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Physical Performance Among Air Force ROTC Cadets Following Non-Mandatory Training

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INTRODUCTION: Due to the standard collegiate academic calendar (two semesters), U.S. Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) cadets have an approximate 3-mo break over the summer in which physical training (PT) is neither regulated nor required. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if significant changes in cadet physical fitness assessment (PFA) scores occur after a 3-mo summer break when training is not mandatory.

METHODS: Male (N 28) and female (N 10) cadets performed the PFA in April and August. Cadets were split into two groups depending on if they participated in field training over the summer [FT; N 12 (men 6, women 6)] or did not [NFT; N 26 (men 22, women 4)] to determine if engaging in field training had any effect on performance.

RESULTS: Cadets performed significantly better on run time (7%), pushups (7.6%), sit-ups (5.8%), and overall composite score (3.6%) before summer break compared to after. Significant time group interactions were observed for abdominal circumference and run time. Abdominal circumference paired samples t-tests indicated that while the FT group did not differ between the spring and fall time points, the NFT did. There was a main effect for time in which cadets had a significantly larger abdominal circumference in the spring compared to the fall semester.

CONCLUSION: Nonmandatory physical training over summer break may significantly decrease a cadets performance on the PFA. Additionally, it appears that even the inclusion of field training for some cadets was not enough to prevent the detraining that took place over summer break.

Mackey CS, Johnson Q, Dawes JJ, DeFreitas JM. Physical performance among Air Force ROTC cadets following non-mandatory training. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2020; 91(10):818823.
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Keywords: ROTC; air force; physical fitness test; physical performance; physical training

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: October 1, 2020

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