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Old 01-28-2005, 03:28 PM   #1
Dan Silver
Departed Dan Silver is offline
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I forget where, but a recent thread quoted some self-made fitness Guru as stating that Crossfit was no good for cops, citing that Crossfit is too "cardio" heavy and doesn't build the bulky muscle that cops need. Speaking as a cop I can say that this is, of course, rubbish.

Last night, while investigating a shooting incident in some of San Francisco's lovely housing projects (the 7.62 [AK] round struck a gas main causing evacuation), more gunshots rang out less that 100 yards away. Search to contact teams were immediatley formed and we began to search building to building for the shooter.

Now, having never been in combat I don't know what level of stress that puts on the body but I imagine it's quite extensive. In the urban police environment, deploying a long-gun and tactically moving from positions of cover looking for an armed man is a very stressfull and intense experience. The gravity of it only becomes apparent once the threat is over and the adrenaline wears off. Last night I nearly fell asleep in my chair while writing the report.

So, enough storytelling. Crossfit (and training) enabled me to keep my hands steady and my head clear. My heart-rate went from a long period of inactivity to, well, really fast. Many of my coworkers were huffing and puffing at the end of the search and seemed very uncomfortable. I worried that, if the search turned into a gunfight, that some of my coworkers may not have been operating at optimal ability after such an intense period of activity. Not to sound arrogant, but I felt prepared, fast and organized. I attribute that to the superior physical conditioning that Crossfit generates.

Below I've posted some figures from the Officer Down Memorial page ( listing what killed cops in 2004. Not suprisingly, gunfire is #1. All the bulk muscle in the world will not help in a gunfight. Muscle isn't bulletproof. Good cover is and the ability to quickly move to it while returning fire is paramount. At #2 are vehicle accidents. High speed driving skills are greatly aided by stress management, training and fast reaction times. Again, Crossfit.

Total Line of Duty Deaths 2004: 153
Aircraft accident: 3
Automobile accident: 36
Bomb: 2
Drowned: 3
Electrocuted: 1
Explosion: 1
Fall: 1
Gunfire: 53 (RIP Isaac Espinoza #64-SFPD)
Gunfire (Accidental): 4
Heart attack: 12
Motorcycle accident: 6
Struck by vehicle: 7
Vehicular assault: 17
Weather/Natural disaster: 1
Vehicle pursuit: 6

Be safe everybody. To my brothers and sisters in law enforcement, remember that every day you train you get safer and this stuff is the best training around. Thanks. I'll dismount my soapbox now.


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Old 01-29-2005, 12:16 PM   #2
Ron Nelson
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Excellent post Dan!!
The guy casting disparaging remarks about C on T-nation was a guy named Zeb. We know him as "He who shall remain nameless" around here. Your anecdote would seem to counter his logic entirely and seem to prove our suspicions to the same degree!
The one statistic you posted I found to be the most distrubing was 12 heart attack deaths in the line of duty!
This, above all else, proves the need for a good GPP!
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Old 01-29-2005, 04:39 PM   #3
Dan Silver
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I was hoping somebody would pick that one out. A 52 year old officer from Texas (still below the age of many posting on this website) died last week of a heart attack after a resister. Thats a shame, it didn't need to happen but he was really out of shape.

People have asked me what martial art they should take, what would make them the "safest?" I always tell them that the exercise will save their lives long before a well placed kick. I guess that holds true across the board.

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Old 01-29-2005, 05:42 PM   #4
Barry Cooper
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That's a good story. One thing we are used to is max heart rates. Not infrequently, after especially tough WOD's, I get a little shaky, not too different than what I've heard described by people who have been in situations like you went through. Wanting to puke from fear, and wanting to puke from systemic overload probably feel pretty similar, I'm guessing. Qualitatively similar, but quantitatively in very different realms, I'm sure. I'm not trying by any means to equate the two.

Anyway, I'm glad things went well, relatively speaking.
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Old 01-31-2005, 09:59 AM   #5
Larry Lindenman
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Great post Dan. Stay safe.
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:06 PM   #6
Michael Keller
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Good post, Dan. I spent 12 years as an LEO and 7 of that on SWAT, and I have to say that the condition of most of the guys was very poor. Very few were capable of an extended foot chase or fight for their life. It's really a shame, as you would think that when your life may depend upon your fitness that you would take a bigger interest in staying fit. I never understood that. Keep spreading the good word to the guys and maybe you can impact some of them. Stay safe out there.
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:15 PM   #7
Mike Yukish
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I'm a reservist, and most of our unit were LEOs in civilian life. Embarassingly bad shape, I thought. Great guys to go to a bar with, though.
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Old 02-03-2005, 03:43 AM   #8
Adrian Frankling
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it's scary how many guys we can come across in the leo community who are struggling to get out of their chairs, and not from cf induced doms. the bit that dan mentioned about stress is pertinent in my situation where in a small town we don't run 24/7 and such are on call after we cease duty. going from sound asleep at 3am to wide awake and fighting someone at 3.15 is hard on the body but better conditioning makes it easier to deal with. some folks however just won't pay attention to their bodies which is unfortunate for the rest of us.
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