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