About the Academy

Preparation Guide

The Florida Highway Patrol believes that physical health is one of the keys to a successful law enforcement career. The following information is provided as a guideline to assist our recruits in initiating a physical conditioning program. Please consult with your personal physician before you begin any type of cardiovascular or strength training.

This is a gradual schedule that will help to begin a cardiovascular training program. After 12 weeks of dedication to this program you can easily increase your distance and decrease your time. Maintain the four times a week frequency to allow for adequate recovery. When you arrive at the academy you should be able to run 2 miles in 18 minutes.

Cardiovascular Conditioning Program
Week Activity Miles Minutes Times
1 Walk 1 17-20 5
2 Walk 1.5 20-28 5
3 Walk 2 30-35 5
4 Walk 2 27-30 5
5 Walk/Jog 2 26 5
6 Walk/Jog 2 25 5
7 Walk/Jog 2 24 5
8 Walk/Jog 2 23 4
9 Jog 2 22 4
10 Jog 2 21 4
11 Jog 2 20 4
12 Jog 2 19 4

Cardio Training: Walking

Get your heart rate up by clipping along at a 5–7-mph race-walking pace, not a leisurely stroll. After a walking warm-up, jog at a pace slightly faster than your fastest walking pace. Do this for 20–30 strides, then break into a race-walk and maintain this speed. When you feel yourself slow down, repeat the process.

Never train a sore body part. If it’s still hurting from your last workout, skip it until next time or swap it out for another body part you aren’t scheduled to train that day.

Stretch. The best time is after your cardio workout, when your muscles are already warm. Move into position and hold for 30 seconds. Make sure to stretch all the muscle groups you train during the week.

Change your program every 4-6 weeks to continue your progress. You do this by integrating new exercises into your program, increasing reps or weight, super setting or changing the body part combinations.

Strength Training Guidelines

Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Always warm up before beginning. Do 5-7 minutes of light cardio to get your muscles ready to work.

Adhere to proper form. Move through full range of motion, and avoid using momentum to lift the weight.

You need a bench, a barbell and a set of dumbbells, preferably in varying weights to get started. Choose weights that will challenge your muscles and bring them to momentary failure at the lower end of the suggested rep ranges. Remember FORM FIRST.

Do 3-4 sets of 10-20 reps, depending on the exercise.

Day Body part
1 Legs, abdominals, cardio
2 Arms, cardio
3 Chest, abs, cardio
4 Rest
5 Back, abs, cardio
6 Legs, cardio
7 Rest

Strength Training: Legs

Lunges (quads, hams, glutes)
Begin by standing with your legs slightly apart, holding dumbbells at your sides. Keeping your pelvis directly under your shoulders, take a large step forward, bending your front knee to a 90-degree angle with your thigh parallel to the floor. Your back leg should be somewhat bent, with your knee almost touching the floor. With your weight on your front heel, contract the quad, hamstrings and glutes to push back up to the starting position. Repeat, alternating sides.

Squat (quads, hams, glutes)
Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Begin with your feet wide apart, toes pointing forward or out slightly. With your head up and back straight, lower your body into a sitting position or until your thighs are about parallel to the floor. Make sure your hips aren’t tilted forward. Keeping the weight on your heels, raise your body back to the starting position. Repeat.

Abdominals Crunch
Lie face up with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, or knees at 90 degrees in the air or resting up on a bench. Ensure that your lower back is pressed firmly into the floor. Touch your hands behind your head, exhale and curl your upper back toward your hips, lifting your shoulder blades off the floor.

Reverse Crunch
Begin by lying face-up on the floor. Bend your knees and lift your legs 90 degrees from your hips, and place your hands under your lower back. This not only creates additional lumbar support but also creates a sort of “alarm” that lets you know when your spine is shifting position and arching upward. Contract through your lower abs and slowly curl your pelvis off the floor and toward your ribcage, exhaling and holding the position for a moment at the top. Slowly lower your legs and hips back to the start position, then inhale and repeat. As you become stronger, you’ll be able to extend your legs and push them up toward the ceiling (called a hip thrust) by bringing your pelvis off the floor using your lower abs.

Cross-Over crunch
Start in the same position as the crunch, but this time think about curling one shoulder to the opposite knee (in a diagonal direction across your body) when you crunch up, which also works the obliques. Exhale on the way up and hold at the top two seconds before lowering to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side after 10-15 reps.

Lateral raise bent-over
emphasis: posterior deltoids and middle trapezius
Sit and bend forward at your hips so your chest is as close to your thighs as is comfortable. Hold dumbbells under your legs with your palms facing each other and your elbows slightly bent. Keep your head in a neutral position by looking at a spot on the floor that’s about 6 inches in front of you. Lift the weights out to your sides to shoulder level while keeping that slight bend in your elbows. Lower slowly and repeat.

Lateral raise with dumbbells
emphasis: middle deltoids
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold dumbbells in front of your thighs with your palms facing each other and your elbows slightly bent. Lift the weights up and out to your sides to shoulder level while keeping that slight bend in your elbows. Lower slowly and repeat.

Overhead dumbbell press
emphasis: anterior and middle deltoids
Sit on the end of a bench or chair, with your back supported if possible, holding dumbbells at ear level with your palms facing forward. Push the weights overhead by straightening your arms, but keep your elbows soft – don’t lock them in the finish position. Return to the start position slowly and repeat.

Strength Training: Chest

emphasis: pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps
Lie facedown on the floor with your hands flat on the ground, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, fingers pointing forward. Push your bodyweight off the ground by straightening your elbows, keeping your abdominals tight and body in a perfect line, supported on your hands and toes. Bend your elbows and lower your chest until your elbows form 90-degree angles and point out to the sides. (Don’t allow your chest to touch the floor.) Hold for a count, then contract your chest and push back up. Repeat.
tip: If you don’t have enough upper-body strength to perform this exercise, follow the same instructions but keep your knees bent on the floor during the entire movement. This will allow you to perform the exercise with less resistance.

Bench Press
emphasis: pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps
Lie faceup on a bench, grasp a barbell a little wider than shoulder width and raise it slightly above the center of your chest. While contracting your chest, press the bar upward until your arms are fully extended. (Make sure you don’t lock your elbows.) Slowly lower the bar back to the start position and repeat.

Tip: You can emphasize different parts of your chest by changing the angle of the bench. Just elevate one end with a sturdy platform, a box, phonebook, etc. (An incline press will emphasize the upper-chest area; a decline will emphasize the lower-chest area.)

emphasis: pectoralis major
Lie faceup on a bench holding dumbbells directly above your chest with your arms fully extended and palms facing in. Slowly lower the weights straight out to your sides, trying to keep most of the motion in your shoulder joints, not your elbows. Lower the weights to a point where you feel a slight stretch in your chest. Next, squeeze your pecs and bring the dumbbells together in a semicircular motion back up to the start position. Repeat.
tip: Never go too deep with this movement; doing so can overstretch the chest.

Strength Training: Back

Bent-over row
emphasis: latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, middle trapezius, rear deltoids
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees. Bend at your hips while keeping a slight arch in your lower back. Grasp the bar with a shoulder-width grip straight down in front of your body, retract your shoulder blades (pinch them back) and pull the bar into your midsection, keeping your elbows close to your body. Lower, then repeat.

Dumbbell pull-over
emphasis: latissimus dorsi, deltoids, pectoralis major
Lie faceup on a flat bench and grasp one end of a dumbbell with both hands, arms extended over the center of your body. From this position, slowly lower the weight back over your head toward the floor until you feel a good stretch. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
tip: Keep your elbows soft throughout the movement (don’t lock out your elbows) or you’ll work your triceps more than your back.

One-arm dumbbell row
emphasis: latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, middle trapezius, rear deltoids
Rest your right hand and knee on a flat bench for support, keeping a slight arch in your lower back. Grasp a dumbbell, retract your left shoulder blade and raise the weight (row) until it’s close to your abdominals, keeping your elbow tight to your side. Lower, then repeat. Do both sides.

Triceps dip
Sit on a coffee table or low chair and place your hands directly outside your hips, fingers facing forward. Walk your feet a couple of steps away, slide your glutes off the table and lower your body so that your arms form 90-degree angles. Press up and contract your triceps at the top, then repeat, keeping your low back and hips close to the table. The closer your feet are to your body, the easier the exercise is.

Overhead dumbbell extension
Sit on a chair or coffee table, then grasp a dumbbell with both hands and raise it over your head. With your upper arms stationary, lower the dumbbell behind your head by bending your elbows, then straighten until both arms are again extended overhead. Contract at the top, then lower and repeat. Keep your elbows tight and close to your head throughout.

Strength Training: Biceps

Hammer curl
Grasp a pair of dumbbells and stand with your knees slightly bent, hands by your sides, palms facing in. Curl the weight in your left hand toward your shoulder, but don’t rotate your wrists as you did in the standing dumbbell curl; the top plate of the dumbbell should face up throughout the movement. Lower your left arm, then bring your right arm up and continue this alternating pattern. Keep your elbows stationary throughout.

Concentration curl
Sit on the end of a coffee table or low chair with your legs apart. Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, lean forward and position your arm so that your left elbow is pressed against your left inner thigh. Keep your back flat. With your palm facing up, curl the weight straight up by contracting your biceps, then lower and repeat. Complete all the reps on your left side, then switch to your right.

Hip raise (hams, glutes)
Lie faceup on the floor with both knees bent and feet placed on a slightly elevated platform (for example, an aerobic step or phone book) just beyond hip-width apart. Position a weight on the lower part of your abdomen and slowly begin to raise your hips toward the ceiling, pushing your knees out and away from your body. You’ll feel your bodyweight on your shoulder blades and the balls of your feet. Squeeze your glutes and hold for a count of two, then slowly lower and repeat.

Calf raise (gastrocnemius)
Stand with your feet slightly apart, holding onto a chair or wall for balance. Slowly raise your heels until you’re on tiptoe, balancing your bodyweight on the balls of your feet. Pause, then lower and repeat. (For greater range of motion, stand on a step.)

Personal Uniformed Appearance

The Florida Highway Patrol established the following guidelines to enhance public respect and recognition of its members.

It is unacceptable for members to practice poor personal hygiene or poor grooming habits while in the performance of their duties or representing the Division.


  • Only one ring per hand is allowed. Females may wear a combination engagement ring/wedding ring combination. Sharp edges are prohibited.
  • Eyeglass retainers are prohibited
  • Sunglasses may have gold, silver, black or brown frames. Faddish, multi-colored or mirrored sunglasses are prohibited.
  • Trooper applicants with any tattoo on the neck, face, head, hands, or fingers shall be disqualified. Trooper applicants with any tattoo that contains offensive or extremist, sexist, racist, or gang-related material shall be disqualified.

Body Modifications

  • Body modifications to any visible area of the body are prohibited. Modifications include, yet are not limited to:
    • Tongue splitting or bifurcation
    • Trans-dermal implantation of any object other than hair replacement
    • Abnormal shaping of the ears, eyes or nose
    • Abnormal filing of the teeth
    • Branding or scarification

Personal Appearance

Male members:

  • Hairstyles may be either tapered or block cut and must be worn in a neat conservative and professional appearance at all times. The hair length for the sides may cover a small portion of the top of the ears. The hair shall stay above the ears when it is combed. The back may touch the top edge of the collar. The front may touch the eyebrows and will not be visible while the hat is worn.
  • Sideburns shall not extend below the lowest part of the exterior ear opening, shall be of even width (not flared) and end with a horizontal line.
  • Face shall be cleanly shaven, except that a member may wear a neatly trimmed mustache. The mustache may extend one-quarter inch horizontally beyond the corners of the mouth. The mustache shall not extend over the lips nor below the corners of the mouth.
  • Male members are prohibited from wearing earrings while on duty.

Female members:

  • Neat, conservative and professional hairstyles are required at all times.
  • Medium or long length hair shall be worn up in a neat manner and will not fall below the collar. Bangs, if worn, shall not be visible while the hat is worn. Braids or plaits are acceptable so long as the style presents a neat conservative and professional appearance.
  • Inconspicuous hair clasps, barrettes or fasteners are allowed as long as they correspond with the natural hair color. Hairnets, ribbons and beads are prohibited.
  • Hair color must be conservative and have no unnatural tones of color. Spray-on substances, colors or glitter are prohibited.
  • Cosmetics must be conservative and professional, understated rather than overwhelming. Colors shall blend in with the natural skin color.
  • Fingernails shall be clean, trimmed and may not extend more than 1/8 inch beyond the tips of the fingers. Fingernail polish, if worn shall be clear, translucent pastel or beiges that are conservative. Ornaments or stick-on fingernails are prohibited. Only one color of polish may be worn.
  • Earrings shall be small post or stud style with only one earring per ear.
  • False eyelashes are prohibited.