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The Chester Treadmill Police Walk Test

The Chester Treadmill Police Walk Test

This test is an adaptation of CTWT and has been developed by Professor Kevin Sykes as an alternative test to the 15m Shuttle Run for the fitness assessment of police officers in England and Wales

Following theoretical calculations, practical manipulations and laboratory trials of different speeds and gradients to match the aerobic fitness standards of the job related fitness test (JRFT) for personal safety training (PST) and police specialist posts, the Chester Treadmill Police Walk Test was devised(Sykes 2015).

Chester Treadmill Police Walk Test Police (CTPWT)

CTPWT(Sykes 2015) is an adaptation of the original Chester Treadmill Walk Test (Sykes 2009) which was designed for use by the UK Fire Service as an alternative aerobic fitness test to the 20m Shuttle Run and Chester Step Test.

CTPWTis a performance test specifically developed for the Police Service of England and Wales as an alternative fitness test to the 15m Shuttle run,for those deemed medically unsuited to its twists and turns, to determine whether an officer is able to achieve the minimum recommended aerobic fitness standard for PST and Specialist Posts, excluding ARV and DIAFO (College of Policing 2014). After a suitable warm-up, the subject is required to walk at a brisk pace (6.0km/hr) on the treadmill. Every 2 minutes the gradient is raised by 3%. If the subject is able to satisfactorily reach the target time of between 10 and 12 minutes, then he/she will have achieved the minimum recommended aerobic fitness standard (see Table 1).

Equipment

  • High quality motorised Treadmill, calibrated, regularly-serviced and capable of operating accurately at 6.0km/hr and at inclines up to a maximum gradient of 15%
  • A Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Chart (Borg 1982) (Figure 1)

Pre-test health screening

It is imperative that there are no medical contraindications to the subject undertaking the Chester Treadmill Police Walk Test.

Most individuals don’t require a medical check-up before taking this test or starting regular, moderate exercise. However, if there are any doubts about the individual’s suitability to partake in moderately vigorous physical activity, then please advise them to consult a doctor – and do not conduct the Treadmill Test.

Warning

There is always the slight risk that taking any form of exercise may reveal a health defect or weakness that may lead to injury, illness or even fatality. If you have any doubts at all about the subject’s ability to safely undertake the Chester Treadmill Police Walk Test or to participate in a programme of regular exercise, then do not conduct the test and refer them to the Occupational Health Department or their GP for appropriate advice.

For further information on pre-participation health screening, see American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM 2013).

Pre – test conditions

The subject should not have eaten, smoked, exercised or drunk tea or coffee for at least 2 hours before the test.

The subject should not be recovering from illness or have a cold, or is taking beta blocker drugs which will depress heart rate scores.

The subject should be wearing loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.

The room should be quiet, well ventilated and between 18-20 degrees Celsius.

The subject should not have undertaken any heavy physical exercise for at least 24 hours before the test.

An appropriate Risk Assessment has been completed and approved.

Administering CTPWT

The Test Administrator should be well trained, knowledgeable and experienced in conducting the Test. They should be totally familiar with operating the treadmill and in explaining to a subject the useof the RPE chart. If at any time during the test, the subject shows signs of over-tiredness, discomfort or dizziness – and/or reports an RPE of 18+ -then the test should be stopped and the subject allowed to recover and cool down.

1.Ensure that:

a.there are no medical contraindications to performing the CTPWT

b.the test environment is suitable

c.the treadmill has been carefully calibrated and you (the tester) are a skilled operator

d.the RPE Chart is clearly visible for the subject

e.the subject is appropriately dressed, wearing suitable footwear and is fully able to walk confidently on the treadmill at a brisk pace with increasing gradients

f.the subject has a suitable warm up with mobility, stretching and limbering floor exercises of low to moderate intensity.

2.Inform the subject what they will be required to do – explaining the importance of good treadmill walking technique.

3.Following a suitable warm-up ask the subject to stand on the treadmill. Attach safety cord as appropriate.

4.Start the treadmill and slowly increase the speed to a comfortable walking pace (around 4-5km/hr) at 0% gradient for a 2-minute familiarisation – which also acts as a further cardiovascular warm-up period. Increase the speed to 6.0km/hr and start the test

5.Level 1: 0-2 minutes at 0% gradient. At the end of the level check RPE is less than 18 and if so, continue to Level 2, increasing the gradient to 3%.

6.Level 2: 2-4 minutes at 3% gradient. At the end of the level check RPE is less than 18 and if so, continue to Level 3, increasing the gradient to 6%.

7.Level 3: 4-6 minutes at 6% gradient. At the end of the level check RPE is less than 18 and shows no signs of distress or discomfort. If so, continue to Level 4, increasing the gradient to 9%.

8.Level 4: 6-8 minutes at 9% gradient. At the end of the level check RPE is less than 18 and subject shows no signs of distress or discomfort. If so, continue to Level 5, increasing the gradient to 12%.

9.Level 5: 8-10 minutes at 12% gradient. On successful completion of Level 5 (10 minutes), the subject will have reached an aerobic fitness standard of35mlsO2/kg/min.At the end of the level check RPE is less than 18 and subject shows no signs of distress. If so, continue to Level 6, increasing the gradient to 15%

10.Level 6: 10-12 minutes at 15% gradient. For those in Specialist Posts required to pass at a higher level of fitness, the test may be continued for up to a further 2 minutes (see Table 1 and 2 with Target Times for Personal Safety Training (PST) and Specialist Posts).

11.Cool Down: At the end of the test, lower the gradient to 0%, reduce the treadmill speed to a gentle stroll (around 4-5km/hr) and ask the subject to continue walking until he/she feels recovered and can hold a conversation comfortably – normally around 4-5 minutes. Also, ensure that the subject further cools down with some gentle limbering and stretching floor exercises.

Table 1 CTPWT Target Time for Personal Safety Training (PST)

Personal Safety Training CTPWT Target Time (min:sec) Est. Aerobic Capacity*

(mls02/kg/min)

JRFT 15mShuttle Run to Level 5:4 10:00 35

*Aerobic Capacity must be at least this value to attain the target time

Table 2CTPWT Target Times for Specialist Posts

Specialist Post CTPWT Target Time (min:sec) Est. Aerobic Capacity*

(mls02/kg/min)

Marine Police Unit 10:00 35
CBRN 10:00 35
Method of Entry 10:00 35
Dog Handler 10:20 36
Mounted Branch 10:20 36
Police Cyclist 10:20 36.
Police Support Unit 10:40 37
Air Support 10:40 37
Police Divers 11:20 39
Marine Police(Tactical Skills) 11:40 40
Authorised Firearms Officer 12:00 41

*Aerobic Capacity must be at least this value to attain the target time

12. Cautionary Note: As with the 15m Shuttle Run the CTPWT could be a near-maximal (or even maximal) test for some individuals and care should be taken by the tester to ensure that if the subject is unable to keep up with the workrate and becomes overly distressed, the test should be stopped and the subject should be allowed to cool down.

13. For those unable to achieve the target time, aerobic capacity may be estimated from the time and gradient that the subject was able to complete (e.g. if the subject was able to walk for only 8 minutes before having to stop the test, their aerobic capacity may be estimated as shown in Table 3 as 30mlsO2/kg/min).

Table 3 Summary of CTPWT Treadmill Protocol and Oxygen Cost at each Level

Level Time (mins) Treadmill Gradient O2 cost (mlsO2/kg/min)
1 0-2 0% 14
2 2-4 3% 19
3 4-6 6% 24
4 6-8 9% 30
5 8-10 12% 35
6 10-12 15% 41

Technical Note: 

The test has been designed specifically to identify officers capable of achieving the minimum aerobic fitness standard of between 35 and 41 mlsO2/kg/min as required by the Police Service of England and Wales.

This is not a test to determine a subject’s actual aerobic capacity (VO2Max). It merely indicates that the value is equal to that required for related operational activities.

Should an actual assessment of Aerobic Capacity and Fitness Level also be required, this may be estimated from the heart rate responses during the test using the bespoke CTWTP Aerobic Fitness Calculator software package (www.cartwrightfitness.co.uk).

CTPWT/Shuttle Run Comparisons: 

See Table 4 for Specialist Post CTPWT Target Times and equivalent 15m Shuttle Run Levels.

Table 4CTPWT Target Times for Specialist Posts, Estimated Aerobic Capacity and Recommended Shuttle Run Level

Specialist Post CTPWT Target Time (min:sec) Est. Aerobic Capacity*

(mls02/kg/min)

Recommended Standard (Level : Shuttle)
Marine Police Unit 10:00 35 5 : 4
CBRN 10:00 35 5 : 4
Method of Entry 10:00 35 5 : 4
Dog Handler 10:20 36 5 : 7
Mounted Branch 10:20 36 5 : 7
Police Cyclist 10:20 36 5 : 8
Police Support Unit 10:40 37 6 : 3
Air Support 10:40 37 6 : 4
Police Divers 11:20 39 6 : 8
Marine Police(Tactical Skills) 11:40 40 7 : 2
Authorised Firearms Officer 12:00 41 7 : 6

*Aerobic Capacity must be at least this value in order to attain the CTWTP target time and/or 15m Shuttle Run Level

 

 

 

 

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