Physical Fitness and Hormonal Profile During an 11-Week Paratroop Training Period

Jani P Vaara, Riikka Kalliomaa, Petri Hynninen, Heikki Kyröläinen
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2015, 29 Suppl 11: S163-7
Physical fitness and serum hormone concentrations have been shown to change during military training. The purpose was to examine these chronic changes in paratroopers (n = 52 male conscripts) during an 11-week training period, including acute changes induced by strenuous 5-day military field training. Hormonal profiles, body mass, maximal strength, muscle endurance, and 12-minute running test were assessed at several time points during paratrooper training. In the latter part of the training period, conscripts were involved in strenuous military field training (5 days). At week 7, during specialized military training period, aerobic performance decreased (3,146 ± 163 m) but recovered back to a baseline level (3,226 ± 190 m) at the end of the study period (p < 0.001). Standing long jump decreased at week 7 (242 ± 13 cm) (p < 0.001) from the baseline value (248 ± 13 cm), whereas push-up (52 ± 11, 60 ± 13 repetitions per minute) and sit-up (54 ± 6, 56 ± 7 repetitions per minute) performances increased (p < 0.001). No changes were observed in maximal strength and body composition, neither mostly in hormone concentrations, although cortisol decreased but increased back to baseline value at the end of the study period (p ≤ 0.05). Acute responses after the 5-day military field training included decreased maximal strength of the lower extremities and body mass, as well as changes in androgen hormone concentrations ([INCREMENT]testosterone: -46%, [INCREMENT]insulin-like growth factor-1: -28%, [INCREMENT]sex hormone-binding globulin: +25%) compared with all other measurements (p ≤ 0.05). The first 4 weeks of parachute military training decreased maximal aerobic capacity and neuromuscular performance of the lower body, whereas muscular endurance increased. Moreover, 5-day military field training resulted in dramatic changes in hormone concentrations. These findings highlight the importance of periodizing paratrooper training and underline the need for sufficient recovery immediately after military field training.

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