Derick A. Anglin1, Bridget F. Melton1, Thomas R. Nagel1, Sarah N. Lanham2, Greg A. Ryan3. 1Georgia Southern, Statesboro, GA. 2University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. 3Piedmont University, Demorest, GA.

BACKGROUND: Law enforcement academies frequently utilize physical training (PT) methods that may not optimally translate to occupational tasks beyond academy graduation. Traditionally PT programs have focused on calisthenic exercises, including high-volume running and endurance exercises. The purpose of this study was to evaluate performance outcomes between a traditionally designed PT program and an evidenced-based conditioning program for law enforcement recruits. METHODS: Two metropolitan state law enforcement training centers in the southeast United States participated in this investigation. Each academy program consisted of PT for five days each week for 12 weeks. The experimental group (n = 46) was provided with an evidence-based PT program that consisted of elements to enhance anaerobic and aerobic conditioning, agility, power, movement quality, defensive tactics, and muscular endurance. The control group (n = 18) was assigned a traditional instructor-led PT program which consisted of defensive tactics, calisthenics, and running. Following completion of the 12-week program, Pre-Post independent samples t-tests (α = 0.05) were run on all variables of interest. RESULTS: Of the 14 fitness variables measured, the intervention group displayed significant improvements in 10 variables compared to the control. Post Waist Circumference was significantly lower (p = 0.03; Mean Difference [MD]: -1.61 ± 2.84 cm) than Pre with a moderate effect (d = -0.57). Post Weight was significantly lower (p = 0.01; MD: -1.94 ± 2.69 kg) than Pre with a moderate effect (d = -0.73). Post BMI was significantly lower (p = 0.01; MD: -0.64 ± 0.90 kg/m2) than Pre with a moderate effect (d = -0.72). Post pushup performance was significantly improved (p = 0.01; MD: 6.44 ± 7.34 reps) than Pre with a large effect (d = 0.88). Post Plank was significantly improved (p < 0.01; MD: 47.33 ± 36.01 sec) compared to Pre with a large effect (d = 1.32). Post 300-yard Shuttle was significantly improved (p = 0.01; MD: -2.61 ± 3.70 sec) compared to Pre with a moderate effect (d = -0.71). CONCLUSION: The current investigation supports the advantage of utilizing holistic, evidence-based PT programs rather than traditional programming. Therefore, law enforcement academies are encouraged to adopt occupationally specific and efficient training frameworks for improving cadet body composition and physical performance.

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