March 08, 2009
Louis Hayes is a SWAT operator in Hinsdale, Illinois, and he writes about the slow but steady adoption of CrossFit into his department.
It all started with some trash-talk in a police locker room. Three officers were discussing their pull-up abilities. I conservatively guessed I could do two or three. Another officer said he could do seven or eight. Another bragged he could do over 20.
So into the workout room we went. I watched the first officer hang there, unable to kick his way up to a single pull-up—not the seven or eight he had so arrogantly predicted. I watched the second officer rip out 28 as fast as he could and stop before any single repetition looked even remotely challenging. Then, I jumped up there and, after some ugly twists and convoluted turns, finally managed to get my chin over the bar. It was pretty embarrassing for me, a SWAT operator and the police department’s physical fitness coordinator.
One pull-up! That was about five years ago, in 2004. I wish I knew the exact date, for as I now look back at that pitiful episode, I recognize it as a crease in my life’s tickertape. It was one of several events sculpting my newfound approach to physical fitness.
The infection is even beginning to spread into the ranks of our police departments. Due to the performance increases of CrossFit, police officers cannot argue against its efficiency and practicality. My team continues to send squads of Operators around the region and country to participate in SWAT competitions. And my team’s representatives succeed time and time again.
Yes, SWAT competitions are sport. But SWAT missions are life. In preparing for sport, we are honing our skills to protect those we have sworn to protect, rescue those who need rescuing, and dominate those who need dominating. CrossFit is a critical component of reaching a constant state of readiness.