The Use of 2 Conditioning Programs and the Fitness Characteristics of Police Academy Cadets

Charles Cocke, Jay Dawes, Robin Marc Orr
Journal of Athletic Training 2016, 51 (11): 887-896

CONTEXT:  Police academy training must physically prepare cadets for the rigors of their occupational tasks to prevent injury and allow them to adequately perform their duties.

OBJECTIVE:  To compare the effects of 2 physical training programs on multiple fitness measures in police cadets.

DESIGN:  Cohort study.

SETTING:  Police training academy.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS:  We collected data from 70 male (age = 27.4 ± 5.9 years, body weight = 85.4 ± 11.8 kg) and 20 female (age = 30.5 ± 5.8 years, body weight = 62.8 ± 11.0 kg) police cadets and analyzed data from 61 male cadets (age = 27.5 ± 5.5 years, body weight = 87.7 ± 13.2 kg).

INTERVENTION(S):  Participants completed one of two 6-month training programs. The randomized training group (RTG; n = 50), comprising 4 separate and sequential groups (n = 13, n = 11, n = 13, n = 13), completed a randomized training program that incorporated various strength and endurance exercises chosen on the day of training. The periodized group (PG; n = 11) completed a periodized training program that alternated specific phases of training.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):  Anthropometric fitness measures were body weight, fat mass, and lean body mass. Muscular and metabolic fitness measures were 1-repetition maximum bench press, push-up and sit-up repetitions performed in 1 minute, vertical jump, 300-m sprint, and 2.4-km run.

RESULTS:  The RTG demonstrated improvements in all outcome measures between pretraining and posttraining; however, the improvements varied among the 4 individual RTGs. Conversely, the PG displayed improvements in only 3 outcome measures (push-ups, sit-ups, and 300-m sprint) but approached the level of significance set for this study (P < .01) in body weight, fat mass, and 1-repetition maximum bench press.

CONCLUSIONS:  Regardless of format, physical training programs can improve the fitness of tactical athletes. In general, physical fitness measures appeared to improve more in the RTG than in the PG. However, this observation varied among groups, and injury rates were not compared.

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