Reliability, validity and performance determinants of the military simulation test for the assessment of anaerobic performance in soldiers
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Introduction: Measurements of physical fitness have been identified as one of the most important research priorities in the military. Currently, the physical fitness tests of The Finnish Defence Forces (FDF) do not include a valid and reliable anaerobic test. In order to develop job-related task simulation tests, the purpose of the study was to determine the reliability and validity of a high-intensity military simulation test (MST), which is designed to assess the task-specific anaerobic performance of soldiers. The MST includes typical combat-related maneuvers while wearing a 20 kg combat load. Methods: 22 male cadets (22.5 ± 0.8 years) volunteered to participate. The MST was performed three times with a minimum of 48 hours of recovery between trials to determine reliability. To study the validity and the contribution of different physical characteristics on performance, the MST was compared with measurements of body composition, muscular strength and endurance, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), and anaerobic performance. Results: The mean MST times for the first, second, and third trial were 108.5 ± 8.6, 103.3 ± 6.6 and 98.4 ± 6.5 s, respectively. Repeated measures ANOVA showed significant improvement in the MST time between every trial (p < 0.05 for both). The intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.58 (95 % CI: 0.03–0.84) between the first and second trial and 0.74 (95 % CI: −0.06–0.94) between the second and third trial. The MST performance was significantly correlated with several measured variables. The strongest relationships were observed with mean and peak power in the 60-second Bosco jump test (r = −0.65, p < 0.01; r = −0.68, p < 0.01, respectively), maximal isometric strength of the upper body (r = −0.67, p < 0.01), standing long jump (r = −0.66, p < 0.01), sit-ups (r = −0.69, p < 0.01), and VO2max (r = −0.63, p < 0.01). Discussion: The improvement in MST time in every trial suggested a significant learning effect, especially between the first and second trials. Due to the complex nature of MST, several familiarization trials are required to reach statistically stable results. In addition, the MST may not be considered as a valid task-specific anaerobic test for soldiers, as the performance in MST relies on the simultaneous participation of all three energy pathways, and a combination of neuromuscular, anaerobic, and anaerobic performance characteristics. ...
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