No one considers law enforcement training to be a breeze, but the fact that it comes with a 50 percent failure rate may come as a surprise for many. Most applicants at academies hit a block when it comes to the physical abilities test.

There is a good reason why these are administered at the very outset of the lengthy training process. A good number of the applicants fail to make the cut, helping program directors weed them out.

A recent promotion by a Bay Area gym even harped on these figures and mentioned how their hardcore training programs help in the intense preparation for the police academy admission test. Clearly, this is a source of concern and one that needs to be addressed right away.

Dr. Richard Weinblatt, a well-known law enforcement expert, mentions that most agencies use the standards developed by the Cooper Institute in Dallas. These include events like the 1.5-mile run and sprint, low crawl, bench press and leg press, sit and reach (for flexibility), wall climb, sit-ups and pull-ups, 150-pound dummy carry or drag and weighted door obstacle, among others like the firearms dry-fire trigger pulls.

Participants are rated on a sliding percentile basis based on the applicant's age and gender. Some agencies focus more on obstacle courses, to determine the job-specific fitness of the applicant.

Weinblatt suggests research and preparation in advance to overcome these tests and even gives out some tips for applicants. But is that enough to help train new recruits? Especially in the light of recent events where clearly more than physical capability is needed for the force?

In a recent article for Law Officer, 19-year Chicago police officer Louis Hayes, Jr. stated that police training could learn a lot from CrossFit. In his vision for the future of physical fitness training for new recruits, he wants to do what CrossFit’s founder Greg Glassman did to the overall fitness industry.

CrossFit changed the way we look at fitness today. It is no longer about just looking good but all about realistic and practical physical performance. Instead of sophisticated and flashy gyms, it is all about training in sweaty environments and hard floors.

Instead of focusing on rigid, technical and tactical skills, Hayes says police training in America should focus more on higher order critical thinking as well as adaptive problem-solving abilities. This will help police officers act quickly and adapt more intelligently in emergency situations. This kind of functional training should be incorporated into the entire police recruit training process so they understand how their bodies work and how much they can stress themselves.

As police departments across the country have been on the receiving end of heavy criticism, Hayes points out that current training is too heavily invested in an industrialized, technique-based curriculum. He feels the current model of U.S. police training should be realigned with newer concepts that include adaptive, problem-based, intuitive, interactive and small team learning.

Intuitive and advanced training like this will not only aid in better physical capabilities, but combine them with other individual strengths to bring out the best in officers. Doing away with the one-size-fits-all concept may lead to improved training scores as well.