Tuesday, May 3, 2011

READING: Force Science News #176

Today I post a transmission from the Force Science Research Center, an organization that is likely to be completely foreign to you. It's a science-based organization that examines various behaviors, emotions, physiology, and circumstances during police use of force incidents - specifically deadly force.

While the online archives aren't yet updated to include Transmission #176, I found another site that posts the essay in entirety. Click HERE to read it. Then read my commentary below...

In summary, cops reach exhaustion within 60 seconds of fighting. Even those in good physical shape!

  • Perhaps surprisingly, this seemed true even of officers with a high level of personal fitness and fighting skill. Blocksidge offers this explanation: “Fitter officers delivered faster and more powerful strikes,” expending greater effort and thus exhausting their presumably greater reserves in “roughly the same time” as those less fit and skilled.
However, what it also points out is that those with good conditioning were delivering more forceful strikes (AKA more power). Does this suggest that officers with more powerful or more rapid strikes, blows, kicks, or knees will stop the threat, thereby ending the fight more quickly? I can surmise yes. So if we have 30 seconds of "fighting time," the officer with more numerous and stronger punches may fare better. Does the fitter officer accomplish in 20 seconds what the more out of shape officer completes in 60 seconds?

We have long known the importance of anaerobic training for these "typical" use of force incidents. YET OVER AND OVER AGAIN I HEAR OF OFFICERS USING LONG DURATION "CARDIO" TRAINING METHODS IN THE GYM. Why? Why? Why? What infuriates me even more is the time that is being wasted in these long, slow workouts on bikes, elliptical machines, and treadmills. I'm not discounting them altogether. But the bulk of our physical training needs to be in HIGH-INTENSITY ANAEROBIC and INTERVAL training.

What does "high-intensity" mean? It means that the workout pace is done at such a blistering tempo, that you reach near-maximal effort for some SHORT duration (usually 30-90 seconds). Then after a recovery time (30-120 seconds), the fast pace is repeated. This can be applied to sprinting/running, weightlifting, gymnastics, fighting/sparring, or virtually any sort of workout discipline.

What I appreciate about the CrossFit brand workout system is the focus on intensity. Their workouts are generally short in time but with a high tempo.

If you are a law enforcement officer and haven't adopted a high-intensity, anaerobic-centric brand of workout session, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Comments, answers, debates are welcomed. However, I caution you that your argument (or excuse) will be responded to in a firm, professional, scientific, and heavily-cited manner. Come prepared. I am.


Inkster said...

Funny how adrenaline is the great equalizer. Consider this as well, if the more in shape officer is more startled than the less in shape officer, the in shape officer will tire at an even greater rate! All regulated by the startle response and the SNS. The other half of this “problem” is not fitness, but training. The more scenarios, as close to reality as possible, the better, simply by inoculating the officer to the startle.

George D said...

Spot on message!

Workouts require a high intensity level that will be equivalent to a life and death confrontation and tactical training needs a healthy dose of stress so there is both physical exhaustion and heart rate elevation produced by "fear".

The cops who engage in CrossFit like workouts and train under stressful conditions will perform the best and function the best during and after the incident.

Cops who don't train or who don't train with the reality of street encounters in mind need a constant reminder of Rippetoe's quote: "Stronger people are harder to kill and are generally more useful."