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Build Speed and Agility - New Fitness Testing in Military and Police

stew smith

A few of the events in the Tactical Fitness Test - Dirty Dozen include sprints, shuttle runs, and agility tests.  More fitness programs in the military and police as well as special operation groups of both are focusing more on speed and agility than longer distance runs.

Fitness tests are evolving from the standard pushups, situps, 1.5-2 mile run into more speed, agility, and combat conditioning throughout the military as well as in law enforcement pre-employment hiring phases.

Many people think that after high school or college athletics, there will be little need to keep running sprints and over time will either become a lifter who never runs, or a long distance runner who never lifts.  To be a tactical athlete today, you have to be well rounded and train in a way where you still have endurance and muscle stamina, but also strength, speed, and agility.  Very often, obtaining and sustaining employment in many tactical occupations (military / police / Special Ops / SWAT), you will need to add some sprint and agility training into your current training plan. 

Many military members leave the service and join local or federal law enforcement.  The change from testing just 1.5 mile – 3 mile timed runs in the military and having to run sprints and agility tests may seem easy, but can be very challenging to compete on a high level without injuring yourself.  If you were not a part of the few military groups that actively train and test speed and agility, these tests are difficult for first timers or those who are not used to sprinting.

Here are many of the events used to test both speed and agility and the agencies that utilize these testing events to monitor candidates and members alike:

300m sprint – Many law enforcement agencies around the United States to include the FBI.

400m sprint – Used by both military special ops, police SWAT teams, and our Tactical Fitness Test.

40yd sprint – from prone position carrying weapon – used by FBI and SWAT

Shuttle Runs – 300yd (6 x 50m) Used by SEAL Teams and our Tactical Fitness Test.

Shuttle Runs
– 100m (4 x 25m) – UBRR – Upper body Round Robin – used by many tier one units in the military.

Illinois Agility Test - Used by Federal Law Enforcement and our Tactical Fitness Test. (pictured to the right)

120yd shuttle run (4 x30yd)  - Used by DEA

120ft shuttle run (4 x 30ft) – Used by Military Service Academies

Beep Test – a version of the shuttle run done on “beeps” at decreasing intervals each lap – Various Police departments around the world.

These tests are relatively easy to train for.  Basically, after a thorough warmup, do a few of the tests at 50% full speed to get the motions of the event understood and continue to make the warmup more specific to the test.  Then build up to 100% full speed once or twice for the day.  Continue on with the remaining sections of your workout.  If you do this 2-3 times per week, you will see big improvements in your times.

Depending upon the route you are choosing for your profession, it is recommended to do your research and find out what the testing elements of your training will require.  As you age, you definitely want to make sure you add running fast with directional changes into your weekly routine.  Otherwise, tight hamstrings not accustomed to sprinting and ankles not ready for quick changes of direction will fail you too quickly costing you success in advancing into certain programs or failing to get hired.






About Stew Smith 


Stew Smith is a former Navy Lieutenant (SEAL) who graduated from the United States Naval Academy and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training.  He has been personally training, testing, and writing workout books and ebooks that prepare people to ace fitness tests for over 25 years now.  People from all levels of fitness use his military preparation products to lose weight, prepare for basic training, as well as advanced level athletes who are training for Special Ops.  His next book. Tactical Fitness,  is soon to be released in Dec 2014 featuring many current and highly effective Tactical Fitness elements used by many of the world's best special operation units within the military and law enforcement.

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