The Case for Pre-Enlistment Physical Fitness Testing: Research and Recommendations
ARMY CENTER FOR HEALTH PROMOTION AND PREVENTIVE MEDICINE ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD
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This paper reviewed the concept of physical fitness and outlined suggestions for a pre-enlistment physical fitness test. The components of physical fitness were identified by reference to factor analysis studies and to physiological concepts related to the components of physical fitness. The physiological validity and reliability of relatively simple tests of physical fitness were considered. Criteria against which physical fitness tests have been validated include a performance on military tasks, b injuries and c attrition. The review resulted in three suggested courses of action. Course of Action 1 COA1 was to keep the current Reception Station Physical Fitness Test consisting of push-ups PU, sit-ups and a i-mile run. Course of Action 2 COA2 involved a physical fitness test battery based on 1 findings in the literature, 2 the assumptions that the major components of physical fitness should be measured and 3 the assumption that fitness tests should be related to some criterion measure. The COA2 test consisted of an incremental dynamic lift IDL, PUs and a 1-mile run. Course of Action 3 COA3 recommended a research project that involves 6 major steps 1 determining a set of critical military criteria, 2 determining a battery of physical fitness tests that are assumed to measure the fitness components associated with these criteria, 3 obtaining performance data on a representative sample of soldiers 4 validating and cross-validating the fitness measures against the military criteria, 5 selection of fitness test score that represent acceptable performance on the criterion tasks, 6 periodic re-evaluation of the fitness tests. The current entry-level physical fitness test COA1 possesses some validity since individuals who do not pass the test are more likely to be injured or to attrite from service but the relationship with job performance is weaker and muscle strength is not measured by the test battery.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medicine and Medical Research