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D-15 Thematic Poster - Elite and Masters Athletes Thursday, May 28, 2015, 1: 00 PM - 3: 00 PM Room: 28D

Effects of Age and Military Service on Strength and Physiological Characteristics of US Army Soldiers

1584 Board #5 May 28, 1

00 PM - 3

00 PM

Perlsweig, Katherine A.; Abt, John P.; Nagai, Takashi; Sell, Timothy C.; Wirt, Michael D.; Lephart, Scott M. FACSM

Author Information
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2015 - Volume 47 - Issue 5S - p 420
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000477576.32852.40
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Maintaining physical readiness is critical to preserve tactical performance capabilities and prevent musculoskeletal injuries. Identification of service- and age-related changes in strength and physiological characteristics and implementation of specific interventions may promote career longevity and readiness, directly impacting operational performance.

PURPOSE: To assess strength and physiological differences in cohorts of US Army Soldiers based on age and years of service.

METHODS: A total of 253 Soldiers participated. Individual subject cohorts were created based on age (20–44 years, 5 year increments) and years of service (1–15 years, 5 year increments). Soldiers performed tests to measure knee and shoulder strength, aerobic capacity/lactate threshold, anaerobic power/capacity, and body composition. One-way analyses of variance with Tukey Post-Hoc comparisons were used to determine differences between groups.

RESULTS: Soldiers age 30–34 had more body fat than those age 20–24 (p = 0.005) and 25–29 (p = 0.012). Soldiers with 11–15 years of service had significantly more body fat than those with 1–5 (p < 0.001) and 6–10 (p = 0.016) years of service. Aerobic capacity was higher in 20–24 year olds than 30–34 year olds (p = 0.041), 35–39 year olds (p = 0.047) and 40–44 year olds (p = 0.041). Soldiers with 1–5 (p < 0.001) and 6–10 (p < 0.001) years of service had higher VO2max than those with 11–15 years of service. Knee flexion/extension strength ratio was higher in those with 11–15 years of service than those with only 6–10 or 1–5 years of service, and higher in those with 6–10 years of service than those with 1–5 years of service (p < 0.001 for all three comparisons). Shoulder internal/external rotation strength ratios were significantly greater in those with 1–5 years of experience compared to those with 6–10 years of experience (p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Age and years of service have a significant effect on Soldier’s strength and physiological performance. This may be greater than the age related changes observed in a civilian population due to the physical demand of operational training and deployments. Physical training interventions should focus on maintaining physiological characteristics in those age 30–34 years and with more years of service. Funded by USAMRMC #W81XWH-11-2-0097

© 2015 American College of Sports Medicine