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Physical Test Training Plan Impact

Physical Test Training Plan

Physical Fitness Testing Standard

All applicants need to be aware that the West Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Subcommittee (LEPS) requires physical ability testing of all Police Officer candidates using the Cooper Testing Protocol prior to admission to a basic training program. The minimum passing score for each event is listed below. If you fail to pass any event, you fail the entire testing process. At any point the participant fails, he/she will not be permitted to continue in the physical fitness testing or the selection process for admission to an academy. These same requirements are applicable to admission into the Basic Police Training Program of the Fairmont State University Police Training Academy. The Fairmont State University Police Academy uses the following current undifferentiated (one performance standard for all candidates regardless of age or gender) standard provided by the Cooper Institute as mandated by LEPS:

Push-ups Sit-ups 1.5 Mile Run
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How the Tests Are Administered

Sit-ups (Muscular Endurance) Test

The person testing starts by lying on their back, knees bent, heels flat on the floor and hands interlocked behind the neck or grasping their shoulders. A partner holds the participant's feet down in a manner indicated by the participant. The participant must touch elbows to knees and then return to a fully reclined position (shoulder blades must touch the mat) before starting the next sit-up. The participant performs as many correct sit-ups as possible in one minute. Partner will count only sit-ups that are correctly and fully completed.

Push-ups (Muscular Endurance) Test

Participant's partner places a closed fist on the floor below the participant's chest. Participant must keep back straight at all times, hands shoulder width apart and feet together resting on their toes. From the up position, the participant will lower their trunk toward the floor until their chest touches their partner's fist, then return to the up position. In the up position, the participant's arms must reach a fully straight, extended position on each return. The participant performs as many correct push-ups as possible in one minute. Any resting must be done in the UP position. Partner will count only push-ups that are fully and correctly completed.

Run (Aerobic Power) Test

On a relatively flat, pre-measured course, the participants will run/walk 1.5 miles. During the test, walking or stopping will seriously jeopardize a passing score. The participant will be timed with a stopwatch to the nearest second. The total time is recorded.

How to Prepare for the Police Academy Physical Fitness Test

The Fairmont State University Police Training Academy places a strong emphasis on physical fitness and expects students to continue to progress to higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, and endurance throughout the program. It is important for applicants to prepare for the required Physical Fitness Test in order to obtain the highest Cooper percentile possible during the testing process. The following information will assist the applicant with necessary steps to begin or improve upon a workout program in order to attain and surpass minimum requirements. Applicants can always seek a certified Personal Trainer or contact Academy staff for assistance if needed.


Review the percentile standards and testing protocol for the Cooper Testing.

Obtain Medical Clearance

It is important to contact a health professional prior to the start of any exercise program to determine if such a program is safe for the applicant’s current health conditions and level of fitness.

Obtain a Baseline

Perform the push-up test, sit-up test, and 1.5 mile run according to testing guidelines with the assistance of another individual. Document the number of push-ups and sit-ups obtained as well as a time for the completion of the run.

Participate in a Training Program

Begin cardiovascular training and strength training at least 8 weeks prior to testing. Cooper Institute suggested timelines for physical improvements are as follows:

  • Cardiorespiratory Fitness: 12 Weeks
  • Absolute Strength/Muscular Endurance: 8 Weeks
  • Flexibility: 4-8 Weeks
  • Body Composition (Weight Loss): 12-16 Weeks

The 1-minute push-up and sit-up tests measure muscular endurance. Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle to contract repeatedly over time. In order to improve push-ups and sit-ups (muscular endurance), you must do repetitions of push-ups and sit-ups. The following is an example of a beginner training plan:

  • For 2-3 consecutive days, perform 3-5 sets of as many reps as possible for each exercise. Follow the 2-3 days of training with a day of rest.
  • The 1.5-mile run test measures aerobic power. Aerobic power/activity is any activity which requires large amounts of oxygen, uses large muscles groups, and can be performed continuously. The following is an example of a beginner training plan:
  • For 3-4 consecutive weeks, run 3-4 days per week. Focus on distances between 1.5 and 2 miles. If the entire distance cannot be run continuously, alternate running and walking until the full distance is completed. As cardiorespiratory condition improves, run longer intervals and walk shorter intervals until the full distance can be achieved without stopping.

Once aerobic exercise has been consistently performed for 3-4 consecutive weeks, interval training can be utilized to increase speed. Do not perform interval training more than 2 days per week and do not do interval training on two consecutive days. Interval training should be performed at an elevated pace. A way to determine if the applicant is at the correct level of exertion is the “talk” test. The applicant should be able to state small words or phrases, but should be unable to hold a conversation during the training. The following is an example of a beginner interval training plan:

  • 6-8 run/sprints for 30 seconds on an incline (5% to 10%) either on a treadmill or natural hill with walking 2:00 minutes recovery in between sprints.
  • 6-8 run/sprints for a distance of 400 meters (or 1 lap) around a pre-measured track followed by walking for a distance of approximately 400 meters for recovery.


After a training program has been followed for approximately 8 to 12 weeks, the applicant should again perform the sit-up, push-up and 1.5 mile run tests according to the testing guidelines with the assistance of another individual. Document the number of push-ups and sit-ups obtained as well as a time for the completion of the run.

Remember to schedule several days of rest and/or minimal physical activity prior to the actual Police Academy physical ability test.