Implementation of an Ability-Based Training Program in Police Force Recruits

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Orr, RM, Ford, K, and Stierli, M. Implementation of an ability-based training program in police force recruits. J Strength Cond Res 30(10): 2781–2787, 2016—Currently, police recruit physical training programs generally use group-based runs of a “1 size fit all” approach. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of an ability-based training (ABT) program, as derived from the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Assessment, on the metabolic fitness and injury rates of police recruits undergoing basic training. Police recruits completing two different stages of training (session 1: n = 54 and session 2: n = 233) were randomly assigned to either a control group (CG) (standard group running) or an intervention group (IG) (ABT program). Physical training was completed once a week over a 10-week period. Aerobic fitness was measured through 20-m progressive shuttle run test performance. Injury data were captured through formal accident and incident forms. Results found that aerobic fitness was maintained but not significantly improved in both groups for session 1, with no significant differences between the groups after training. In session 2, both groups significantly improved their aerobic fitness (p < 0.001), whereas the IG to a greater degree, with no significant differences between the groups after training. There were no significant differences in injury rates between groups (session 1: χ2(1) = 1.533, p = 0.216; session 2: χ2(1) = 1.252, p = 0.263). However, the IGs had a significantly lower relative risk (RR) of injury when compared with the CGs (group 1: RR = 0.31, p = 0.28; group 2: RR = 0.59, p = 0.24). The results suggest that coaches may benefit from implementing ABT programs in tactical populations and achieve the same or better fitness gains with a lower risk of injuring recruits.

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