BACKGROUND: Compared to the training of conventional forces, US Special Operations Forces (SOF) training often includes a higher volume of aquatic-based training. In this aquatic-based training, SOF members experience hypoxia during repeated breath-holding events. This type of breath hold training is called apnea training among US SOF. It has been shown that after repeated bouts of apnea training, participants can improve their breath-holding ability, surface swimming time, and the ability to do subsurface anaerobic work. These marked improvements in aerobic and anaerobic capacity have led some to believe that there is a performance gain crossover from apnea training to other unrelated, land-based sports and endurance activities. Our study aims to examine the effects of apnea training on land-based physical performance. METHODS: We plan to recruit 15 male and female participants between the ages of 18 and 35. The study will consist of a baseline laboratory visit, followed by randomization into one of three conditions: an apnea-only training group (AG), a running-only training group (RG), and an apnea + running training group (ARG). These groups will complete two more lab visits over the course of six weeks. The RG will be given a customized periodized running workout program designed using baseline measures, and the AG will be given a smartphone app that builds a custom apnea-training program based on individual breath-holding ability. The ARG will be given both training programs. Physical performance assessments will include: aerobic fitness assessed from a graded exercise test, anaerobic fitness assessed using a modified Sprint-Drag-Carry (SDC), muscular strength assessed using hand grip dynamometry, and muscular power assessed using vertical jump height. These assessments will be repeated at the three and six-week mark. Results will be analyzed using a repeated measure ANOVA to assess the group differences. Additionally, multiple linear regression will be used to examine the relationship between the performance measures. ANTICIPATED RESULTS: It is hypothesized that the following training programs will improve aerobic and anaerobic capacity from greatest to least in rank order: 1) Apnea and running training; 2) Apnea-only); 3. Running-only training.

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