The Effect of Body Mass on Physical Performance in Naval Special Warfare Operators

Title

The Effect of Body Mass on Physical Performance in Naval Special Warfare Operators

College

Darden College of Education & Professional Studies

Program

Ph.D. Education - Human Movement Sciences - Applied Kinesiology

Publication Date

3-28-2019

Abstract

US Naval Special Operations Forces have performed some of the US Military’s most rigorous missions. The Human Performance Program (HPP) developed a physical performance testing battery to assess and monitor physical performance. Testing bias relative to body mass has been noted in past literature, including military physical fitness tests. Purpose: This retrospective study looked to determine if there is body mass bias in the HPP performance assessment and if an optimum body mass for each performance test could be determined. Methods: Data from 333 subjects (age: 28.4 ± 5.0 yr; height: 178.4 ± 6.2 cm; mass: 86.0 ± 9.2 kg) were analyzed to compare body mass to performance on the eight performance tests: standing long jump, Pro-Agility test, weighted pull-up, body weight bench press, 1-RM deadlift, 274-m shuttle run, 4.83-km run, and 800-m swim. Linear regression analysis was used to analyze the relationship of body mass to performance; a 2nd degree polynomial was utilized to determine best-fit curves for each of the physical performance tests; ANOVA was utilized to examine differences in performance between body mass groups. Results: Significantly better performance for lighter subjects was found in the Pro-Agility test, weighted pull-up, body weight bench press, 274-m shuttle run, and 4.83-km run. Heavier subjects performed better in the 1-RM deadlift. Second-degree polynomial regression revealed optimum body mass for the Pro-Agility test, 274-m shuttle run, and 4.83-km run to be somewhat heavier than the lowest body mass. Conclusion: These findings could help professionals better assess and train operators of varying body size. The views and opinions expressed are the authors’ and do not reflect those of Naval Special Warfare Command, the US Navy or the Department of Defense.

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The Effect of Body Mass on Physical Performance in Naval Special Warfare Operators


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