Cody A. Stahl1, Daniel Lawson1, Keston G. Lindsay2, J. Jay Dawes1

1Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK; 2University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO

The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) incorporates exercises that may predict daily military activities and combat-related movements. ACFT grading differs from previous fitness tests, in that it is based upon military occupation specialty and age rather than sex. With the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) being one of the initial entry points for many future Army officers, it is important to assess the preparedness of male and female cadets for completing the ACFT. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine how prior level of strength training experience related to confidence and comfort in the weight room and confidence in the ability to pass the ACFT amongst Army ROTC cadets. METHODS: Ninety-seven (71 males and 26 females) Army ROTC cadets volunteered to participate in this study. Participants were asked Likert-response questions regarding their previous level of strength training experience and their perceived current ability to pass the ACFT. Exploratory analysis was used to examine the survey responses. RESULTS: Differences in previous strength training experience and confidence levels were seen based on sex. Over half of female cadets (53.8%) reported having less than 3 months of consistent strength training or having never participated in any strength training. Whereas three quarters of the male cadets (74.6%) reported having at least 3 months or more of consistent experience. Over half of the female cadets (67.7%) reported not being confident in their ability to pass the ACFT compared to 16.9% of male cadets who felt the same. A majority of female (69.3%) and male (88.7%) cadets reported having confidence in using the weight room as well as being comfortable in the weight room (61.5% and 88.7% respectively) CONCLUSION: Observed differences in the cadets’ reported confidence in being able to pass the ACFT may be related to the differences in level of training experience. For these reasons, development of strength and conditioning programs targeting performance within these populations is recommended.

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