immediately told me that he was preparing for the police academy, which was coming up in a few months. Then, he asked if I'd be there Monday......

I could sense he was hoping to get some training with me or from me.

Do you have any business cards? he asked me.

I haven't had a business card for about 15 years now.

Instead, I get YOUR information because people tend to get excited IN the moment and then their motivation is fleeting. This is where DISCIPLINE comes in. Discipline is doing the work, even if the motivation is NOT there.

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I told this guy looking to prep for Police Academy that he needs to get GREAT at these things:

- Calisthenics (Push Ups & Sit Ups are popular in the Academy but Pull Ups are crucial as well, I just haven't heard too many Police Academies doing pull ups on the regular)

- Running: Both distance running and short distance sprinting, although a daily distance run is common for Police Academy.

This guy was not in the best of shape so he was a beginner in training. I can look at a physique and immediately get an accurate estimation of your physical capabilities for the most part.

Every police academy is different and I've worked with MANY guys who have prepped for Military, Police Academy and everything in between. Some of these guys are now PT instructors in the Police Academy. Some stories I've heard about the academy are basic and fairly "old school"; running everyday coupled with push ups, sit ups and crunches. Nothing else.

Other Police Academies are evolving, making changes with the times and incorporating a variety of training in the PT. Some of these guys  have told me they were taken through a variety of training, sometimes CrossFit like workouts such as running, calisthenics, stadium stair climbing with a sandbag on the back, etc. for several rounds.

So how can you prepare for the police academy?

First, find out from others who have gone through the same academy and do some specific prep. If you know it's going to be a lot of running and sit ups + push ups, prepare for that PLUS a well balanced program (any of the programs inside The Underground Strength Manual will help you crush it). Bodyweight Bodybuilding would absolutely be GREAT for Police Academy / Military Boot Camp prep.

Below I will outline some tips and 4 weeks of training. The full program will be posted inside The Underground Strength Academy which also houses hundreds upon hundreds of articles, videos, seminars on film, audios and much, much more. I've been pumping content into The Underground Strength Academy since 2005!

Step 1 is to connect with others who have gone through the academy you're about to go through. This way you get some insight as to what's to come.

Step 2 is to train for all around strength and fitness, NOT just for the academy.

The BIG mistake people make is to ONLY run distance (2-4 miles every other day or even daily) and maybe some push ups or sit ups here and there. You can NOT get strong training like a cross country runner.

And, if you want your calisthenics to be easier, you should be using progressive resistance training to strengthen the muscles. Getting stronger on the bench press, military press, dumbbell rows and the like WILL improve your push ups and pull ups.

Squats and Deadlift will improve your running.

If you're "Training for Life" as we do with our Underground Strength Methods, you'll be ready BOTH Physically AND Mentally. I've seen a handful of guys who were ready physically but mentally they struggled under pressure and hence, they found a way to get injured during the academy. These guys trained like bodybuilders but when any conditioning work came into play, they broke down.

400 mtr runs, sled drags / prowler pushing, supersets of calisthenics, etc crushed these guys mentally.

Think of it as 4-6 months for the rest of your life. A friend of mine and former college wrestler would check in with me during his time in the academy. He still trained OUTSIDE of the academy because of how well prepared he was. He was lifting and going to BJJ on weekends.

The best LEOs STILL train hard after the academy. Training NEVER ends. Once you understand you're training for life, you are on the right page mentally. This is something you Get to do, not something you HAVE to do.

If you're a beginner, follow the Matt Wenning Warm Ups and listen to our podcasts HERE.

After going through Matt's warm ups, you should then incorporate the following after the warm up is finished:

- Any Type of Carry (KB or DB Farmer Walks, Sandbag Carries, etc). Perform 3 - 5 x 100-150 ft

- Sled Drags / Sled Pushes. Perform 3 - 5 x 100 - 150 ft

The sleds and carries can begin as straight sets and then eventually perform them as supersets to keep pushing your GPP levels to greater heights. Sleds and Carries are perfect because they are simple yet brutally effective.

I perform DB Farmer Walks when in commercial gym settings. You can make your own sled from a tire at home and perform sled work in the street. NO excuses. I don't want to hear about no space, no time, no money. You can buy sleds VERY cheap on the internet or Craigs List nowadays.

Now, the training outlined below is jumping into a program assuming you have some training experience, if you're a beginner, follow the info above for 3 months and ATTACK THE BASICS. Unfortunately, too many men / women entering the academy never took training seriously and now they are in desperation mode to prepare for the academy. That is NEVER a good thing. Training MUST be a lifestyle.

Training is an ALL the time thing, not something we do to prepare for 1 event and then stop altogether. As an LEO, remember, you are always TRAINING FOR LIFE.

For your warm ups, choose 3-4 exercises and perform 3 rounds. Choose exercises that target the workout for that day.

For example, on a lower body focused day, perform the following warm up as a sample:

3 Rounds of:

A) Sled Drags forwards / backwards x 75 ft each

B) Bulgarian Split Squat x 10 / 10

C) Back Extensions x 15

D) Standing Leg Curl or 1 Leg RDL x 10 / 10

Training below is a 4 week mini cycle.

- Week 1 is an intro week to establish technique and baseline weights

- Week 2, improve from week 1.

- Week 3, improve from week 2! Simple, NOT easy!

On Week 4, go lighter on the free weight exercises and bump up the reps and focus on a pump. This is great for recovery of mind and body.

During EVERY training session we sneak in ab work, band work for shoulder health, dead hangs, various ab / trunk stability work and soft tissue work.


Warm Up 3 Rounds:

A) Jump Rope x 1 Minute

B) Suitcase Carry x 50 ft each arm

C) Bodyweight Squats x 10

D) Hanging Knee Raise x 10

E) Any Sled Work x 100 ft


1A) Squats 2 x 5 warm up, 3 x 5 work sets.

1B) Couch Stretch 5 x 30 seconds each

2A) Walking Lunges (Hold DBs, KBs, sandbag, etc - ANY load is good) 3 x 12 / 12

2B) KB Swings 3 x 12

3A) Any Carry 3 x 100 ft

3B) Sled Push / Pull 3 x 100 ft

4A) Push Ups 2 x MAX

4B) Band Face Pulls 2 x 15


Warm Up 3 Rounds

A) Triceps Pushdowns x 25

B) Incline DB Bench (Neutral) x 25

C) Chest Support Reverse Fly x 25

D) Sleds x 150 ft


1A) Bench Press 2 x 5 warm up, 3 x 5 work sets

1B) Pull Ups / Chin Ups (Switch Grip Each Set) 5 x SubMax (90% MAX reps)

2A) Weighted Push Ups x 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 (Use weight vest or chains)

2B) Recline Row x 10, 8, 6, 4, 2

3A) Shrugs 2 x 12

3B) Dips 2 x MAX

4) Run x 1.5 Miles


Warm Up x 3 Rounds:

A) Walking Lunges x 15 / 15

B) Push Ups x 15

C) V Ups x 15

D) Jumping Jacks x 15

E) Jog x 1 Minute


Circuit x 4 Rounds:

A) DB or KB Farmer Walk x 150 ft

B) Push Ups or Dips x SM Reps

C) Pull Ups or Recline Row x SM Reps

D) Jump Rope x 100 Reps

E) Frog Jumps x 10 Reps

F) Sit Ups or V Ups x 15 Reps

G) Run x 400 meter

Thursday: Recovery & Prep Day

Mobility, Stretching, Active Recovery Methods (Swimming, Walking, etc)

Prep your food, catch a nap early afternoon to boost recovery, etc.


Warm Up: 3 Rounds

A) Sled March Forwards / Backwards x 150 ft total

B) Band Pull Aparts x 15 each: overhand + underhand

C) Bodyweight Pause Squat x 5 Reps (5 second hold in bottom)

D) 1 Arm Overhead DB / KB Carry x 50 ft each


1A) DB Goblet Squats 5 x 8

1B) Push Ups or Dips 5 x SM reps (90% of Max Reps)

2A) DB Step Ups 3 x 10 / 10

2B) Pull Ups / Chin Ups 3 x MAX Reps (Switch Grip Every Set)

3) Run 2 x 800 meter


Warm Up: 3 Rounds

A) Back XT x 15

B) Leg Curl Variation x 15

C) Chest Supported Row x 15

D) Suitcase Carry x 50 ft each arm

E) Jog x 1 Minute


1A) Trap Bar Deadlift 2 x 5 Warm Up, 3 x 3 Work Sets

1B) Squat Jumps or Frog Jumps x 5 reps each set

2A) Incline DB Bench 2 x 8 reps (neutral)

2B) DB Shrugs 2 x 8 reps

2C) Hanging Leg Raise 2 x 8 reps

3A) Lying DB Triceps Extensions 2 x 15 reps

3B) DB Hammer Curls 2 x 8

4) Sled Sprints 5 x 100 ft.

Sunday: Repeat Thursday recovery & prep day.

On your recovery days you can also swim or bike ride which is great for boosting aerobic capacity.

You have 5 training days and 2 recovery days. You CAN run more if you choose but there is enough running, circuits and sled work to help you FULLY prepare both physically and mentally for what is to come during Police Academy.

For more workouts go to The Underground Strength Academy and follow ANY of them!

Live The Code 365,


The Underground Strength Academy

2 Responses

  1. Clare Martin says:

    My friend wants to join a police academy soon so he can be a fully-trained officer, and he plans to join one in New York next year. I appreciate your advice when you told us to connect with those who have gone to the academy before since this will give us some insight into what’s to come. I’ll be sure to share this with my friend while he is still looking for schools where he can receive police education in New York soon.

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