Greater Fitness Is Associated With Improved Functional Movement Characteristics in Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians.J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Jul 07 [Online ahead of print]JS
Hernández, LM, Coffin, SD, and Taylor, MK. Greater fitness is associated with improved functional movement characteristics in explosive ordnance disposal technicians. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2020-Low fitness and poor functional movement (FM) have been linked to higher musculoskeletal injury risk. The FM Screen (FMS) and Y-Balance Test (YBT) are useful indicators of potential injury risk in military personnel. U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians are the premier combat force for countering explosive hazards and must operate in austere environments. To safeguard health and mission success, it is critical to assess factors related to injury risk in this specialized military population. This study evaluated the relationship between fitness and FM characteristics in 64 male EOD technicians (mean age ± SD = 34.2 ± 7.0 years). Body fat percentage (BF%), maximum volume of oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max), muscular strength, and FM (i.e., FMS, YBT) were assessed. Body fat percentage and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max were associated with FMS and YBT scores (all p < 0.05). A nonlinear model further revealed that the group with the lowest V[Combining Dot Above]O2max values had the bottommost FMS and YBT scores (all p < 0.01), but FM scores did not differ among those with a higher V[Combining Dot Above]O2max, implying a "threshold" effect. No correlations were observed with muscular strength. By characterizing the unique and shared contributions of BF% and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max, and exploring the nonlinear relationship between V[Combining Dot Above]O2max and FM, this study expands on accruing data that indicate individuals who are more physically fit have better FM and lower injury risk. Although muscular strength is a critical element of overall fitness, body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness may more strongly influence FM and injury risk.