The Use of Ability Based Training in Police Force Recruits

Rob Marc Orr, Michael Stierli, Kelsie Ford

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Purpose Current physical training protocols for police recruits employ an aerobically-focused, one-size-fits-all, approach. The aim of this study was to investigate whether an Ability Based Training (ABT) program derived from the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test (IFT), would improve the aerobic fitness of police recruits to the same extent as current training processes, in less time and with fewer injuries. 
MethodsA total of 287 police recruits (Session 1: n=54: Session 2: n=233) participated in this study. Within each session, officer syndicate groups were randomly assigned to a control or intervention group. Recruits in the control group performed the current physical training program (~60mins in length) consisting predominantly of push-ups, sit-ups and long slow distance group running. Recruits in the intervention group completed push-ups, sit-ups and the ABT program of running intervals derived from their 30-15 IFT score (~45mins in length). Interval distance was derived from the formula: Interval distance=running speed in m/s (score) x % of effort x duration of interval. Physical training was completed once a week over 10-weeks for both sessions. At the commencement and completion of the training period, 20m shuttle run data were collected to evaluate aerobic fitness. Injury data were collected using the NSW Police College Accident and Incident form in accordance with College protocols. Recorders and data processors were blinded to the research. In this study injury was defined as damage to the musculoskeletal system that was serious enough to warrant submission of formal paperwork. T-tests were used to investigate differences in fitness between (independent) and within (paired) cohorts with a Chi-squared test investigating differences in injuries between cohorts.
ResultsIn the Session 1 cohort; there were no significant differences in aerobic fitness between groups either pre or post training. While aerobic fitness was maintained, it did not improve significantly in either group over the 10-week period. In Session 2; there were no significant differences in aerobic fitness between the groups either pre or post training. However, both groups did significantly improve their aerobic fitness (p<0.001) with the intervention group improving their aerobic fitness to a greater degree (pre = 60.98 ± 16.45 shuttles: post = 70.11 ± 16.54 shuttles) than the control group (pre = 63.32±SD 15.70 shuttles: post = 67.48 ± 15.95 shuttles).Injury rates, although noticeably lower for the intervention group in both sessions, did not reach significance. Of the Session 1 cohort; four recruits in the control group (14%) suffered an injury while only one recruit (4%) was injured in the intervention group (x2(1)=1.533, p=0.216). For Session 2; 12 recruits (10%) in the control group suffered an injury and seven recruits in the intervention group (6%) were likewise injured (x2(1)=1.252, p=0.263). 
ConclusionAn ABT training program as derived from 30-15IFT scores was as effective as group based aerobic fitness training methods, yet yielded fewer injuries and was more time efficient.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2014
Event3rd International Congress on Soldiers' Physical Performance - Boston, United States
Duration: 18 Aug 201421 Aug 2014
Conference number: 3rd


Conference3rd International Congress on Soldiers' Physical Performance
Abbreviated titleICSPP
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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