Relationships between absolute and relative lower-body power and foot pursuit ability in law enforcement recruits

Robert Lockie, Rob Marc Orr, Joseph Dulla, Jay Dawes

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An essential job task for law enforcement officers is a foot pursuit. Lower-body power should aid foot pursuit ability; however, there has been minimal investigation of this relationship. This study investigated relationships between absolute and relative lower-body power measured by the vertical jump (VJ) with the 75-yard pursuit run (75PR), which is a change-of-direction (COD) speed test that simulates a foot pursuit in law enforcement recruits. Data from 487 male and 95 female recruits who completed the VJ and 75PR prior to academy training was analyzed. VJ variables included VJ height, relative VJ, and peak power and power-to-body mass ratio calculated from VJ height. The 75PR was timed and involved five sprints about a square grid with four direction changes across the grid. Independent samples t-tests confirmed between-sex differences in the VJ and 75PR. Pearson’s correlations and stepwise regression calculated relationships between VJ height, body mass, and 75PR for males and females separately. Male recruits outperformed female recruits in the absolute and relative VJ and 75PR (p ≤ 0.002). There were significant relationships between all VJ variables with the 75PR for both sexes (r = -0.304 to -0.463). VJ height and body mass predicted the 75PR for male recruits (r2 = 0.208); VJ height predicted the 75PR for female recruits (r2 = 0.214). Greater absolute and relative power derived from the VJ could contribute to faster 75PR performance in recruits. In addition to foot pursuit ability, absolute power could benefit other policing tasks such as load carriage and obstacle clearance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1078-1089
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Exercise Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2021


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