The paradigm of physical fitness training has completely shifted at the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Basic Academy.  The days of single plane, single joint resistance training (bodybuilding) are gone.  The days of long, low intensity slow jogs are also gone.  Multi joint manipulation skills, multi planar movements, and exercises that mimic what peace officers WILL DO on duty are now common practice during Lifetime Fitness classes.  Anaerobic cardiovascular exercises such as sprinting, vaulting, jumping, and simulated struggles/fighting are now common practice during Lifetime Fitness classes.  Our basic exercises, and how they are combined, promote anaerobic power, anaerobic capacity, aerobic capacity, agility, sprint speed, flexibility/joint range of motion, and core fitness.  Other performance attributes that are improved upon are stamina, fast recovery, balance, stability, coordination, and proprioception.  Peace officers need to become powerful tactical athletes, not bodybuilders or marathon runners.    

The dominant training modality at the Academy is called High Intensity Interval Training. (H.I.I.T.)

Simply put, a number of different exercises are put together in a well thought out order to promote maximum gains for specific athletic and job relevant performances. These exercises typically engage more than one joint and muscle group at a time, and work through all three planes of movement.      


Common types of exercises include the following:

Push ups (many different variations)

Pull ups

90 degree angle crunches

Full sit ups

Leg lifts

Box jumps

Air squats

Lunges (many different variations)

Supermans (burpees with push up and jump)

Medicine ball work

Bear crawls

Broad jumps


Jump rope


Kettle bell swings

Versa ball struggle

Striking bags

Tire flips

**A good site to view these types of exercises is

Recruits will participate in Lifetime Fitness training 2 to 5 times per week, throughout the 26 week program.  A minimum Lifetime Fitness class lasts one hour, and includes a 10-15 minute warm up, 30-45 minute workout, and a 10-15 minute cool down.  The 30-45 minutes of work is H.I.I.T. with little to no rest.


Some free weight lifting will occur at the Academy, but only after a good level of physical fitness is achieved.

Suggested anaerobic resistance routines to get you started:

1) 10 -25 push ups, ¼ mile sprint, 5-10 pull ups, 25-50 crunches.

2) 10 -25 push ups, 1-2 min. jump rope, 5-10 pull ups, 10-25 kettle bell swings.

3) Bear Crawl 40 yards, broad jumps for 40 yards, inchworms for 40 yards, 25 -50 air squats.

4) 50 push ups, 50 walking lunges, 50 crunches, 50 air squats. 

The exercises are done in this order, with no rest, and then repeated again in the same order for a 20-30 minute time period.  Or you may test your mental toughness and push yourself to do one of these routines for a certain number of repetitions, affording yourself small rest periods, timing yourself to see how long it takes for you to complete.  For example, you may challenge yourself and say, “I am going to complete routine 3, five times and see how long it takes me.”  Then a week later, see if you can beat your time.


Running can also be used to develop your anaerobic capacity in addition to your aerobic capacity.  When running, it is important to focus on keeping your heart rate at anaerobic levels rather than just aerobic levels.  Without getting too scientific, anaerobic exercise is high intensity exercise where oxygen levels are depleted at the cellular level.  A short foot pursuit, a jump over a fence, and a fight for your life are anaerobic actions.  Running sprint intervals is a way to develop your anaerobic capacity.  Aerobic capacity is also an important conditioning need.  During aerobic exercise, such as slow jogging for long periods of time, oxygen is used to produce energy.  Improving your anaerobic capacity and your aerobic capacity not only improves your performance, but more importantly, improves your overall cardiovascular health.  

Suggested running routines to get you started:

1) 20 min. H.I.I.T. workout.  Intensity levels 1-10 (1 being a walking pace, 10 being an all out sprint.)

How it works:

Minutes 0-2 is at level 5 (warm up).

Minute 2-3 level 6, min. 3-4 level 7, min. 4-5 level 8, min. 5-6 level 9.

Minute 6-7 level 6, min. 7-8 level 7, min. 8-9 level 8, min. 9-10 level 9.

The above pattern is followed 2 more times for a total of 4 intensity increasing intervals. (16 mins. of work).

At minute 18-19, level 10 all out sprint for 1 minute. 

Minute 19-20, back down to level 5 (cool down).

You are done, 20 minutes of work.

Complete this only once a day, 3 to 4 times a week.  Your running will greatly improve.

2) Track workout #1

How it works:

1 mile warm up (medium pace jogging), one minute rest.

6 x ¼ mile sprint (high intensity pace), one minute rest between each ¼ mile.

½ mile cool down (slow pace jogging).

Complete once a week, keeping track of times to make sure there is improvement each week.

3) Track workout #2

How it works:

1 mile warm up, one minute rest.

2 x ½ mile sprints, one minute rest between sprints.

2 x ¼ mile sprints, one minute rest between sprints.

4 x 100 yard sprints, one minute rest between sprints.

½ mile cool down (slow pace jogging).

Once again, only complete this workout once a week.


If you have any questions regarding the physical training at the Basic Academy, please contact the Academy Sergeant at 925-427-8230.