Waist Circumference and Waist-to-Hip Ratio in Law Enforcement Agency Recruits: Relationship to Performance in Physical Fitness Tests

Robert G Lockie, Tomas R Ruvalcaba, Michael Stierli, Joseph M Dulla, J Jay Dawes, Robin M Orr

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Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) use tests to assess recruit physical fitness. Body fat can influence test performance but is difficult to measure during academy because of time, equipment constraints, and instructor knowledge. This study examined relationships between waist circumference (WC) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), practical measures of fat distribution, and fitness test performance. Retrospective analysis of 267 LEA recruits (age: ∼28 years; height: ∼1.73 m; and body mass: ∼80 kg; 219 males and 48 females) was conducted. The tests included: WC and WHR; grip strength; push-ups, sit-ups, and arm ergometer revolutions in 60 seconds; vertical jump (VJ); medicine ball throw; 75-yd pursuit run (75PR); and multistage fitness test (MSFT) shuttles. Partial correlations, controlling for sex, calculated relationships between WC, WHR, and the fitness tests. Recruits were split into quartile groups (based on the sample size) for WC and WHR (group 1 had the lowest WC and WHR; and group 4 the highest). A 1-way multivariate analysis of variance, with sex as a covariate and Bonferroni post hoc, compared between-group test performance. A greater WC related to lesser push-up, sit-up, VJ, 75PR, and MSFT performance (p ≤ 0.024). When recruits were split into WC groups, group 4 had lesser performance in push-ups, sit-ups, VJ, and the 75PR compared with all groups (p ≤ 0.038). When split into WHR groups, group 4 performed less push-ups than group 1, less MSFT shuttles than group 3, and had a lower VJ compared with all groups (p ≤ 0.042). Recruits with a greater WC tended to have poorer fitness test performance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Sep 2018


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