The effects of traditional versus ability-based physical training on the health and fitness of custody assistant recruits

Karly A. Rodas, Joseph Dulla, Matthew R. Moreno, Ashley M. Bloodgood, Megan McGuire, Rob Marc Orr, Jay Dawes, Robert Lockie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This study investigated traditional training (TT) versus ability-based training (ABT) in custody assistant recruits. Retrospective analysis was conducted on two recruit classes who completed an 8-week academy. The TT group (18 males, 13 females) followed a physical training model where recruits completed the same exercises with the same intensity; the ABT group (17 males, 12 females) had exercises tailored towards their ability. Pre- and post-academy, recruits were assessed in: body mass; body fat percentage (BF%); resting heart rate (RHR); blood pressure (BP); waist circumference (WC); waist-to-hip ratio (WHR); grip strength; push-ups; sit-ups; YMCA step test recovery HR; 201-m run; and 2.4-km run. Independent samples t-tests evaluated between-class pre-test differences, with significance set at p ≤ 0.05. Paired samples t-tests (p ≤ 0.05) detected within-group training changes. Change scores were calculated for each variable; independent samples t-tests (p ≤ 0.05) compared change scores between groups. The TT group had lower BF%, BP, and WC; and were superior in sit-ups and the 2.4-km run before training. After academy, the TT recruits improved WHR, grip strength, recovery HR, 201-m run, and 2.4-km run, but increased diastolic BP. The ABT recruits decreased BF%, RHR, and WC, and improved push-ups, sit-ups, recovery HR, 201-m run, and the 2.4-km run. ABT recruits had greater positive changes in BF%, RHR, diastolic BP, and sit-ups. TT and ABT recruits generally experienced favorable fitness changes; the degree of positive change tended to be greater for ABT recruits for select tests. Coupled with the diastolic BP increase for TT recruits, this may provide evidence for ABT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1641-1660
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Exercise Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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