Article Title



George L. Grieve, Ronald J. Reid, Christopher J. Sole, Kimbo E. Yee, Ryan S. Sacko, Christopher R. Bellon. The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, Charleston, SC.

BACKGROUND: Despite a variety of fitness tests across all branches of service, there remains a common requirement to test cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) to predict combat readiness and performance. However, no military CRF test resembles combat performance by including load carriage, acceleration/deceleration, change of direction, or an externally stimulated pace. This study aimed to assess the relationship between a weighted vest run (WVR) that resembles combat performance and CRF in a sample of active duty US Marines to determine if a WVR was a valid predictor of CRF. METHODS: Ten exercise-trained Marines (100% male, 23-34 yrs), from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps unit at The Citadel completed three testing visits separated by 7 days each. At the baseline visit, participants performed a 20m pacer test without a weighted vest, and had maximal handgrip strength, maximal vertical jump, and body composition (BODPOD) assessed. Participants then completed two separate exercise visits separated by 7 days in random order: a graded exercise test (GXT) to measure CRF and the WVR, which was a 20m pacer test with weighted vest. Pearson’s correlations were used to assess the relationship between measured CRF from the GXT and predicted CRF from the WVR. RESULTS: There was a moderate statistically significant correlation (r=0.673, p=0.033) between predicted VO2max from the WVR and measured VO2max via GXT. Though not significant, there were trending moderate correlations between baseline pacer test predicted VO2max and measured VO2max (r=0.608, p=0.082), as well as between predicted VO2max from the WVR and baseline pacer test predicted VO2max (r=0.551, p=0.124). In multiple regression analysis, there was no significant association between BMI, grip strength, and vertical jump height with predicted VO2max from the WVR. CONCLUSIONS: These suggest that performing a WVR is a valid predictor of CRF while resembling combat performance by including load carriage, change of direction, acceleration/deceleration, and an externally stimulated pace. Therefore, these data provide initial evidence of the potential for a WVR to replace traditional CRF field tests in tactical athletes. Future work should examine the relationship between CRF and WVR in a larger sample of US Marines and members of the other branches of the US Armed Forces.

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