Tag Archives: sandbag

Jordan’s Top 5 Exercises for Law Enforcement Athletes


1. Power Curl

Hips plus biceps equals the Power Curl. This movement develops explosive hip extension with bicep pulling power, both essential movements for a law enforcement officer who must explosively exit a patrol car and wrestle a suspect to the ground while controlling them. It’s simple, hard, and targeted for areas where LEOs need to be strong.

2. Sandbag Get-ups

Not much needs to be said here if you’ve ever done a Sandbag Get-up. These things train your core in a way nothing else will, sure, but they also train – how to say this – the “between” muscles. The muscles in your body that are (often) neglected like those toys on the Island of Misfit Toys in that Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie that comes on every Christmas. Additionally, each rep requires a lunge, so don’t think I’ve left out lunging – an essential movement to be sure. What is a Sandbag Get-up? It’s a flexion, rotation, isometric brace, and extension for your midsection. If you do them regularly, you’ll have one jacked island of toys, no longer neglected like misfits. In all seriousness, though, SBGUs build a strong midsection, which protects vulnerable limbs by allowing greater control over them, leading to career longevity and operational readiness throughout.

3. Bench

Whether it’s keeping a suspect at arms length or pushing them away from you to create distance, you need a strong chest and shoulders to overpower them. Bench trains pushing power better than almost anything, focusing on the big muscles of the chest and tricep to do the work. Plus, an LEO with a barrel chest under body armor is downright scary – fear is a great form of crime prevention or resistance suppression when you’re the one who’s on the ground level with your life on the line.

4. Craig Special

This great combination movement (Hang Squat Clean plus Front Squat) trains power and strength for every rep. LEOs need strong hips, not for lifting more weight, but rather for explosive sprints to chase down bad guys. It also teaches great bracing and extension strength for the midsection to keep you durable, injury-free, and in control of vulnerable limbs. A strong midsection is the transmission for a big engine.

5. 300m Shuttle Sprints

Not only is this a great test of fitness, but it’s also one of the best ways to train anaerobic endurance, speed, multidirectional agility, acceleration, and to develop plyometric ability in your lower body. It doesn’t require a lot of space, so it’s practical. Perhaps most importantly, 300m Shuttle Sprints never get easier, you just get faster. There a good compliment to Craig Specials since they translate the strength and power gained with that lift to useable strength in the field. If you can do 4 in a row as fast as you can with 1:15 rest between efforts, you’re well on your way.


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MTI’s Top 5 Exercises for Law Enforcement Athletes

By Rob Shaul

These are our top 5 exercises we’re using in our programming for law enforcement athletes.


1. Standing Sandbag Halfmoon

This one exercise trains the legs, core and lungs (Tactical Chassis), plus grip strength and total body power and explosion. Perfect for a Law Enforcement Athlete. 


2. Walking Lunge

Loaded walking lunges train legs, butt, and core. I like them better than squats for Law Enforcement Athletes because I believe they transfer better to sprinting speed. LE Athletes need to be able to sprint.


3. Bench Press

A classic upper body pressing movement, I prefer the Bench Press for LE Athletes because it can be used to train upper body explosive power, strength and mass. Using the dynamic method (low weight, fast/explosive reps) the Bench Press can train upper body power. With heavy loads and few reps, the Bench Press trains upper body strength. Finally, with moderate loading and relatively high-rep sets (sets of 8+) I can us the Bench Press to put mass on an officer.  A big chest and arms can act as a deterrent for criminals.


4. 150m Shuttle Sprints

Law Enforcement Officer need to be able to sprint – both in a speed/strength capacity, and also from a work capacity perspective – without getting gassed prematurely. 150m Shuttle Sprint Repeats trains both. 



5. Power Curl

A pulling movement to balance the bench press, the Power Curl not only trains the back and biceps, but also include a hip explosion power movement. It can simply get Officers big and strong.



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Q&A 6-26-2014

I’m a LEO, just started on the Rat 6 program, at the same time I just found out theres SWAT tryouts 3 – 4 months out. Can you recommend a couple of programs (Training Plan) that I can get to prep between now and Oct.

What I’ve been able to gather from the forums, It’s a timed obstacle course with flak jacket and some gear. The course will have to be a run/sprint, jumping wall/s (7+ feet), and fences, going through windows, 1/2- 1 mile run(?) dummy drag (150 lbs?), and a rope climb.

Thanks, I really appreciate it.

I don’t have a plan specifically for that type of event, but one that is fairly close is our Sandbag/Weightvest/Dumbbell Training Plan (http://militaryathlete.com/page.php?page_ID=12&cart_category_ID=101&cart_ID=103). I’d recommend completing this plan the 6 weeks directly before selection. In addition – you should practice scaling walls/fences in your vest/IBA.

I’m not sure on your time, but if there’s a break between completing Rat 6 and starting the Sandbag/Weightvest/Dumbbell Training Plan I’d recommend the SWAT/SRT Kickstart Plan (http://store.strongswiftdurable.com/collections/le-athlete/products/swat-srt-kickstart-training-program).

– Rob
Hey Rob,

For the 8 x 40 foot shuttle every 60 seconds – does each 40′ length count as 1 rep or is it down&back = 1 rep?



M –

Each length counts as one rep, so a round trip would be 2x reps.

– Rob
I do not have sandbags and was wondering if there is an possible substitute for exercises like the toss and chase and sandbag get up. Thanks!

– C
You can do Barbell Burpees for the toss and chase. Use a 45# barbell.

Sandbag get up? Hold a 12kg kettlebell or dumbbell to your chest.

– Rob


I was looking at your LE Athlete plans, and I noticed the 6 week FBI plan does not specify what equipment is required or how many sessions per week are in the plan. I will be going to the FBI Academy in a little over 2 months and would appreciate this information before deciding to purchase the plan.

Thank you,
Hi A.

A fully-equipped gym is recommended.
• Stopwatch, preferably one that can record lap times.
• Kettlebells, preferably a range from 8-24kg; but if you’re limited, 12 kg for females and 16kg for males will work.
• Dumbells, preferably a range from 15-25#; but if you’re limited, just a 15# (females) and 25# (males) will work.
• 45# Barbell.
• Enough plates to achieve a difficult but doable load.
• Weight Rack with hooks.

– Rob

Been following your stuff for about a year. Any other programming feels incomplete so thanks for all the work you put into it.

Those 300m shuttles built into the body weight program are a killer. As this is supposed to be a density effort, what matters more, and what’s the goal? Completing each round max effort to learn how to deal with less rest time each week, or getting a consistent time each round?

Second, unrelated question. How will SSD programming differ from MA? Any way to preview a sample?



C –

300m Shuttles – goal is to “sprint to the rest” each round – so full on sprint. In general with density efforts, you’ll start a little more tired each round, and finish a little slower so you’ll get less rest.

SSD Programming? It won’t include any climbing specific, rock gym work. Endurance work won’t be limited to step ups and running, and programming/cycle objectives will have more freedom – for example, right now we work core training into every cycle, but with SSD I’ll have the freedom to do a “Core Strength Cycle.” We can also have cycles focused on short sprint power and speed plus core strength and upper body hypertrophy.

SSD will still be performance driven, but won’t be tied to specific outside performance like our mountain, military and LE programming. This gives me some exciting new areas to explore and have fun with. I’m really excited to begin.

Examples? None yet I can share.

– Rob

Hey coach, I was reading your “Strong Swift Durable” article on LE Athlete last week. I saw that you stated that your intention later this year is to start up a Firefighter Athlete site. I got to thinking and recalled in your “One Officer At A Time” article that you reached out to numerous Law Enforcement Officers and Agencies to help Lab Rat the initial start up phase of LE Athlete and no one participated. If you are having the same problem when the time comes to start up Firefighter Athlete I would love to help you guys out if you needed it.

I have been a Full Time Firefighter for the city of Coshocton, Ohio now for 3 years. I followed the Operator Sessions on Military Athlete for roughly 2 years then switched over to LE Athlete when you started it this year. Before all that I served 4 years in the Marine Corps Infantry. My best friend is a Green Beret and introduced me to your programming. His ODA uses it as their day to day fitness model. Your programming theory and application is unmatched in my opinion and I am very excited about you bringing it to the Professional Firefighter Community. If you’re interested in bringing in career firefighters to lab rat for the initial introduction of the programming I would love to help out. Let me know if I can be of service. Thanks for all that you do.


Hi J – 

Thanks for the great note.
My hope is to begin programming for Fire and Rescue Athletes this summer/early fall. We’ll reach out, again, to our local firefighters and I really hope they’ll be more responsive.
On the LE side we’ve actually got small teams of guys at local departments in California, Iowa and Massachusetts lab ratting the Officer Sessions, in addition to the civilians here in my lab at Jackson. I’m guessing we’ll be doing the same for the Fire Rescue programming.
We’ll announce the start of the site, and advertise for lab rats if needed – love to get you involved and get your feedback.
– Rob