Plans and Sessions

Cooper Test Strategy

Cooper Test Strategy

To improve performance on the Cooper Physical Fitness Test.

Your department/precinct may differ in the order of events, or even in the event selection. This plan prescribes the exact event order given by the Cooper Institute, but it may not match your local protocol. Follow your local protocol over the protocol in this plan for any differences.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

This program follows a general format and gets progressively harder each week. The plan is designed to build upon itself. If you have to miss a training day, start where you left off.

Here’s the Week 1 and 4 schedule (assessment weeks):

Monday: Cooper Assessment
Tuesday: Push-ups, Sit-ups, Bench Press
Wednesday: Vertical Jump Leg Strength Assessment, 300m Run, 1.5 mile Run
Thursday: Push-ups, Sit-ups, Bench Press
Friday: Vertical Jump Leg Strength Assessment, 300m Run, 1.5 mile Run

And here’s Weeks 2, 3, 5, and 6 schedule:

Monday: Push-ups, Sit-ups, Bench Press
Tuesday: Vertical Jump, 300m Run, 1.5 mile Run
Wednesday: Core/Durability
Thursday: Push-ups, Sit-ups, Bench Press
Friday: Vertical Jump, 300m Run, 1.5 mile Run

EXERCISE PROGRESSIONS

During this train-up every number of repetitions you perform is based on the number of repetitions or times you completed during your latest Cooper Test or Vertical Jump Leg Strength Assessment.

Example:
Athlete performs 35x Push-ups, 50x Sit-ups on initial Cooper Test during SESSION 1.

Session 2 from the plan calls for:

4 Rounds

30% max reps Push-ups

30% max reps Sit-ups

10x Air Squats

30% of 35x Push-ups is 11 (.3 x 35 = 10.5, round up to 11) and 30% of 50x Sit-ups is 15 (.3 x 50 = 15). So, you’ll do 11x Push-ups, 15x Sit-ups, and 10x Air Squats every round for four rounds. You don’t have to sprint through the circuit – it’s not a work cap. You simply want to work briskly, limiting you rest as much as possible. However, you can break sets if you need to; try to limit rests/breaks to 5 breaths before performing at least one more rep.

Vertical Jump Leg Strength Assessment

This assessment is designed to improve your leg strength for vertical jumping, an important factor in how high you jump. You’ll perform the session in Sessions 3 and 18. It follows:

Max reps in 20 sec. of the following movements:

Air Squat

Lunges

Jump Lunges

Jump Squats

The whole thing should take you 80 sec. Don’t rest between movements, just transition right into the next as each 20 sec. interval expires.

Think of this as a single event, unbroken, of four different movements. Record reps performed for each individual movement (so your should have 4 numbers after the assessment).

You’ll use your results in the following circuits, which are progressed:

4 Rounds – use SESSION 3 results

30% max reps Air Squat

30% max reps Lunges

30% max reps Jump Lunges

30% max reps Jump Squats

Rest 30 sec.

Where you’ll figure 30% of each movement using the same process in the prior example. Now, this is a leg intensive circuit, so plan for your legs to burn. You want to work through the 4 movements in the same manner as the assessment: back to back, no rest. You may have to pause to give your legs a bit of a break, but again, limit your rest. We give you 30 sec. at the end to recover before the next round. Use the full 30 sec., then start immediately.

RUN PROGRESSION TABLES

The training plan includes scaled paces based on your 1.5 mile assessment time.  Use your latest 1.5 mile assessment time for the subsequent training sessions.

We use interval training to improve your run. The interval distances are shorter, and pace faster, than your latest assessment pace. You’ll run 800m intervals to train the 1.5 mile run.

These are scaled to your latest assessment time, and dictate the pace you need to keep for each repeat. The tables are self-explanatory, and easy to figure out as you work through the training plan.

There is no table for the 300m sprinting effort. Instead, you’ll perform these sprint intervals as fast as you possibly can each effort, rest for a sufficient amount of time, and repeat. Though there are no time demands in the program, a drop in your 300m runs should be observable over the course of the program.

COMMON QUESTIONS

What equipment is needed to complete this program?

Bench for Bench Press

Enough weight to find a Bench Press 1RM

400m track

Stopwatch

What if I miss a day?

Start where you left off. The plan is designed to be completed in order.

What if I have less than 6 weeks before I officially test?

Still start at the beginning of this training plan.

What if I can’t make the prescribed reps for the bodyweight exercises, or the prescribed interval times for the runs? 

Do your best, and break sets if you need. Be sure to do the total number of rounds, even if you can’t make the reps unbroken. Don’t quit.

What if the bench press percentages are too high for me to get all the reps? What if they feel too light after a couple sessions?

You can drop 5-10# if needed. If, after a couple sessions, the percentages seem light, add some weight, but be conservative, not greedy. Start by adding 5# total (2.5# on each side).

Why do I have to work through so much of the training sessions after already being fatigued?

Part of any physical fitness test is assessing your ability to do the most amount of work you can in the face of fatigue. The structure and volume of this training program reflects that reality and is designed to inoculate you from a significant performance decrease due to fatigue.

Unfamiliar Exercises? Questions?

See Exercise library.

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