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

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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.

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