Correctional officers are generally required to get the same training as other law enforcement officers. Typical police and corrections academy training includes academic learning, emotional preparation and physical training. Federal correctional organizations tend to have even more stringent training requirements for correctional officers. Prepare for the physical fitness rigors of any correctional officer academy with a workout program that includes daily running exercises, suggests the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Start out slowly and build up to an intense training routine to prepare for correctional officer training, recommends the LVMPD, especially if you’re not used to working out regularly. Interval training that includes daily running will help prepare you for the strength, agility, endurance and speed required for correctional officer training. Running exercises are essential for building up the stamina needed to withstand the physical challenges of a correctional officer academy, as well as the on-the-job physical challenges that follow. Typically, cadets must successfully complete the physical fitness portion of an officer training program during a four-week course that includes intense strength, stretching and running exercises before moving on to self-defense training, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. You must be able to run different distances at a 10-minute mile pace, including endurance runs and wind sprints, according to the LVMPD. Running obstacle courses successfully is also part of the fitness requirements.
Required distance runs, or endurance runs, are a mile or two long during initial correctional officer training, but the required distance is quickly ramped up. Cadets are usually required to complete regular endurance runs between five and six miles long during training, according to the LVMPD. Train for correctional officer academy endurance runs by running three to four times a week for two to three months. Start out running 1.5 miles at a 10-minute mile pace for the first week, and ramp up to 1.8 miles the next week. Starting with Week 3, increase your distance until you reach 3.5 miles, suggests LVMPD. Continue to work out four days a week. Don’t forget to warm up and stretch before and after exercise to avoid injury.
Performing regular wind sprints trains cadets to run faster in short distances. Like other types of high-intensity training, wind sprint training pushes physical limits and builds stamina. How well a cadet performs wind sprints demonstrates his fitness level. It’s easy to find places to practice wind sprints, especially since you don’t need much room to sprint. Do wind sprints outdoors, inside a gym or at another recreational facility with an open workout area. Run as fast as you can between two points until you feel winded. Perform several wind sprints and rest in between runs. Combine wind sprints with regular jogging to repeat a sprint/recover cycle for a maximum cardio workout. Start wind sprints in Week 2 or 3 of your pre-training program for correctional officer academy once you’ve gotten used to endurance running exercises.
Correctional officer academy cadets must successfully traverse obstacle courses during training. This training challenge requires agility as well as speed. The obstacle courses replicate on-the-job obstacles and maneuvers. You must be fit and flexible enough to respond quickly and efficiently to emergency situations. Use interval training to prepare for obstacle course running. Practice jumping exercises and stretches daily to maintain flexibility for obstacle course training.
- Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department: Physical Fitness Training 12 Week Preparation Program
- Oklahoma Department of Corrections: Oklahoma Correctional Career Development Center -- Participant Reference Guide
- Don McNea Fire School: Physical Agility Preparation
- Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission: Corrections Officer Physical Fitness