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Too Skinny?


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  • Too Skinny?

    Hello! This is my first post here, glad to be on board.
    I'm 20 years old, and currently a junior at Northeastern University studying sociology. I'm interested in a possible career working as a LEO. I have a 3.0 gpa, have been working at the same place for the last 4.5 years, and currently am looking into getting a co-op job through NU working security as a resume builder. My main question is this: how much do I need to work on my body if I want to pass a department's physical test? I am an avid cyclist, last season I rode upwards of 800 miles, so I'm not worried about cardio or leg stregth - what I'm worried about is my uppper body -- I don't really have one.

    I'm 6'3 and 170 lbs. What advice would you guys give for building some upper body strength?

    Secondly, I would consider myself an introvert, but I have no trouble talking to people and dealing with them (I've worked customer service for the last 4.5 years), but I was wondering if I'm 'too nice' to be a cop, as I think I might have a hard time being forceful with people, though I probably could learn to be better at it, is there such a thing as being 'too polite' to be a cop?

    Thanks a lot,
    "If you want to test a man's character, give him power."
    - Abraham Lincoln

    Regis College Campus Police Officer

  • #2
    Hey.. Well you have the education part out of the way.. NU is a great school. My roommate graduated from there and he has a similar issue. There is no problem with being TOO polite. You should be polite when dealing with anyone. You have to be able to stop being polite when the time calls for it. You have to be able to stop asking someone to put their hands behing there back and then make them if neccessary. You might have a problem if you can't be forecful with people. Not saying you have to be a jerk, but like i said you have to be nice till its time to not be nice anymore. As far as strength is concerned, i would just gradually start working out your upper body. Being 6'3" 170, that is kind of skinny. But its not that big of an issue. Just start doing some bench and do a pyramid style. I.E, 135x10, 145x8, 155x6, etc til you get to the top and then work your way back down. If you keep that up, you increase your upper body strengh dramatically. Doing push ups before you go to bed at night is also good. If you find yourself watching tv too much, which i used to do, i would just do 50 push ups each commercial break. By the time you've watched tv for an hour your arms will be mush. But it helps that upper body strength. Well good luck!


    • #3
      as for strength, steriods are the only alternative

      but yeah, what akman said sounds pretty good.


      • #4
        Re: Too Skinny?

        Originally posted by FredH
        - what I'm worried about is my uppper body -- I don't really have one.
        Hey FredH.

        I too am getting ready for the physical as we speak (type). It's three weeks from this saturday, 4/24.

        I was the same way you are, concerned about upperbody strength. The req for the dept. Im applying to in 29 push ups without stopping.

        I had found out about the date of the physcial around early december. So from that day, dec. 6, I started working on my upperbody.

        The first day i started my workout i tried to do the push up req and i could only do 9.. ug. So i knew i had so work to do.

        Basically what i did is pretty much what akman did. I started doing push ups in the pyramid style. Do 1 then rest, 2 - rest, 3 - rest, 4 -rest, u get the point. By time you get done. It's 55 push ups.

        Then at the gym i worked mainly shoulders, chest and arms on the machines. I've never worked out before so I wanted to use the machines to work my stabilizer muscles, in an effort to reduce injuries. Part of my work out is also running, but you said that your ok in the cardio area.

        I am going 5 days a week, mon-fri, from dec. until today. Currently lost 18 lbs. and figure i put on about 3-5 lbs of muscle.

        The biggest key anytime one is working out is diet. You prob are going to need some sort of 'loading' diet. So you can the correct amount of protein and calories to increase muscle mass.

        I used this site. There are great meal plans and work out schedules.

        Hope that helps!


        • #5
          more advice

          Take it from me, make sure you're working out the right way. I failed my first agility test because I only focused on my chest (thinking it would be enough for me to get through the test). Unfortunately, come test time, I couldn't even bench 180lbs one time!! Since then, I learned to not only focus on my chest, but also shoulders, triceps, biceps, and even my upper back. Last few tests I've taken, I've handled 185lbs like it was nothing and I'm currently working out with 210.....

          Just focus on working all of your muscles and you'll pass the agility tests....besides, it's amazing how failing a test can really motivate you!

          Good luck!


          • #6
            How big do you need to be? I'm 6'02"/178# (just checked it on the scale at the Planetarium, so it's gotta be right!) So far, I haven't had any problems. I think common courtesy plays a large roll in that. You know how it is: I'm a skinny guy, so I can't afford to be a jerk. On the other hand, when it comes time to go to work, you have all the same weapons as anyone else. You may even be better off, since you can't simply throw everyone down on the ground and step on their genitalia. You've had to use your brain and think about what you're going to do. Remember that you can still strike those nerve bundles and pressure points, you can still utilize surprise, and you're 170 pounds of dead weight if nothing else. And you've got a radio to get a bunch of other 170 pound dead weights if you need them.

            As for your P.T. test, you need to concentrate largely on you cardio stuff. Train to do the requisite pushups, crunches or whatever, but if you get winded, you're done. One suggestion for you beyond the test: If your department doesn't do enough or any defensive tactics training, get yourself into a martial arts class. Something combative and grapling intensive. Hapkido, juijitsu, aikido...anything like that.


            • #7
              You'll be okay. Strength Training takes time 8 months plus to notice any difference. Bulk up by eating the right foods and working out with the advice of a pro trainer. I would consider stamina, being able to run and walk for distance and time and even stand in one place better the bulk at this point. I couldn't gain weight in my early 20's either and wish now I could loose more then my body will allow.


              • #8
                The part of your post that concerns me is the part about being 'too polite'. Yes, you can get dead from being too polite. Some time back the FBI interviewed a large number of convicted cop killers, and then went back and investigated the circumstances. The one consistant fact was the officers were always described the same way:
                "A great guy, give you the shirt off his back, always looking for the best in people, always gave folks a break..."

                A dispasionate review of how the officers died revealed that they gave the wrong person a break, and made bad decisions, like cuffing people in front, or not searching completely.

                You must be able to, in an instant, switch from "nice guy mode" to 'warrior mode'. Bad guys have learned to yell "stop hitting me" while they beat the snot out of you. You need to be able to WIN, using force when needed. If you cannot face that, police work may not be for you.
                "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                John Stuart Mill


                • #9
                  You can be polite and still be cautious. A lot of police confrontations start when the officer starts running HIS mouth off first.

                  I gave everyone about 45 seconds of polite police service as long as they were not being physical. It's hard to continue to be a jerk to someone being nice to you. After 45 seconds, all bets were off though.

                  There's nothing wrong with being nice, but learn to be self confident enough that they don't mistake being kind as being afraid. You'll learn that with time. And don't sweat the size stuff. You'll fill out, you're still young. I was 6-1, 165 when I started and within a few years I was pushing 200. Just make sure it's size and not fat though. I had to work out for a number of years before I started getting size. For a long time, I just got wirey.
                  "Life's tough, it's tougher if you're stupid." John Wayne


                  • #10
                    I'm a skinny guy too... 6'1" and a little over 160# right now. I've been killing myself in the gym for the past two months, and have been steadily increasing the weights on all the amchines I'm using. My PAT is on Monday (eek!). The running part is a quarter mile in 100 seconds... I don't know how well that's gonna go :-) I just found this out a week ago, and hed been working on the assumption that, like most departments around me, the running would be 1.5 miles in 15 minutes. Oh well... I was a better sprinter than LD runner in high school, and as long as I don't drop dead of a heart attack after giving 150,000% to make that run, I ought to be OK.

                    Basically, I haven't been "focusing" on anything... I've been doing a little of everything. I figure I'm better off to be in better overall shape than to have fantastically defined biceps or something, but be weak and flabby everywhere else :-)


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