Specialist police perform high-risks tasks and are required to have and maintain a high level of
fitness. The aims of this study were to profile the strength, both absolute and relative, of a specialist
police unit and to investigate whether this profile remained constant over an 18-month period.
Retrospective data for 47 special operations police officers (mean initial weight = 88.84 ± 8.25 kg)
were provided. Officers were tested five times over 18 months. Tests performed were: 1 repetition
maximum (RM) bench press, squat, deadlift and pull up. All officers continued to participate in their
typical physical conditioning programs which were provided by a full time Strength and Conditioning
coach working in the unit. Sessions were typically conducted during work time. The coach and
officers were blinded to the testing requirement (i.e. for research). Repeated-measures ANOVAs
with Bonferroni post-hoc adjustments or Friedman tests with Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used
to compare strength values across all five time points (TPs). Alpha levels were set at 0.05.
All strength values increased significantly with no significant changes in bodyweight over the 18-
month period. Over the five TPs, absolute squat increased the most (+9%: initial mean=125.79 ±
24.53 kg), followed by absolute bench press (+8%: initial mean = 109.67 ± 19.80 kg), absolute
deadlift (+7%: initial mean = 151.64 ± 26.31 kg) and absolute pull up (+4%: initial mean = 121.43 ±
14.91 kg). A similar result was found in relative terms with the highest increase found with the squat
(+8%: initial mean = 1.42 ± 0.25%), followed by the bench press (+7%: initial mean = 1.24 ± 0.20%),
deadlift (+6%: initial mean = 1.71 ± 0.25%) then pull up (+4%: initial mean = 1.37 ± 0.15%). The period
between TP3 and TP4 yielded the fewest significant increases compared with other TP differences
with only absolute bench press (+1.7%), absolute squat (+1.1%) and relative bench press (+1.6%)
changing significantly (p < 0.05).
Specialist police can maintain, even increase strength, while serving in specialist units if provided
with a Strength and Conditioning coach and time to train. Strength profiles of specialist police
officers can change and should be monitored constantly with no single time point used to categorise