Cell Workout: prison officer fitness test tips

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Cell Workout: prison officer fitness test tips

#Unlocked is teaming up with cell workout’s L. J. Flanders to give you tips for the Prison Officer Fitness test.

Cell Workout aims to help people involved in the criminal justice sector with their fitness.

L.J. Flanders developed the initiative during his time in prison. His workouts began to improve the daily lives of other inmates, their physical fitness, and mental wellbeing. Helping inmates gave LJ a sense of purpose and it became his mission to transform the dynamics of prison fitness and bring about positive change in the lives of people in prison.

In this blog, LJ shares his unique insight into cell-ready exercises perfect for preparing future officers ahead of the fitness test. As a prison officer you need to be physically prepared to handle any situation and to retain energy while walking 10,000+ steps a day.

The test ensures you are up to the appropriate standard and is split into 4 sections:

  • Grip strength test
  • Bleep test
  • Speed and agility test
  • Shield test

We advise you are physically fit so that you do not develop an injury. You can find below some tips below to make sure you are in adequate physical shape. You can find out more about each exercise by searching on Youtube or you can get the Cell Workout book which will have all the tips in and more!



The Grip Strength Test will measure the grip strength of the candidates’ forearm, needing 25kg of pressure in each hand. See tips:

  • Hand Grippers
  • Barbell Holds (or heavy bags)
  • Farmer’s Carries (or heavy bags) – hold a weight (dumbbell or kettlebell) in each hand and walking for distance or time
  • Towel Pull Ups (or Pull Up Bar Hold) – pull ups using towels
  • Plate Pinches (or book) – hold a weight with your fingers
  • Band Extensions




Candidates will need to run over a 15m course, running for 3 mins 35 secs, up to level 5.4. The levels will reduce in time available to complete, which means you will need to run faster. See tips:

Running workout

  • 5 min warm up
  • 30 sec sprint followed by 1 min jog or walk – repeat 10 times
  • 5 min cool down



The test will need to be completed in under 34 secs. You will need to go around some red cones and through a blue cone gate, much like a short running obstacle course. To prepare, see tips:

  • Lateral plyometric jumps (variety of exercises, see http://bit.ly/2Ysx48G for info)
  • Forward running, high-knee drills
  • Lateral running, side-to-side drills
  • Dot drills (creating a sequence of dots to place foot)
  • Box jump drills
  • L drills (run between cones in shape of an “L”)
  • Plyometric agility drill (variety of exercises, see http://bit.ly/36q9XQt for info)
  • Shuttle runs (Progressive back and forth sprints)



The shield test involves holding a shield weight 6kg for 1 min. You should use a variation of the exercises below and focus on increasing the rep range or time held. See tips:

  • Plank variations
  • Press up variations
  • Wall pushes (isometric exercise)



Twitter: @cellworkout