The Impact of Formal Strength and Conditioning on the Fitness of Law Enforcement Recruits: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Robert Lockie, J. Jay Dawes, Nicholas Maclean, Rodney Pope, Ryan Holmes, Charlie Kornhauser, Rob Marc Orr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Research involving law enforcement populations has suggested better fitness could enhance job task performance and reduce injuries. Academy training should lead to improvements in recruit fitness. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of a strength and conditioning program on fitness among law enforcement recruits. Twenty-six recruits (23 males, three females) completed a 27-week academy, which incorporated 3-4 physical training sessions per week. Fitness assessment occurred during pre- (week 0), mid- (week 14), and post-testing (week 27) time points. The fitness assessments included: vertical jump, one-minute push-ups, one-minute sit-ups, posterior chain strength measured by a leg/back dynamometer, grip strength, and aerobic fitness measured by the 20-m multistage shuttle run (MSR). A repeated measures ANOVA with Bonferroni post hoc tests determined any significant changes in fitness between time points, with alpha set at p < .05. Due to the small sample size of females, statistical analysis was only conducted on male recruits. Overall, significant main effects (p < .001) were observed in all fitness assessments except for grip strength. The results detailed general improvements in fitness. However, push-up and MSR scores decreased from mid- to post-test, while sit-ups did not change. Posterior chain strength and the vertical jump improved from mid- to post-test. The data indicated that the strength and conditioning program positively influenced the fitness of recruits. An increased focus on skill-specific work in the second-half of academy may have contributed to the plateaus in muscular endurance and aerobic fitness, and improvement of lower-body strength and power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1615 – 1629
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Exercise Science
Volume13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2020

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