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Article Title

PREDICTING FIREFIGHTERS’ PHYSICAL ABILITY TEST SCORES FROM ANAEROBIC FITNESS PARAMETERS

Abstract

Peter Beitia1, Zacharias Papadakis1, Andreas Stamatis, FACSM2, Tal Amasay1. 1Barry University, Miami Shores, FL. 2SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY.

BACKGROUND: The physical ability test (PAT) evaluates firefighters’ (FF) fitness to execute occupational tasks. The aerobic system’s contribution to PAT performance is extensive; however, research is inconclusive regarding the involvement of the anaerobic system during PAT. This study aimed to identify relationships between specific anaerobic fitness (AF) tests’ and PAT’s time scores and to create a model to best predict PAT using these AF parameters. METHODS: A preliminary convenience sample of 14 male FFs (Age: 29.0±7.0yrs; Height: 1.7±0.1m; Weight: 79.9±13.0kg; Occupational-Weight: 102.6±13.0kg; BF%: 17.9±5.6%) from two fire departments was used. Data collection took place over two separate days. On day one, FFs completed a PAT composed of occupationally-specific tasks in full gear. On day two, FFs performed a series of anaerobic fitness assessment in full gear: handgrip-dynamometry, maximal vertical-jump, Margaria-Kalamen staircase test, and 300-yard shuttle run (300YD). Pearson-product moment correlation coefficients were used to examine associations between dependent variables and PAT. Multiple backward regression analysis was used to model the PAT using AF parameters (i.e., HG: Handgrip dynamometer absolute strength; VJAPP: Vertical jump absolute peak power; MKAP: Margaria-Kalamen staircase test absolute power; 300YD: 300-yard [274 m] shuttle run test). All statistical analyses were performed with IBM SPSS 27.0, with a significance level of p < 0.05. RESULTS: PAT was significantly correlated with HG (r = -0.71, p < 0.01), VJ (r = -0.73, p < 0.01), MK (r = -0.75, p < 0.01), and non-significantly with 300YD (r = 0.60, p < 0.05). A 78% proportion of variation observed in PAT was explained by the aforementioned AF parameters (F2, 13 = 20.2, p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: The examined anaerobic subsystems significantly contribute to PAT performance. FFs should optimize AF training, which would allow for potentially enhanced occupational performance in PAT. Further investigation into anaerobic physiological determinants of FFs with larger sample size is recommended.

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