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Getting in shape: Training tips from COs, for COs

When you’re a correctional officer, your safety can be directly tied into your fitness

When you’re a correctional officer, your safety can be directly tied into your fitness. Staying in shape is tough when you’re working overtime, plus trying to make time for kids, friends, and leisure activities. And once you get into the gym, do you have a plan so you’re getting the most out of your time?

We took to Facebook to ask our readers for their workout tips, and here’s a list that covers several areas. If you have a workout routine or tip that you don’t see here, feel free to throw it up in the comments. Stay fit, stay safe!

What are some workout tips you’d like to share with your fellow readers? Sound off below and your response might end up in a C1 article.


Reps build endurance; lasting the first 30 seconds of a fight without exhausting is super important. I take 135 lbs, rep it for 100 reps without stopping; add 10 lbs and cut the reps in half. 145 lbs for 50 reps; add 10 lbs and rep that for 25; add 10 lbs and rep that for 15; add 10lbs and try to get 10. These are the goal weights; if you can’t do all the reps at first, then you do what you can on each set until you fail. Make sure to get into the burn.

On the last one for the set, rack the weight. Count 5 seconds and try to do 5 more reps. Do this until you have reach your goal weight and reps of 135 lbs, for 100 reps. This works well on the large muscles such as chest and legs. Believe me...great strength and endurance follows. It is a little more time consuming though. Working out pays off when the yard dogs begin to bark...hoorah!!

—Donald Simmons


When I started in corrections I weighed 175. Got all the way up to 200 in a little over a year working nights. Working on getting back down again, but anyone working night shift with kids will tell you its hard to find time to work out.

Couple things I do at night after lockdown is walking the pod, not just during rounds but don’t stop, too easy to get comfortable and sit all night, if I’m not doing actual paperwork I’m walking, no idea how many miles but I work up a decent sweat, and after shift I meet up with a work out buddy we change at the jail and do about three miles, sprinting then light jog between telephone poles, about ever half mile stop and do a few sets of push ups and dips etc, the kicker is every repetition you rest in the up position holding good form for at least ten seconds, doesn’t seem like a lot but you feel it. More working on endurance then bulking up.

Summed up, use the time you have when you might otherwise be doing nothing (guilty of this), find a motivated partner, most importantly stop making excuses and get up and do it. Most of the time we are done about an hour after shift and I’m ready for a shower, and sleep. Best part is my family is usually still asleep when I get back so its not like I’m missing anything.

—Ay Rod


There’s many ways to work out. Two words to never forget functional strength. Doesn’t matter if you can leg press/bench 1,000 lbs if you can’t hold a plank or get out of breath climbing the stairs to the upper run.

Cardio is always important for endurance, and the big 6 compound moves are always good imho:

  • Squats
  • Deadlift
  • Planks
  • Standing overhead press
  • Pull ups
  • Bench

—Clyde Thorpe

Try my “Burnout” 7\14 workout:

  • 7 full burpees
  • 7 air squats
  • 7 push ups
  • 7 lunges each leg

Repeat as many cycles as you can under 14 minutes.

—James Herrera