Training for special weapons and tactics team members is similar to the training used by elite athletes. SWAT team members are supposed to represent the most accomplished officers in police departments, capable of performing at their best in the most dangerous situations. Many SWAT members go through intense physical training during their off-hours after working a standard police shift.
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Strength training is a vital component of preparing to become a SWAT team member. At some point, all SWAT team members have to call on their physical strength to engage in defense or survival tactics. To become a SWAT team member, you have to prove your strength by reaching your department minimums in pushups, pullups and weighted dummy carries. Strength training exercises include pulldowns, bent-over rows and biceps curls.
One of the qualifying tests for SWAT team members is the assault dash. This requires the candidate to wear 18-pound body armor, a helmet and carry a rifle while sprinting 40 yards. The candidate must do eight-count bodybuilder pushups, squat thrusts and lunges prior to and after the 40-yard sprint.
Tactical Obstacle Course
The candidate must also compete on the half-mile obstacle course. This is done in exercise clothing and not tactical armor. There are three demanding tests that must be accomplished at the 220-yard mark, the 440-yard mark and the 660-yard mark. Those tests include two cone-running weaves and dragging a 175-pound victim 10 yards.
The physical testing is the most demanding aspect of making a SWAT team, but it is not the only requirement. The candidate must pass a written test concerning tactics and procedures, a firearms test that demonstrates a candidate's marksmanship abilities and a psychological exam. Once the candidate passes those tests, he is required to go before a review board and demonstrate his ability to think on his feet and make quick decisions.