Fitness Assessment Program


The St. Paul Police Department's Fitness Assessment Program enables us to prescribe appropriate exercise that will enhance an individual's fitness level. In addition to ensuring our officers’ physiological readiness to respond in situations requiring physical effort, our goals are to minimize the disease, injuries, and poor health risk profiles associated with our profession.

Fitness Standards

We have adopted the Institute for Aerobics Research's (IAR) battery of tests and standards. Since 1976, the Institute, through the Public Safety Research and Training Center activities, has assumed a national leadership role in the area of fitness and physical performance for public safety officers. Their standards and norms are the most documented in the US and are frequently updated. The SPPD gym staff has been trained by the Institute. View the minimum fitness standards.

Fitness Tests

At the beginning of the Saint Paul Police Academy, all candidates will perform a battery of tests designed to measure their physical fitness. These tests will measure cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance,flexibility,body composition and explosive power. Candidates will perform all tests at a satisfactory level by the end of the Academy. It is, therefore, in the best interest of all candidates to report to the Academy in good condition as you will be involved in strenuous physical activity 3-5 days per week. For more information, view the following test descriptions.

Anaerobic Power

300 Meter Run: This is a test of anaerobic capacity, which is important for performing short bursts of effort such as in a foot pursuit. It will be measured in running the 300 meters as quickly as possible.

Body Composition Analysis

Electrical Impedance or Skin fold: The purpose of the body composition analysis is to determine the officers body fat to lean muscle ratio. Good body composition facilitates efficient movement and will help reduce the chances for injury. It also helps the officer present a positive image to the public. The testing is performed using an electronic impedance computer or by the skin fold calipers.

Cardiovascular Endurance Testing

1.5 mile run: This run is a measure of cardiovascular endurance or aerobic power. This is important for performing tasks involving stamina and endurance. It will also help minimize the risk of cardiovascular problems. It will be performed utilizing an outdoor track or treadmill.

Flexibility Assessment

Sit and Reach: This test will measure the flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings. Flexibility in those two areas help when performing tasks involving bending, reaching and turning. It will also help in reducing lower back problems.

Muscular Endurance Assessment

One minute timed sit-ups: The sit-up has long been recognized as a practical method of testing abdominal muscular endurance. This is important for performing tasks that involve the use of force. It helps maintain good posture and reduce lower back problems. The individual is instructed to perform as many bent-kneed sit-ups as possible in one minute.

Muscular Strength Assessment

Pushups: The test will measure the muscular endurance of the upper body muscles in the shoulders,chest and triceps. This is an untimed event in which the individual will conduct as many pushups as possible until muscle failure. The individual must lower their torso just below the level of their elbows for a repetition to count.

Explosive Power

Vertical jump:This test measures the ability to move from a standing stationary position to rapidly reacting. A variety of law enforcement tasks require explosive power including climbing stairs and jumping fences. The individual is instructed to jump straight up from a standing position.