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Differential recovery rates of fitness following U.S. Army Ranger training

Published:December 17, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2019.12.010

      Abstract

      Objectives

      To investigate tactically-related physical performance and body composition recovery following U.S. Army Ranger training.

      Design

      Prospective cohort.

      Methods

      Physical performance was comprehensively assessed using a tactically-related performance battery (i.e., Ranger Athlete Warrior assessment) in 10 male Soldiers at baseline (BL) two-weeks (P1), and six-weeks (P2) post-Ranger School. Body composition was determined using DXA. A one-way repeated measures ANOVA was used followed by Bonferroni-adjusted pairwise comparisons when group differences existed (p ≤ 0.05). Pearson correlation coefficients were used to establish associations between changes in fitness and body composition.

      Results

      All performance domains except the bench press and deadlift worsened following training. Speed/mobility (Illinois agility test, seconds – BL: 16.20 ± 0.86 vs. P2: 18.66 ± 2.09), anaerobic capacity (300-yard shuttle run, seconds – BL: 62.95 ± 6.17 vs. P2: 67.23 ± 5.91), core strength (heel clap, repetitions – BL: 15.80 ± 4.08 vs. P2: 11.50 ± 4.95), and aerobic endurance (beep test, stage – BL: 9.95 ± 2.18 vs. P2: 7.55 ± 1.07) had not recovered by P2. Only upper body muscular endurance and strength (metronome push-up and pull-up, respectively) were similar to BL by P2. Percent body fat increased from 15.62 ± 3.94 (BL) to 19.33 ± 2.99 (P2) (p < 0.001). There were no significant associations between changes in body composition and performance.

      Conclusions

      A comprehensive characterization of physical performance and body composition revealed Rangers did not experience full recovery of fitness six weeks after training. Optimal recovery strategies are needed to return Soldiers to a state of readiness following arduous training.

      Keywords

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