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Effect of a Lower Extremity Preventive Training Program on Physical Performance Scores in Military Recruits

Peck, Karen Y.1; DiStefano, Lindsay J.2; Marshall, Stephen W.3; Padua, Darin A.4; Beutler, Anthony I.5; de la Motte, Sarah J.6; Frank, Barnett S.7; Martinez, Jessica C.8; Cameron, Kenneth L.1

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: November 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 11 - p 3146–3157
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001792
Original Research

Peck, KY, DiStefano, LJ, Marshall, SW, Padua, DA, Beutler, AI, de la Motte, SJ, Frank, BS, Martinez, JC, and Cameron, KL. Effect of a lower extremity preventive training program on physical performance scores in military recruits. J Strength Cond Res 31(11): 3146–3157, 2017—Exercise-based preventive training programs are designed to improve movement patterns associated with lower extremity injury risk; however, the impact of these programs on general physical fitness has not been evaluated. The purpose of this study was to compare fitness scores between participants in a preventive training program and a control group. One thousand sixty-eight freshmen from a U.S. Service Academy were cluster-randomized into either the intervention or control group during 6 weeks of summer training. The intervention group performed a preventive training program, specifically the Dynamic Integrated Movement Enhancement (DIME), which is designed to improve lower extremity movement patterns. The control group performed the Army Preparation Drill (PD), a warm-up designed to prepare soldiers for training. Main outcome measures were the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) raw and scaled (for age and sex) scores. Independent t tests were used to assess between-group differences. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to control for the influence of confounding variables. Dynamic Integrated Movement Enhancement group participants completed the APFT 2-mile run 20 seconds faster compared with the PD group (p < 0.001), which corresponded with significantly higher scaled scores (p < 0.001). Army Physical Fitness Test push-up scores were significantly higher in the DIME group (p = 0.041), but there were no significant differences in APFT sit-up scores. The DIME group had significantly higher total APFT scores compared with the PD group (p < 0.001). Similar results were observed in multivariable models after controlling for sex and body mass index (BMI). Committing time to the implementation of a preventive training program does not appear to negatively affect fitness test scores.

1John A. Feagin Jr. Sports Medicine Fellowship, Keller Army Community Hospital, West Point, New York;

2Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut;

3Injury Prevention Research Center, Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina;

4Sports Medicine Research Laboratory, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina;

5Department of Family Medicine, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences;

6Injury Prevention Research Laboratory, Consortium for Health and Military Performance, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland;

7Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and

8Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois

Address correspondence to Karen Y. Peck,

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.