Challenged to Pass the POPAT
With her regular workouts and active participation on a hockey team, Danna considered herself to be in pretty good shape. She enjoyed Crosstraining & Fitness classes, as well as personal training sessions over the past four years.
One of her first fitness goals was to lose weight (she lost 15 lbs) and to improve her overall level of fitness. Then she decided she wanted to pursue a career in the Vancouver Police Department—and part of the applicant screening process for admission involves a physical abilities test called the POPAT (Police Officer Physical Abilities Test). Danna gave herself a year to prep for the test, which includes:
- 1.5 mile mobility and agility circuit run
- controlling 80 lbs of resistance
- doing a squat-thrust-and-stand with a three-foot vault rail
- carrying a torso bag over 25 feet
In order to pass, participants had to perform all activities as per protocol and complete the timed portion in 4:15. Two months before her test, Danna felt confident enough to run through the practise POPAT at a facility. She was shocked with the results: “I could barely breathe and was just scraping by!” She turned to Pepe, her personal trainer, to significantly change her training program. And, more importantly, to push her to succeed: “I thought I could achieve it on my own, but I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough.” They worked on specific techniques such as pushing pulling, vaulting and stairs, as well as metabolic conditioning and interval running. In August, Danna passed the POPAT and was really happy with her results. With that hurdle out of the way, she is now going through the other steps required to gain admittance to the training program. Pepe notes, “Danna was very motivated…with each goal attained, her confidence in her abilities grew. We’re at the point now that there’s no question whether she can repeat her performance – but by how much would she beat her personal bests.” No matter what law enforcement training program you are after, each one has a physical abilities test: municipal police have POPAT, RCMP have PARE (Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation) and sheriffs have SOPAT (Sheriff’s Officer Physical Abilities Test). Firefighters have CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test). Most of the tests appear to be easy…but don’t be fooled. Give yourself time to prepare—on your own, with a personal trainer or through a specific program. Then practise the test, as many times as you need to, through an organization such as LEPAT who has all the testing equipment and certified assessors. Three questions for Danna: What motivates you? “Once I saw the results, I wanted to work harder…And now I really want to keep this level (of fitness) that I worked so hard to get. If I miss my workout, it doesn’t feel right.” What do you like about working out with a trainer? “A trainer pushes me way harder than I’d push myself…he gets me to do things I wouldn’t do on my own.” Your advice? “Accept help (to achieve your goal)—even if you don’t think you need it. Sometimes another person can inspire you to go farther than you ever imagined you could go.”