How to Prepare


The Pennsylvania State Police Academy training program is designed to successfully prepare you for a career with the Pennsylvania State Police. The training program is multifaceted and is extremely mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding. Challenges will be presented to you on a daily basis to successfully prepare you for a career as a Pennsylvania State Trooper. It is paramount that you come to the Academy with the appropriate mindset and a well-established fitness foundation in order to successfully complete the Academy.


The Function of the Physical Education (P.E.) Unit

The training sessions with the P.E. Unit are intense and physically demanding. All sessions are geared toward tactical police skills, including but not limited to handcuffing, prisoner control, self-defense, ground fighting, pain compliance tactics, vehicle removal, weapon disarming, and the use of less lethal weapons.

It is the mission of the P.E. Unit that Cadets graduate and start their respective careers in elite physical condition and are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to complete the tasks faced as a Trooper. Below are several components that prospective Cadets should acknowledge:


  1. Training sessions require active involvement from Cadets.
  2. Training sessions are intense and repetitive. We train at a higher level than what is required for entry level standards.
  3. All instructional training sessions begin with a thorough callisthenic warm-up routine that includes repetitive sets of body weight exercises such as sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, medicine ball, and rope climbs.
  4. It is imperative that Cadets arrive with a strong and functional fitness foundation.
  5. Arriving prepared will enable the Cadet to actively participate in the training sessions.
  6. Arriving with a strong fitness foundation can reduce the chance of injuries and premature physical breakdown.
  7. Training sessions are conducted outside in all weather conditions and over rugged terrain.
  8. Running on the treadmill will not adequately prepare you for the rigorous training to which Cadets will experience daily.


Arrive Prepared

Apart from meeting the entry level standards as listed on the website, it is highly suggested that Cadets be able to complete the below listed exercises upon arrival. The P.E. Unit has reasonable expectations that Cadets are able to complete the exercises listed below upon arrival. The ability to complete these challenges will greatly assist the Cadet in successfully participating in the daily training program with the P.E. Unit.


  1. Run four (4) miles continuously, without stopping at a pace between 8-11 minutes per mile.
  2. Run up a hill/incline for 100 yards without stopping.
  3. Complete 30 consecutive pushups, without stopping.
  4. Complete 30 consecutive sit-ups, without stopping.
  5. Complete 8 consecutive pull-ups, without stopping.
  6. Bench press 85% of your body weight.


What Is YOUR Fitness Foundation?

  1. Ask yourself the above listed question and answer it truthfully.
  2. Consult your physician. Advise your physician that you plan to enter the PSP Academy and that you want to commence a well-rounded training program that includes good nutrition and physical activity.
  3. Ask your physician for guidelines.
  4. Set realistic goals for your health, weight, and fitness improvements.
  5. Document your training sessions, your deficiencies, and your progress.
  6. Establish a fitness foundation based on good nutrition and challenging physical training sessions.
  7. Do not wait until weeks before attending the Academy to establish your fitness foundation – begin today!


Training suggestions

  1. If you have very little or no exercise experience/training, start with small changes.
    1. Develop healthy habits.
      1. Regular eating patterns.
      2. Regular sleeping patterns.
      3. Regular exercise patterns/physical training sessions.
    2. Monitor food intake.
      1. Eat quality foods that are nutritious.
      2. Make healthy choices.
        1. Increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
        2. Increase whole grain consumption.
        3. Consume lowfat/nonfat dairy.
      3. Reduce/eliminate empty calorie foods like candy, desserts, soft drinks, alcohol, etc.
    3. Establish a cardiovascular program that is progressive and challenging, based on your initial fitness level.
      1. Start with walking for a predetermined amount of time on a set number of days.
      2. Increase the duration of the walk, increase the number of days you walk, and include some challenging terrain such as hill climbing, stair climbing, hiking, etc.
      3. Progress into a running program, the same as you did for walking.
      4. Remember to progressively challenge yourself.
      5. Consider entering into a local race to gauge your progress.
  2. If you have been physically active and meet the entry level requirements, it is still important that you create and maintain a progressively challenging program that will prepare you for the PSP Academy. Consider the following suggestions:
    1. Running several times throughout the week.
    2. Cross training such as cycling, swimming, etc.
    3. Interval training
    4. Plyometric training
    5. Weight training/Circuit training


Bottom line: It is important that you come to the Academy both physically and mentally prepared. Take the initiative to prepare yourself well in advance of reporting to the Academy. Provide us with a good foundation of mental and physical preparedness and we will help mold you into a Pennsylvania State Trooper – A Soldier of the Law!