Run To The Hills: The Effects of Academy Training on the Physical Fitness of Law Enforcement Recruits across Three Classes

Peter K Mitchell, Katherine Balfany, Joseph Dulla, Jay J. Dawes, Rob Marc Orr, Robert G. Lockie

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Abstract

Law enforcement agencies (LEA) use the academy period to train recruits in the skills needed to undertake the demands of their job. Exercise programming is the responsibility of staff who tend to follow a paramilitary model, with emphasis on calisthenics, running circuits that lacked evidence-based work:rest ratios, and distance running. Programming is typically not targeted towards individuals or ability based, which could be problematic if recruits within a class have different physical fitness. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of physical training across three academy classes. Retrospective analysis was conducted on three classes from one LEA (Class 1: ♂ = 62, ♀ = 6; Class 2: ♂ = 47,♀ = 7; Class 3: ♂ = 51,♀ = 8). Recruits performed pre- and post-testing in the following assessments: 75-yard pursuit run (75PR), medicine ball throw with a 1.82 kg ball (MBT), and multi-stage fitness test (MSTF). Academy training was conducted over 22 weeks; pre-testing occurred in the week prior to academy, while post-testing occurred in the last few weeks. Multiple repeated measures ANOVA (p<.05) investigated differences in assessment results between classes and pre/post academy training. Due to the nature of LEA academies, each of the classes began their academy training with different fitness levels in at least one assessment. Class 1 (~16.71 s) was significantly faster than Class 3 (~17.42 s) in the 75PR. MBT data showed that Class 3 (~5.40 m) performed poorer than Class 1 and 2 (~6.28-6.60 m). Class 2 (40.79 ± 12.40 shuttles) performed fewer shuttles than Class 1 (48.28 ± 13.61) and 3 (50.00 ± 14.05) in the pre-test MSFT. Following academy, Class 2 was 5% significantly slower on 75PR, while the other two classes showed no improvement. Classes 1 and 3 significantly improved their MBT distance (by 8% and 16%, respectively), while Class 2 showed no change. All three classes completed significantly more shuttles on the MSFT (Class 1: 33%; Class 2: 75%; Class 3: 74%). Given the major improvements in the MSFT, lack of improvement in MBT for one class, and lack of change or decrease in performance in the 75PR (even for Class 3 which started with a lesser 75PR), the data suggests that the physical training programs implemented by staff did not develop recruit’s anaerobic capacities in a consistent manner. Given the majority of law enforcement job tasks tend to be anaerobic in nature, physical training programs should consider an increased focus on anaerobic training during academy to optimize job readiness for recruits. Future research should investigate the performance benefits of training programs that include anaerobic and aerobic development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
EventThe 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 201827 Oct 2018
Conference number: 38th
https://www.acsm.org/acsm-membership/regional-chapters/acsm-chapters/southwest/southwest-l2

Conference

ConferenceThe 38th Annual Meeting of the Southwest Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine
Abbreviated titleSWACSM
CountryUnited States
CityCosta Mesa
Period26/10/1827/10/18
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Mitchell, P. K., Balfany, K., Dulla, J., Dawes, J. J., Orr, R. M., & Lockie, R. G. (2018). Run To The Hills: The Effects of Academy Training on the Physical Fitness of Law Enforcement Recruits across Three Classes. Poster session presented at The 38th Annual Meeting of the Southwest Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, Costa Mesa, United States.