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Prepare for the Written Exam and Physical Agility Test

Written Exam

Officers rescuing citizen from water.

The test will be scored by the Office of Human Resources at a later date.

Physical Agility Test

Physical Agility Waiver

You must have a Physical Agility Waiver (PDF) signed by a physician in order to take the physical agility test. Be sure to allow your doctor enough time to complete this form. Applicants who fail to bring a completed and signed Physical Agility Waiver with them to the physical agility test will not be allowed to participate in the test.

Test Criteria




Bench (% of body weight)

1.5 Mile Run (min/sec)












































Test Breakdown

Physical Agility Video

  1. Trigger Squeeze and Slide Pull measures hand strength.
    Trigger Squeeze is measured in seconds for strong and weak hands (45 seconds per hand with a minimum of 30 squeezes for the strong hand and 20 squeezes for the weak hand). The Slide Pull minimum is five pulls in 20 seconds. Scoring is the same for males and females of all ages.
  2. Sit-up Test measures muscular endurance.
    The score is the number of bent-leg, military style, sit-ups performed in one minute. Candidates will have their feet or ankles held for support. Hands must be placed behind the candidate's head, with interlocking fingers. If hands come off the head during testing, the sit-up will not be counted.
  3. Bench Press measures absolute strength.
    One repetition maximum bench press using a Universal Weight System. Candidates will be required to lift a specified percentage of their body weight. Candidates will only be required to lift the minimum weight one time.
  4. 1.5 Mile Run measures cardiovascular capacity.
    Candidates must run 1.5 miles on a flat, paved surface.

How to Prepare for the Physical Agility Test

The following 12-week program is suggested for applicants who wish to improve their physical fitness levels to not only pass the physical agility test, but to also prepare for the physical aspect of the police academy.  

Weeks One to Three:

  • Three days a week of physical activity
  • 30 to 40 minutes of activity per workout

Weeks Four to Six:

  • Three days a week of physical activity
  • 40 to 60 minutes of activity per workout

Weeks Seven to Twelve:

  • Three to four days of physical activity
  • 60 minutes of activity per workout

Applicants should continue physical activity at the end of the program so that their fitness level does not regress.

Each workout should consist of a targeted muscle group and a cardiovascular activity. Cardiovascular activities include, but are not limited to: running, row machine, elliptical machine, bicycling, treadmill and stationary bicycle. Playing sports like basketball, soccer, hockey and ultimate Frisbee are encouraged as long as applicants are constantly moving during the activity.

Running Improvement

The following types of runs are suggested for applicants:

  1. Long Run: minimal time 15 minutes; maximal time 30 minutes (can be increased depending on fitness level of applicant)
  2. Short Run: minimal time five minutes; maximal time 12 minutes (should be at a faster pace than long runs)
  3. Interval Run: sprints followed by rest or slow jog
    Interval running is easiest on a track. Run or sprint 100 meters (one quarter of a lap) and then rest for one minute and repeat. Run or sprint 200 meters (half of a lap) and then rest for 1.5 minutes and repeat. Follow this design using 400 meters with two minutes rest, 800 meters with two to three minutes rest and 1600 meters with three minutes rest. This type of training can help with your speed as well as increasing your distance.
  4. Fartlek: running term meaning that, after you warm up and have been jogging for a few minutes, you run hard for one minute, slow for one minute, hard for two minutes, slow for two minutes, hard for three minutes, slow for two minutes, hard for two minutes, slow for one minute, hard for one minute, then start over. You can also set distance instead of minutes (i.e. run hard for 400 meters, slow for 200 meters, or if running in a neighborhood, run hard for one block, jog one block and repeat.)

Beginning runners can start by running two minutes, take 30 seconds to recover and then repeat. Gradually increase your run time while decreasing your recovery time. We have provided a Four Week Training Program (PDF) to help you prepare for the running portion of the physical agility test.

Muscular Improvement

  • Workout A (upper body): weight lift if available (bench press, dumbbell press, dumbbell row, lat pull-down), close hand push-ups, wide hand push-ups normal push-ups, inclined push-ups, declined push-ups, burpees, dips, and pull-ups
  • Workout B (core): sit-ups, Rocky sit-ups, inclined sit-ups, normal plank, side planks, mountain climbers, flutter kicks, scissor kicks, genies, swimmers, core twists, and leg raises
  • Workout C (lower body): weight lift if possible (leg press, leg extension, leg curl, dumbbell walk), body squats, single leg body squats, lunges, broad jumps, bear crawl, box jumps, running stairs, leg lifts over chairs and calf raises

Applicants do not have to complete every exercise. They can pick and choose from the list varying the number of the exercise or weight used if they are in a circuit center.

Workout Strategy

  • Strategy A: Three sets, first set maximum, second set at least three quarters maximum set, third set at least half of second set
  • Strategy B: Single set of maximum numbers of varying exercises
  • Strategy C: three sets of equal number of repetitions

These workout routines are a suggestion for applicants to use for improvement. Applicants can use one or all of the workout strategies above to find one that matches their fitness level needs. Duration and frequency of workouts depend on the overall fitness level of each applicant. Applicants should work on increasing the number of muscular improvement exercises that they can complete bi-weekly. This program is intended to help applicants that are at all levels and can be modified to work on individual areas of weakness.

Test-Appropriate Clothing

On the day of your test, wear athletic clothing, for example a sweatshirt or T-shirt and sweat pants or shorts and sneakers.

Begin your exercise routine immediately to maximize your opportunity to succeed.

The Baltimore County Police Department is an equal opportunity employer.

Revised June 4, 2014

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