Analysis of the Effects of Sex and Age on Upper- and Lower-Body Power for Law Enforcement Agency Recruits Before Academy Training

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Abstract

Lockie, RG, Dawes, JJ, Orr, RM, Stierli, M, Dulla, JM, and Orjalo, AJ. Analysis of the effects of sex and age on upper- and lower-body power for law enforcement agency recruits before academy training. J Strength Cond Res 32(7): 1968–1974, 2018—Power is an important characteristic for law enforcement officers. Tasks such as carrying or dragging a civilian to safety, jumping or vaulting, and suspect restraint and pursuit require power to be effective. Certain recruits may be lacking in these qualities even if they have been accepted to a law enforcement agency (LEA). This study investigated upper- and lower-body power in male and female LEA recruits, and recruits of different ages, before academy training. Retrospective analysis of recruit data from one LEA was conducted. The measurements were: vertical jump (VJ) height; peak anaerobic power calculated by the Sayers equation; power-to-body mass ratio (P:BM); seated medicine ball throw (MBT) distance; and MBT distance relative to body mass. Independent-sample t-tests were used to compare the sexes, whereas a 1-way analysis of variance with Bonferroni post hoc compared the pooled data for recruits across different age groups (20–24; 25–29; 30–34; and 35+ years). The male recruits demonstrated superior performance across all power tests compared with the female recruits (p < 0.001). Regarding age, the 35+ year group performed less than optimally in the VJ and P:BM compared with the 20–24 and 24–29 years groups, and in the relative MBT compared with the 20–24 and 30–34 years groups (p = 0.003–0.037). Despite being accepted to a LEA, female recruits and recruits aged 35+ years of age may be lacking in upper- and lower-body power. Female and older recruits should participate in strength and power training before academy attendance to maintain or enhance these qualities.

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