The Physical Test – Requirements for An Garda Síochana

There used to be a height requirement to join the Gardaí, where a male officer had to be over five feet, nine inches and a female officer over five feet, five inches.

This was abolished in 2001 and replaced with a more practical physical competence test, bringing Ireland’s police force into line with similar moves made by other forces throughout the EU.

The then Minister for Justice, Mr O’ Donoghue,  recommended the removal of the height restriction on the grounds that it was “regressive and inequitable” and, effectively, barred membership of the force to highly competent applicants.

Physical Requirements and Competencies

General fitness is very important, as the job can demand sudden bursts of speed after sitting in a car all day, or physical demands that are impossible to anticipate.

You should always be in good general health to perform well in any job, but you never know what your day will bring as a Garda – you may have to restrain a suspect; come to people’s aid or defend yourself.

If you are carrying too many extra pounds around your middle or get breathless after a short dash, you may want to improve your fitness level before even applying!

There are minimum standards on tests such as ‘shuttle’, sit-ups and press-ups, and they vary according to age and gender.

You will also undergo a physical competence test that consists of:

What are the physical requirements?

Physical Requirements Pre Entry Tests

(1) Fitness Test

(2) Physical Competence Test


  • Fitness Test

There are three parts to the fitness assessment;

(a) Progressive shuttle run,

(b) sit-up test (one minute time limit)

(c) press-up test (no time limit)


The objective of the progressive shuttle run test is to run as long as possible there and back along a 20m track, keeping to the speed indicated by the bleeps on the CD.  The student will hear these bleeps at regular intervals. The test is maximal and progressive.  At first the speed is slow, but the speed will increase at the end of each minute.  The applicant should stop running when they can no longer keep up with the rhythm of the bleeps. You are advised to access/download the ‘Loughborough 20 Meter Shuttle Run – Fitness Assessment’.


Each applicant must attain the level of fitness indicated on the marking guidelines below.


Minimum Standards for the Shuttle Test

Age Males Females
18-25yrs Level 8.8 Level 7.6
26-35yrs Level 8.1 Level 6.6
36-45yrs Level 6.6 Level 5.4

Minimum Standards for the ‘Sit Up’ Test (one minute)

Age Males Females
18-25yrs 35 30
26-35yrs 32 27
36-45yrs 29 25


Minimum Standards for the Press Up Test (no time restriction)

Age Males Females
18-25yrs 25 20
26-35yrs 22 18


  • Physical Competence Test

The test consists of the following:

(a) a competency-based timed circuit (3 laps)

(b) a push/pull machine assessment.


(A)  Physical Competence Test

Sprint start

  • Weave through cones
  • Walk along a balance beam
  • Lift a car wheel and carry it 3 metres
  • Go underneath  a barrier
  • Jump over a mat (one metre wide)
  • Drag a 45kg mannequin 2 metres
  • Run up and down a stairs
  • Climb over a gate
  • Sprint 10 metres
  • Complete circuit 3 times in fastest time possible Pass standard is 3 mins and 20 secs


(B)  Push/Pull Machine Test

The objective of the test taken is to measure the maximal force you are capable of exerting in pushing and pulling. This test is intended to relate to the physical strength requirements of a Garda in a range of typical situations


  1. Stand on platform
  2. Grip handlebars (simulates chest height of average height of a person)
  3. Feet apart one foot in front of the other
  4. Push and pull the handlebars through the required stroke continuously (indicated by bleeps at the start and end of each stroke) for 20 secs
  5. If three bleeps are missed the test is invalid and the candidate must repeat the 20 sec test again, immediately
  6. During the test the force you are exerting will be continually measured and recorded on the computer system
  7. In order to achieve your maximal force you will need to use your entire body and concentrate on pushing and pulling hard throughout the entire stroke

A video detailing the Physical Competence Test can be found here.

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