Research Roundup, 5.5.23

By Anna Woodring, MTI Strength & Conditioning Coach

Decreased Percent Body Fat but Not Body Mass is Associated with Better Performance on Combat Fitness Test in Male and Female Marines
The study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, aimed to examine the link between body composition and performance on the Combat Fitness Test (CFT) in male and female Marines. The CFT measures the ability to run, lift, and carry. A large number of Marines, comprising 210 males and 84 females, were recruited for this study. The researchers used the Bod Pod Body Composition System to analyze the body composition of each Marine, and the CFT assessment was conducted in accordance with Marine Corps standards. The results indicated that a lower percentage of body fat was significantly associated with better CFT performance, whereas body mass was not. This suggests that reducing body fat through weight loss or improved nutrition may be a more effective approach for enhancing CFT performance in Marines compared to simply increasing muscle mass. This article challenges the conventional wisdom that emphasizes losing weight for PFT season and gaining weight for CFT season, thus providing a new perspective on how to prepare for these tests.

Differences and Relationships Between Push-up and Sit-up Variations Among Male Law Enforcement Cadets 
The study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research investigated the differences and relationships between various push-up and sit-up variations among male law enforcement cadets. The study found significant differences in the number of repetitions completed between the different push-up and sit-up variations. The push-up variations were standard push-up vs. hand-release push-up, while the sit-up variations were standard sit-up with hands across the chest vs. hands behind the head sit-up. The findings suggest that differences in performance abilities from one cadet to another may be linked to the variation chosen for testing. Specific push-up and sit-up variations may be more appropriate for assessing different components of muscular endurance and should be considered in fitness testing protocols for law enforcement personnel. However, the study did not indicate which variation is a better predictor of job performance. Therefore, agencies must consider the construct validity of each fitness test not only for entry but also for the retention of officers.

Dry-Land Resistance Training Practices of Elite Swimming Strength and Conditioning Coaches 
The study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research aimed to evaluate the resistance training practices of elite swimming strength and conditioning coaches. Results from the survey showed that resistance training is a crucial component of dry-land training for elite swimmers. Coaches used a range of training, including circuit training, traditional resistance training, and plyometrics, with traditional resistance training being the most commonly practiced. Squats and pull-ups were the exercises utilized the most for improving performance in the water. Coaches reported that proper dry-land training enhanced the durability of swimmers and allowed for more explosiveness in shorter sprints, with transfer of dry-land training being most important in starts and turns in swimming. Low volume, high velocity, and resistance training programs resulted in significant improvements in swimming performance, and plyometric training had a high correlation in force development needed for continuous starts from off the wall. The use of Olympic lifts makes up the majority of dry-land resistance training exercises, and involves using a range of loads to produce high velocity, force, and power outputs. The study suggests that resistance training is a vital component of the dry-land training program for elite swimmers, and a range of exercises and periodization models need to be assessed for the specific needs of the athlete. However, limited research is available on pure dry-land training.

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