2018 Volume 60 Issue 5 Pages 356-360
Objectives: Fitness is essential to specialist police forces, who have higher occupational demands than general police, and vital to performance and mission success. However, little research has been done profiling the metabolic fitness of these units and how they compare to other populations. The objective of this study was to profile the aerobic fitness of a specialist police unit. Methods: Body weight was measured to account for any impact on metabolic fitness, while VO2 max was estimated via number of shuttles completed on the 20 m Progressive Shuttle Run Test (PSRT) (n=47) on two dates one calendar year apart. Results: There were no significant (p=.116) differences (mean difference 0.40±1.70 kg) in body weight between the initial measures (mean=88.84±8.25 kg) and the final measure (mean=89.24±8.77 kg) 13 months later. PSRT results increased significantly (p<.005) between the initial (mean=72.62±11.76 shuttles) and final assessments (77.51±11.46 shuttles), with a mean increase of 4.89 (± 2.94) shuttles and a small effect size (d=0.42). The mean VO2 max of the specialist police unit was 51.06±3.61 ml/min/kg following the first assessment, and 52.56±3.46 ml/min/kg following the second assessment. This was a significant finding (p<.001), with a mean difference of 1.19±1.27 ml/min/kg and a small effect size (d=0.23). Conclusions: Elite police forces have a higher metabolic fitness than the general population and general duties police officers. Having and maintaining this fitness level is imperative for their operational success and preventing injuries. This research suggests that despite the challenges posed by operational requirements, high fitness standards can not only be maintained, but also improved.
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