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Fitness Initiative Award

This web page will help you achieve your goal of  passing the minimum standards for the Department’s Fitness Initiative test set forth by the Baltimore County Police Department. In order to qualify with a passing score for this test, each individual must perform push-ups, sit-ups and a one-and-a-half mile run within the guidelines for their gender and age. We have put together various exercises to help you prepare yourself for the test.

Before getting involved in any type of physical training, you should first consult with your physician to determine if exercising is safe for you. Make sure you always eat something that will be beneficial to your exercise needs before and after training. Always make sure to stretch, before and after training.

Push-ups – To perform a proper push-up, hands should be shoulder width apart with your thumbs facing in. Your feet should be waist length apart with your legs straight. Do not allow your hips to sag, as this will cause lower back pain and limit the amount of push-ups you can do. Lower your chest until your arms are at ninety degrees with the floor. It is very important to breathe during push-ups, inhaling as you go down and exhaling on the way up. Do not hold your breath, this will only cause you to tense up and result in muscle failure.

During the test, push-ups are a non-stop exercise. Once you stop to rest in any position the exercise is over. Here are several exercises that you can use to prepare yourself to do push-ups:

Triceps – (Cable pushdowns) Stand facing an overhead pulley with a bar handle on the cable. Your legs should be shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold the bar with both hands palms down, in a narrow grip. Your forearms should be at a forty-five degree angle to the floor, your upper arms and elbows close to your body. Keep your wrist locked and straight as you lower the bar as far as you can without locking your elbows. Then return to the starting position.

Reverse Dip - Place two exercise benches, or two heavy chairs, side by side, three to four feet apart. Sit on one end of a bench and hold on to the edge of the bench with your arms shoulder-width apart. Plant your heels firmly on the facing bench, about six inches in from the edge. Your rear-end should be suspended slightly in front of your hands.

Slowly bend your arms and lower your body toward the floor. Go as low as you can without touching the floor. Then slowly extend your arms, raising yourself back to the starting position.

Push-ups for beginners – Using the same form as a regular push-up, slightly open your legs wider than waist length. This will make it slightly easier.

First Exercise – Do as many push-ups as you can in ten seconds with a one-minute rest. Do five sets, always trying to increase your number of push-ups without going below your starting number. If this gets to be too easy, you may increase your time and decrease your resting time.

Pyramid Push-ups – Start at ten push-ups; rest for ten seconds. Then do nine push-ups; rest for nine seconds. Continue until your count is down to one (if ten is too easy then feel free to increase your starting number, but always end at one).

Sit-ups - To perform a proper sit-up, you should be lying down with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Place your hands either on both sides of your head (palms covering the ears) or with your arms folded across your chest. Curl your body up until your elbows touch your knees and then lower yourself back until your shoulder blades touch the floor. During this exercise, it is very important to make sure you breathe, exhaling on the way up and inhaling on the way down. This will keep the muscles relaxed. It is also very important not to interlock your fingers behind your head. This will put pressure on your neck and spine.

During the test, sit-ups are timed. You have two minutes to perform as many sit-ups as you can. You can only rest in the up position. If you rest while in the down position the exercise is over. Here are some exercises that you can use to prepare yourself to do sit-ups:

First Exercise – Do as many sit-ups as you can in ten seconds with a one minute rest. Do five sets, always trying to increase your number of sit-ups without going below your starting number. If this gets to be too easy, you may increase your time and decrease your resting time.

Pyramid sit-ups – Start at ten sit-ups; rest for ten seconds. Then do nine sit-ups; rest for nine seconds. Continue until your count is down to one. (If ten is too easy then feel free to increase your starting number, but always end at one.)

The Plank – This exercise puts a lot of attention on the deep abdominals as well as the lower back. The plank is essential for strengthening the core area, which will help with both push-ups and sit-ups.

To perform this exercise, get into a push-up position, then lower your arms until your elbows, palms and forearms are flat on the floor. Keep your back straight and do not allow it to sag. Hold your stomach in as tight as you can without holding your breath. Hold this position for thirty seconds. Rest for one minute and start again. Continue this exercise adding fifteen seconds more each time until you can hold it for two minutes.

One and a half mile run – This exercise is a test of physical endurance. You should remember to control your breathing. Your arms, feet and breathing should all be in rhythm with each other. Remember to run lightly allowing the heel to strike first on the ground. Concentrate on running in a straight line with a good stride.

During the test, this will be a timed event. You will be timed according to your age and gender. Here are some exercises that you can use to prepare yourself to do the one and a half mile run:

Intervals - On a regular quarter mile track, start off running a mile, sprinting the straight away and jogging the curves. Continue this until you have completed one mile. You should be at a full sprint on the straightaway.

On a regular quarter mile track, sprint one time around the track as fast as you can. Once you have completed this exercise, rest for three minutes and repeat the exercise again. You will continue this exercise until you have completed one mile.

Time yourself running a two and a half to three mile course once or twice a week, keeping in mind to better your time with each run.

Revised July 16, 2012

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