The Relationship Between Army Physical Fitness and Functional Capacities in Infantry Members of the Slovenian Armed Forces.J Strength Cond Res 2019JS
Šimenko, J, Kovčan, B, Pori, P, Vodičar, J, Vodičar, M, and Hadžić, V. The Relationship between army physical fitness and functional capacities in infantry members of the Slovenian Armed Forces. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2019-The primary purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between traditional army physical fitness test (APFT) and a novel functional testing battery that included counterMovement jump (CMJ) testing, stork balANce test, pUll-ups, single leg hAmstring bridge test, and loaded prone pLank test-MANUAL battery. The secondary purpose was to explore additional baseline fitness aspects traditionally not covered by APFT. This cross-sectional study involved 181 Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) infantry members (age 31.4 ± 6.1 years) that were tested using both the regular annual APFT and the MANUAL battery (testing was conducted 2 weeks apart). At the significance level of p ≤ 0.05, significant but weak associations between the MANUAL testing battery and APFT battery (0.2 ≦ r < 0.5; p ≤ 0.05) were observed. The MANUAL battery has highlighted possible hamstring (less than 20 repetitions on a single leg bridge test in 26% of SAF infantry members) and posterior shoulder pull-up muscle weakness (mean score 5 ± 4 pull-ups). Functional predictors from the MANUAL explained only 33.6% of the APFT score (R = 0.336). Significant predictors of APFT score were single leg hamstring left (p = 0.048), loaded plank (p = 0.049), number of pull-ups (p < 0.001), CMJ (p = 0.01), and loaded CMJ (p = 0.026). The findings suggest that higher APFT marks are associated with better performance on the MANUAL tests and indicate the problem of hamstring and pull-up muscle weakness. The general recommendation is that the physical condition military programs should include more exercises to strengthen those muscle groups.