Correctional Officer Physical Fitness Test


One common question I get from potential correctional officer recruits is, “What is the fastest way to lose weight and get into shape for my physical fitness test?” Here’s one such applicant that emailed me a while back:

” Hello, Officer Forestal, I am trying to qualify for a correctional officer position and one of the requirements is to pass a run test, as well as other fitness categories. I am 30 years old, 5’7”, and about 210 LBS. I only had a four weeks’ notice for this test and I tried running every other day.

During the test I was totally out of breath after only a couple minutes. I felt like I was sick with a cold—I had a runny nose and I was coughing as if I had bronchitis. I have high hopes of being able to pass this test in the future, and I need some guidance.

– Ken”

Response to this applicant:

This is not an uncommon problem for prospects on a short notice, especially for applicants over 25 who have had been living more of a sedentary lifestyle. Ideally, you’ll want to start training at least 2-3 months in advance, but decent improvements can be made in four weeks. Getting fit is difficult. It takes desire, strength, and willpower to achieve. If you want this job badly enough, you will qualify.

There is no question that your weight is a very big part of your problem. If you don’t believe me, put on a backpack filled with 20 pounds of rocks and try to run a few blocks.

To slim down and speed up, you can follow my law enforcement specific workout program, go to a gym for supervised resistance training, and train with more of a structured plan as outlined in the Fit For Duty Workout Program.

Your feeling of  being out of breath indicates that you need to build up your cardiovascular strength. To do so and be able to handle a disciplined pace (not just an easy run) requires you use a more specific speed work. The heart is a muscle and you need to strengthen that muscle. For example, if you’re trying to build up your biceps, you do dumbbell curls. When you draw the weight up, the stress builds muscle and the release is recovery. In running, the heart is stressed when you run faster rather than slower. This stress elevates your pulse and you build cardiovascular strength.

Try to run five days per week as follows:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Jog for 5 minutes, walk for 2 minutes. Repeat for 45 minutes total.
Tuesday, Thursday: Run 0.25 miles in 2 minutes, walk 1 minute. Repeat for 30 minutes total.

In addition to being the toughest jails/prisons/detention facilities  in America, below are the top cities sorted by rank that I believe have arguably the toughest fitness standards for corrections officers.  You can click on your state or city if it’s listed to download a workout routine:

Rank City State
1 New York New York
2 Los Angeles California
3 Chicago Illinois
4 Houston Texas
5 Phoenix Arizona
6 Philadelphia Pennsylvania
7 San Antonio Texas
8 San Diego California
9 Dallas Texas
10 San Jose California
11 Detroit Michigan
12 San Francisco California
13 Jacksonville Florida
14 Indianapolis Indiana
15 Austin Texas
16 Columbus Ohio
17 Fort Worth Texas
18 Charlotte North Carolina
19 Memphis Tennessee
20 Boston Massachusetts
21 Baltimore Maryland
22 El Paso Texas
23 Seattle Washington
24 Denver Colorado
25 Nashville Tennessee
26 Milwaukee Wisconsin
27 Washington District of Columbia
28 Las Vegas Nevada
29 Louisville Kentucky
30 Portland Oregon
31 Oklahoma City Oklahoma
32 Tucson Arizona
33 Atlanta Georgia
34 Albuquerque New Mexico
35 Kansas City Missouri
36 Fresno California
37 Mesa Arizona
38 Sacramento California
94 Reno Nevada
95 Hialeah Florida
96 Arlington Virginia
97 Irvine California
98 Rochester New York
99 Akron Ohio
100 Boise Idaho
101 Irving Texas
102 Fremont California
103 Richmond Virginia
104 Spokane Washington
105 Modesto California
106 Montgomery Alabama
107 Yonkers New York
108 Des Moines Iowa
109 Tacoma Washington
110 Shreveport Louisiana
111 San Bernardino California
112 Fayetteville North Carolina
113 Glendale California
114 Augusta Georgia
115 Grand Rapids Michigan
116 Huntington Beach California
117 Mobile Alabama
118 Newport News Virginia
119 Little Rock Arkansas
120 Moreno Valley California
121 Columbus Georgia
122 Amarillo Texas
123 Fontana California
124 Oxnard California
125 Knoxville Tennessee
126 Fort Lauderdale Florida
127 Salt Lake City Utah
128 Worcester Massachusetts
129 Huntsville Alabama
130 Tempe Arizona
131 Brownsville Texas
132 Jackson Mississippi
133 Overland Park Kansas
134 Aurora Illinois
135 Oceanside California
136 Tallahassee Florida
137 Providence Rhode Island
138 Rancho Cucamonga California
139 Ontario California
140 Chattanooga Tennessee
141 Santa Clarita California
142 Garden Grove California
143 Vancouver Washington
144 Grand Prairie Texas
145 Peoria Arizona
146 Sioux Falls South Dakota
147 Springfield Missouri
148 Santa Rosa California
149 Rockford Illinois
150 Springfield Massachusetts
151 Salem Oregon
152 Port St. Lucie Florida
153 Cape Coral Florida
154 Dayton Ohio
155 Eugene Oregon
156 Pomona California
157 Corona California
158 Alexandria Virginia
159 Joliet Illinois
160 Pembroke Pines Florida
161 Paterson New Jersey
162 Pasadena Texas
163 Lancaster California
164 Hayward California
165 Salinas California
166 Hampton Virginia
167 Palmdale California
168 Pasadena California
169 Naperville Illinois
170 Kansas City Kansas
171 Hollywood Florida
172 Lakewood Colorado
173 Torrance California
174 Escondido California
175 Fort Collins Colorado
176 Syracuse New York
177 Bridgeport Connecticut
178 Orange California
179 Cary North Carolina
180 Elk Grove California
181 Savannah Georgia
182 Sunnyvale California
183 Warren Michigan
184 Mesquite Texas
185 Fullerton California
186 McAllen Texas
187 Columbia South Carolina
188 Carrollton Texas
189 Cedar Rapids Iowa
190 McKinney Texas
191 Sterling Heights Michigan
192 Bellevue Washington
193 Coral Springs Florida
194 Waco Texas
195 Elizabeth New Jersey
196 West Valley City Utah
197 Clarksville Tennessee
198 Topeka Kansas
199 Hartford Connecticut
200 Thousand Oaks California
201 New Haven Connecticut
202 Denton Texas
203 Concord California
204 Visalia California
205 Olathe Kansas
206 El Monte California
207 Independence Missouri
208 Stamford Connecticut
209 Simi Valley California
210 Provo Utah
211 Killeen Texas
212 Springfield Illinois
213 Thornton Colorado
214 Abilene Texas
215 Gainesville Florida
216 Evansville Indiana
217 Roseville California
218 Charleston South Carolina
219 Peoria Illinois
220 Athens e[›] Georgia
221 Lafayette Louisiana
222 Vallejo California
223 Lansing Michigan
224 Ann Arbor Michigan
225 Inglewood California
226 Santa Clara California
227 Flint Michigan
228 Victorville California
229 Costa Mesa California
230 Beaumont Texas
231 Miami Gardens Florida
232 Manchester New Hampshire
233 Westminster Colorado
234 Miramar Florida
235 Norman Oklahoma
236 Cambridge Massachusetts
237 Midland Texas
238 Arvada Colorado
239 Allentown Pennsylvania
240 Elgin Illinois
241 Waterbury Connecticut
242 Downey California
243 Clearwater Florida
244 Billings Montana
245 West Covina California
246 Round Rock Texas
247 Murfreesboro Tennessee
248 Lewisville Texas
249 West Jordan Utah
250 Pueblo Colorado
251 San Buenaventura (Ventura) California
252 Lowell Massachusetts
253 South Bend Indiana
254 Fairfield California
255 Erie Pennsylvania
256 Rochester Minnesota
257 High Point North Carolina
258 Richardson Texas
259 Richmond California
260 Burbank California
261 Berkeley California
262 Pompano Beach Florida
263 Norwalk California
264 Frisco Texas
265 Columbia Missouri
266 Gresham Oregon
267 Daly City California
268 Green Bay Wisconsin
269 Wilmington North Carolina
270 Davenport Iowa
271 Wichita Falls Texas
272 Antioch California
273 Palm Bay Florida
274 Odessa Texas
275 Centennial Colorado
276 Boulder Colorado