MTI’s LE Athlete Fitness Assessment

By Rob Shaul


We’ve identified 5 Fitness Attributes/Demands for Law Enforcement (Patrol/Detective) Athletes:

  1. Relative Strength – or strength per bodyweight
  2. Work Capacity – specifically sprinting
  3. Upper Body Hypertrophy – can be an intimidation factor
  4. TAC SEPA – Tactical Speed, Explosive Power, and Agility
  5. Chassis Integrity 

In general, a solid fitness assessment should:

  • Effectively assess the major fitness demands of the job
  • Deploy simple exercises using common equipment
  • Be efficient to administer and Easy to Score
  • Not take all day

Below is the MTI LE Athlete Fitness Assessment. At the bottom you will find notes which explain the reasoning behind the events, and what fitness attribute each assesses.


MTI’s LE Athlete Fitness Assessment

Warm Up:
3 Rounds
8x Front Squat @ 45#
8x Push ups
8x Situps
Instep Stretch

Get on a scale and weight yourself. Record Bodyweight.


(1) Max Reps Front Squats in 60 Seconds (Men at bodyweight, Women at 75% bodyweight)

8x Reps Front Squat @ 50% Bodyweight, Then
4x Reps Front Squat @ 75% Bodyweight, (50% bodyweight for women), Then
Max Reps Front Squat @ Bodyweight in 60 seconds

60 Second Time Limit. Athlete can “rest” in the standing position, holding the barbell on his chest in the “rack” position. Once he racks or drops the barbell, the effort is over. 

The athlete must lower the barbell until his thighs are at parallel or below. The top of the range of motion is standing with the hips locked out at full extension. Only full Range of Motion reps count.

The athlete may hold the barbell on his chest which his hands and arms in the “clean” position, or crossed in the “body building” front squat position. Clean position is preferred, but not required.



(2) Max Reps Bench Press in 60 Seconds (Men at bodyweight, Women at 75% bodyweight)

8x Reps Bench Press @ 50% Bodyweight, Then
4x Reps Bench Press @ 75% Bodyweight, Then
Max Reps Bench Press @ Bodyweight in 60 seconds

60 Second time limit. Athlete can “rest” in the up position, holding the barbell above his chest with elbows locked out. Once he racks the barbell, the effort is over. 

The athlete must lower the barbell until it touches his chest.  The top of the range of motion is elbows locked out. Only full Range of Motion reps count. 



(3) Max Reps Bodyweight Strict Pull Ups (men), Chin ups (women)

No Time Limit or warm up.

These are dead hang and strict, chin above bar pull ups for men (palms facing forward, away from face), chin ups for women (palms toward face). No kipping, no Bullshit.

The athlete can “rest” while hanging on the bar with both hands in the bottom position, but his feet cannot touch the ground or a bench.  



(4) Box Jumps in 60 Seconds for Reps @ 20/24” box (20″ for women, 24″ for men)

3x Box Jumps at 20/24”, Then
Max Reps Box Jump (20/24”) in 60 seconds

60 second time limit. Athlete must stand to full hip extension on top of box and step down each rep. 



(5) Max Reps Seated Russian Twist in 60 Seconds for Reps @ 35/45# Dumbbell

No warm up. On “Go” max reps in 60 seconds. Feet must stay off the ground for rep to count. Every time the dumbbell touches the ground counts as 1x Rep. Count total reps. 



(6) 300m Shuttle wearing IBA, Weapon and Duty Belt,  for Time

No Warm Up. Event must start within 5 minutes of finishing box Jumps.
Athlete must wear his or her IBA, weapon and duty belt.


300m Finishing Time
in Seconds      Score
70 or less            20
71                         19
72                         18
73                         17
74                         16
75                         15
76                         14
77                         13
78                         12
79                         11
80                         10
81                           9
82                           8
83                           7
84                           6
85                           5
86                           4
87                           3
88                           2
89                           1
90                           0
90+                    FAIL




Bench Press reps x1
Front Squat reps x1
Strict Pull ups x1
Box Jumps x1
Seated Russian Twists x.5
300m Shuttle – Based on Finish Time – see above

Here’s an example on how to score the test:
Bench Press – 10 reps = 10 points
Front Squat – 10 reps = 10 points
Pull ups – 12 reps = 12 points
Box Jumps – 25 reps = 25 points
Russian Twists – 50 Reps = 25 Points
300m Shuttle, 75 Sec = 15 points

TOTAL: 10+10+12+25+25+15 = 97 points


Scoring Standards

Minimum passing score is 60

However, failure to get one rep on any event and/or complete the 300m shutting under 90 Seconds results in a disqualification.

– 60 is a passing score
– 80 is a good score
– 110 is a good score
– 130 is a great score


Notes and Explanations

Bench Press, Front Squat and Pull Ups/Chin Ups
Together, these three classis strength exercises assess the athletes’ relative strength in a safe, efficient manner. Using bodyweight for men for load, and 75% of bodyweight for women automatically “scales” the loading to the individual athlete.

Box Jumps
The 60 second box jumps for reps allow us to test explosive power, agility and work capacity with one exercise. This is a deceptively hard event.

Seated Russian Twist
This exercise assesses chassis integrity and mid-section strength and strength endurance and to a lesser extent grip strength and grip strength endurance.

300m Shuttle wearing IBA, Weapon and Duty Belt,  for Time
The 300m shuttle, under load, is a transferable, functional assessment of tactical work capacity …. repeated shuttles, under load.


Common Questions

Why the 60 second time limit for the bench press and front squat?
The time limit helps ensure these two exercises are assessed very efficiently – especially with multiple athletes taking the assessment concurrently. If allowed to rest with the barbell in the “up” position for both exercises, some strong athletes could conceivably stay under the barbell for 3+ minutes.

Why the front squat instead of the back squat? Isn’t the back squat more common?
We chose the front squat for two reasons. First, it’s a safer exercise for this type of assessments. If the athletes “fails” in the bottom of the squat, he/she can safely escape the barbell by dumping it forward. Second, we’ve found that for an athlete with an upper and lower body strength balance, their rep numbers for these two exercises should be very close. Significant divergence in total reps indicates a strength imbalance. We’ve found strong endurance athletes, who haven’t spent much time in the gym, will show a disparity with a higher front squat rep number. Powerlifters/meatheads and bodybuilders who lift mostly upper body will demonstrate a strength imbalance for the upper body and the bench press.

Why bench press instead of push ups?
High push ups indicate good strength endurance, not good relative strength.

Why include pull ups? Why have women do chin ups (palms toward face)?
Pull ups test upper body pulling strength and give some indication of upper body press and upper body pulling strength balance. In our experience, women simply struggle at pull ups. They find chin ups easier and still assess upper body pulling strength.


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