Chase W. Sanders, Veronika Pribyslavska, Brian Church, Lynnsey R. Bowling, Lucianne M. Burner, LTC Joseph A. Loar, Eric M. Scudamore

Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR

PURPOSE: To determine the effects of external loading during activities of daily living (ELDL) on Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) performance of male ROTC cadets. METHODS: Thirty cadets were stratified into ELDL (age: 20.4 ± 1.2 years; height: 174.3 ± 7.3 cm; weight: 79.6 ± 17.5 kg) and control (CON) groups (age: 20.6 ± 1.5 years; height: 174.6 ± 7.8 cm; weight: 76.5 ± 3.6 kg) using a familiarization ACFT score. Participants performed a baseline ACFT and underwent body composition assessment via air plethysmography (ELDL= 19.7 ± 7.9%; CON= 20.0 ± 9.6%). Individual lean body mass was used to determine loads for the ELDL group. The intervention group will undergo 3 weeks of ELDL, consisting of wearing a weight vest during activities of daily living for 8 hrs/day, 4 days/wk. Weight vests will not be worn during training. Initial loads will be 12% of lean body mass. Loads will increase to 15% and 18% of lean body mass in weeks 2 and 3, respectively. ACFT will be reassessed for both groups after the 3-week intervention. Afterward, 3 weeks of training with no intervention and a final ACFT will be performed. Training will be identical for each group. For each ACFT task and ACFT total score, mean, 95% confidence intervals, absolute individual change, and individual percentage change will be calculated. Total ACFT score from the most recent ACFT attempt will be compared between groups to evaluate homogeneity. A mixed-model ANOVA with group used as the between subjects factor and time used as the repeated measure will analyze changes in ACFT task scores. Where significance is observed, Tukey pairwise comparisons will be used to identify time and between group differences. RESULTS: Significant improvements are expected for the ELDL group in deadlift, standing power throw, hand-release push-up, sprint-drag-carry, and leg tuck, as well as ACFT scores. Data collection is in progress. Familiarization ACFT scores were similar between ELDL and CON (ELDL= 493.3 ± 38.8; CON= 455.4 ± 63.2; p = .052). CONCLUSION: To date, only one study has investigated the effects of ELDL on tactical athlete performance. Results indicated that ELDL effectively improved tactical performances, but more research is needed. Findings of the current investigation will provide more insight on the efficacy of ELDL in tactical populations.

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