Academy training is utilized by staff to develop the physical abilities of recruits specific to law enforcement. However, academy training typically follows a paramilitary model with specific programming left to the discretion of staff. Due to large class sizes, long slow distance (LSD) running is often emphasized with training intensity adjustments specific to the individual generally not considered. The goals for this study were to determine whether physical training during academy leads to changes in fitness, and the effect of a “one-size-fits-all” training modality on more and less fit recruits. Retrospective analysis was conducted on pooled recruit data from four academy classes (n=202) from one law enforcement agency. Recruits underwent pre and post-testing of physical assessments consisting of: vertical jump (VJ) (only measured in one class); 75-yard pursuit run (75PR); medicine ball throw (MBT) with a 2 kg medicine ball; and multi-stage fitness test (MSFT). To measure training effects on more and less fit recruits, a tertile split was performed for each assessment, with the top third on each pre-test defined as high performers (HP), and the bottom third as low performers (LP). Multiple repeated measures ANOVA (p<.05) were performed to determine any mean differences for the physical assessments between all recruits, and the HP and LP. Significant differences were found between pre- and post-test in select assessments for the combined recruit data, indicating improvements for MBT and MSFT, and a decline in 75PR performance. Further analyses showed significant interactions between time and the HP and LP for the 75PR, MBT, and MSFT. Both HP and LP improved in the MSFT, by 42.26% and 102.15%, respectively. For the 75PR, HP became 3.70% slower, while LP had no significant performance change. In the MBT, LP improved by 12.10%, while HP had no change. No significant interactions were found for the VJ when considering all recruits, HP, and LP. The data suggests that the current onesize-fits-all training approach may inhibit performance improvements in HP recruits during academy, especially limiting adaptations for upper-body power (MBT) and anaerobic performance (75PR, VJ). This is exacerbated by the current practice of emphasizing LSD running. While this approach greatly improves aerobic fitness in recruits, it appears to come at the cost of power and speed. Consideration of injury rates, especially in LP recruits, may also provide insight into performance results. Other modalities, such as strength and power training, should be explored in law enforcement academies, as well as ability-based training models.
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2018|
|Event||The 38th Annual Meeting of the Southwest Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine - Costa Mesa Hilton, Costa Mesa, United States|
Duration: 26 Oct 2018 → 27 Oct 2018
Conference number: 38th
|Conference||The 38th Annual Meeting of the Southwest Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine|
|Period||26/10/18 → 27/10/18|
Balfany, K., Dulla, J., Dawes, J., Orr, R. M., & Lockie, R. G. (2018). I Can Run More but at What Cost: The Effects of Academy Training on High and Low Performing Law Enforcement Recruits. Poster session presented at The 38th Annual Meeting of the Southwest Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, Costa Mesa, United States.