Law Enforcement Fitness Test – Advice on Push-ups & Endurance

Push-ups are not only a great way to build upper body strength and endurance as you train for the law enforcement physical fitness test, but they are a good functional exercise.

The push-up test is a basic part of the PFT used by law enforcement agencies to assess upper body fitness. If you fail the push-up test or you don’t do enough push-ups, you’ll likely get eliminated for future hiring considerations. To avoid failing the physical fitness test, I recommend following a law enforcement specific workout program.

Why Worry About Upper Body Strength and Endurance as You Prepare For the Law Enforcement Fitness Test?

Strength and endurance in the muscles of the upper body, specifically the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core, is a good indication of overall fitness. This simple exercise engages muscles throughout the entire body, from head to toe, in order to maintain a rigid position. Upper body strength and endurance is essential for police officers, FBI agents, ATF, DEA, Border Patrol, and correctional officers who demand strength and power from their arms and shoulder to perform well while on duty. A strong upper body is also important for everyone who wants to perform everyday movements such as carrying luggage or picking up children with ease and without risking injury.

Primary Muscles Used During the Law Enforcement Push-Up Test

  • Shoulders (Anterior and Medial Deltoids))
  • Chest (Pectorals)
  • Back of the Upper Arm (Triceps)

How to Perform the Push-Up Test

While performing push-ups, you lift nearly 75% of your total body weight.
Standard Push-Up Test

  • Perform a short warm up before performing any fitness testing.
  • Begin in a push up position on hands and toes with hands shoulder-width apart and elbows fully extended.
  • While keeping a straight line from the toes, to hips, and to the shoulders, lower your upper body so your elbows bend to 90 degrees.
  • Push back up to the start position.
  • That is one rep.
  • Continue with this form and complete as many repetitions as possible without breaking form.
  • Record the total number of full push ups completed.

How to Score Your Push-Up Fitness Test Results

While training for the law enforcement push-up test, every now and then, compare your results to the recommendations for your age and gender with the following table. To assess your training progress, you can do the push-up test every 8 to 12 weeks.

Push Up Fitness Test Results Comparison Chart:
Men Age: 20-29 Age: 30-39 Age: 40-49 Age: 50-59 Age: 60+
Excellent 54 or more 44 or more 39 or more 34 or more 29 or more
Good 45-54 35-44 30-39 25-34 20-29
Average 35-44 24-34 20-29 15-24 10-19
Poor 20-34 15-24 12-19 8-14 5-9
Very Poor 20 or fewer 15 or fewer 12 or fewer 8 or fewer 5 or fewer
Women Age: 20-29 Age: 30-39 Age: 40-49 Age: 50-59 Age: 60+
Excellent 48 or more 39 or more 34 or more 29 or more 19 or more
Good 34-48 25-39 20-34 15-29 5-19
Average 17-33 12-24 8-19 6-14 3-4
Poor 6-16 4-11 3-7 2-5 1-2
Very Poor 6 or fewer 4 or fewer 3 or fewer 2 or fewer 1 or fewer