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Journal ArticleDOI

With great power comes great ability: Extending research on fitness characteristics that influence work sample test battery performance in law enforcement recruits.

01 Jan 2021-Work-a Journal of Prevention Assessment & Rehabilitation (IOS Press)-Vol. 68, Iss: 4, pp 1069-1080

AbstractBACKGROUND Fitness could influence task performance in police officers. Limited research details relationships between different fitness characteristics and police-specific tasks. OBJECTIVE Determine relationships between anaerobic and aerobic capacity with police-specific task performance. METHODS Data for 308 recruits was analysed. Fitness tests included: push-ups, sit-ups, and mountain climbers (muscular endurance); pull-ups (strength); vertical jump (VJ) and 2 kg medicine ball throw (MBT; power); 75-yard pursuit run (75PR; change-of-direction speed); 201 m run (anaerobic capacity); 2.4 km run and multistage fitness test (aerobic capacity). Police tasks included: 99-yard obstacle course (99OC); 74.84 kg body drag (BD); chain link fence (CLF) and solid wall (SW) climbs; and 500-yard run (500R). Partial correlations controlling for sex and linear regression calculated relationships between fitness and job tasks. RESULTS 99OC correlated with all assessments; BD only with 75PR. CLF related to the power and aerobic capacity tests, pull-ups, and 201 m run. SW related to VJ, 75PR, pull-ups, sit-ups, 201 m run, and aerobic capacity. 500R related to all except the MBT and 2.4 km run. 75PR and VJ predicted 4/5 tasks. CONCLUSIONS Police research has shown the importance of muscular endurance and aerobic capacity. Specific to this studies' correlations, the value of power and change-of-direction speed development for task performance was indicated.

Topics: Aerobic capacity (57%)

Summary (2 min read)

1. Introduction

  • Law enforcement can be a physically challenging profession.
  • With great power comes great ability: Extending research on fitness characteristics that influence work sample test battery performance in law enforcement recruits.
  • Furthermore, if significant relationships can be shown between certain general fitness characteristics and police-specific job task performance, this could lead to changes in what is emphasized during physical and skill training for law enforcement recruits.

2.1. Participants

  • Data were collected by the staff of one LEA in the USA and was released to the primary investigators with consent from that organization.
  • All training cohorts started their academy within a calendar year in southern California, and all recruits in this study graduated.
  • Only those recruits with full data sets were considered.
  • The final publication is available at IOS Press through http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/WOR-213437 analysis, the institutional ethics committee approved the use of pre-existing data (HSR-17-18-370).

2.2. Procedures

  • The data in this study were collected by staff working for one LEA.
  • The staff involved in data collection for the PT500, VPAT+, and WSTB were all trained by a certified Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator who verified the proficiency of all staff.
  • Each recruit’s age, height, and body mass were recorded at the start of the 22-week academy training period, and included to provide a description of the characteristics of the recruits.
  • The weather conditions for testing were typical of the climate of southern California during a calendar year.
  • There was no indoor testing facility available for this LEA and these procedures were typical of staff from this LEA [35].

2.5. WSTB

  • The WSTB is mandatory for LEAs in California, and recruits must attain a minimum score of 384 to graduate from academy [12, 14].
  • The WSTB was performed outdoors on specifically designed structures at the LEA training facility.
  • Time for each test was recorded to the nearest 0.1- s by a staff member with stopwatch for each attempt, and the fastest time was analysed.
  • The recruit dragged the dummy as quickly as possible by walking backwards over the required distance, and timing stopped when the dummy’s feet passed the finish line.
  • Once the recruit cleared the fence, they were to land and run a 25-yard (22.86-m) distance as fast as possible to complete the test.

2.6. Statistical Analysis

  • All statistical analyses were computed using the Statistics Package for Social Sciences (Version 26.0; IBM Corporation, New York, USA).
  • Descriptive statistics (mean ± standard deviation [SD]) were calculated for each variable, and stem-and-leaf plots confirmed a normal distribution in data [12, 44].
  • Partial correlations controlling for sex were used to determine 13 With great power comes great ability: Extending research on fitness characteristics that influence work sample test battery performance in law enforcement recruits.

3. Results

  • Descriptive data for all variables is shown in Table 1, while the correlation data is shown in Table 2.
  • The BD only had a significant relationship with the 75PR, with the correlation strength being small.
  • The CLF significantly related to pull-ups and the 201-m run from the PT500 (both small), and all VPAT+ tests (small-to-moderate).

4. Discussion

  • This study documented the relationships between an agency-specific fitness testing battery called the PT500, and a novel testing battery called the VPAT+ which featured power-focused assessments (MBT, VJ, and 75PR), with a job-specific testing battery called the WSTB in law enforcement recruits.
  • There were a range of significant relationships between the PT500 and VPAT+ with the WSTB.
  • With great power comes great ability: Extending research on fitness characteristics that influence work sample test battery performance in law enforcement recruits.
  • This could include not just enhancing the strength and power of the recruit, but also how they navigate direction changes (e.g. lowered centre of gravity, correct footwork, deceleration and acceleration capabilities) [39, 49-51].

5. Conclusion

  • Specific relationships between the PT500 and novel VPAT+ with job-specific performance measured by the WSTB were identified.
  • Muscular endurance, and anaerobic and aerobic capacity could influence running tasks such as the 99OC and 500R.
  • It is likely that other qualities not measured in this study, such as lower-body strength, could contribute more to the BD.
  • The strength of the relationships, however, suggested that factors such as climbing technique could be an influencing factor in the CLF and SW.
  • Nonetheless, the development of upper- and lower-body power and COD speed, in addition to the more traditional qualities of muscular endurance and aerobic capacity, could aid in improving the job-specific task performance of law enforcement recruits.

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Bond University
Research Repository
With great power comes great ability: Extending research on fitness characteristics that
influence work sample test battery performance in law enforcement recruits
Lockie, Robert G; Moreno, Matthew R; Cesario, Karly A; Dulla, Joseph M; Orr, Robin M; Jay
Dawes, J
Published in:
Work
DOI:
10.3233/WOR-213437
Licence:
Other
Link to output in Bond University research repository.
Recommended citation(APA):
Lockie, R. G., Moreno, M. R., Cesario, K. A., Dulla, J. M., Orr, R. M., & Jay Dawes, J. (2021). With great power
comes great ability: Extending research on fitness characteristics that influence work sample test battery
performance in law enforcement recruits.
Work
,
68
(4), 1069-1080. https://doi.org/10.3233/WOR-213437
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Download date: 10 Aug 2022

1
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:
Lockie, R. G., Moreno, M. R., Cesario, K. A., Dulla, J. M., Orr, R. M., & Jay Dawes, J. (2021). With great power comes great ability: Extending research on
fitness characteristics that influence work sample test battery performance in law enforcement recruits. Work.
The final publication is available at IOS Press through http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/WOR-213437
With Great Power Comes Great Ability: Extending Research on Fitness Characteristics
that Influence Work Sample Test Battery Performance in Law Enforcement Recruits
Brief Running Head: Fitness Characteristics and the WSTB
Key words: aerobic capacity, muscular endurance, police, medicine ball throw, vertical jump

2
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:
Lockie, R. G., Moreno, M. R., Cesario, K. A., Dulla, J. M., Orr, R. M., & Jay Dawes, J. (2021). With great power comes great ability: Extending research on
fitness characteristics that influence work sample test battery performance in law enforcement recruits. Work.
The final publication is available at IOS Press through http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/WOR-213437
Abstract
BACKGROUND: Fitness could influence task performance in police officers. Limited research
details relationships between different fitness characteristics and police-specific tasks.
OBJECTIVE: Determine relationships between anaerobic and aerobic capacity with police-
specific task performance.
METHODS: Data for 308 recruits was analysed. Fitness tests included: push-ups, sit-ups, and
mountain climbers (muscular endurance); pull-ups (strength); vertical jump (VJ) and 2-kg
medicine ball throw (MBT; power); 75-yard pursuit run (75PR; change-of-direction speed); 201-
m run (anaerobic capacity); 2.4-km run and multistage fitness test (aerobic capacity). Police tasks
included: 99-yard obstacle course (99OC); 74.84-kg body drag (BD); chain link fence (CLF) and
solid wall (SW) climbs; and 500-yard run (500R). Partial correlations controlling for sex and linear
regression calculated relationships between fitness and job tasks.
RESULTS: 99OC correlated with all assessments; BD only with 75PR. CLF related to the power
and aerobic capacity tests, pull-ups, and 201-m run. SW related to VJ, 75PR, pull-ups, sit-ups,
201-m run, and aerobic capacity. 500R related to all except the MBT and 2.4-km run. 75PR and
VJ predicted 4/5 tasks.
CONCLUSIONS: Police research has shown the importance of muscular endurance and aerobic
capacity. Specific to this studies’ correlations, the value of power and change-of-direction speed
development for task performance was indicated.

3
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:
Lockie, R. G., Moreno, M. R., Cesario, K. A., Dulla, J. M., Orr, R. M., & Jay Dawes, J. (2021). With great power comes great ability: Extending research on
fitness characteristics that influence work sample test battery performance in law enforcement recruits. Work.
The final publication is available at IOS Press through http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/WOR-213437
1. Introduction
Law enforcement can be a physically challenging profession. Police or law enforcement
officers (LEOs) may be required to push, pull, lift, carry, as well as drag objects or people at any
time during their shift [1]. Job-specific policing skills may also need to be performed, which can
include: driving vehicles [2, 3]; the use of firearms [4-6]; defensive tactics [5, 7]; civilian or partner
rescue, vaulting obstacles, and pursuing and apprehending suspects [8-11]. For recruits, the
academy training period is used to develop the fitness and skills needed to perform these tasks
successfully. Due to the potential job demands, many law enforcement agencies (LEAs) will
conduct final examinations of physical skills. In the state of California in the USA, law
enforcement recruits must complete the Work Sample Test Battery (WSTB) to an appropriate
standard before they can graduate academy [12-14]. The WSTB consists of five physically
demanding tests completed for time: a 99-yard (90.53-m) obstacle course (99OC); a body drag
(BD) with a 165-lb (74.84-kg) dummy; a climb over a six-foot chain link fence (CLF); a climb
over a six-foot solid wall (SW); and a 500-yard (457.2-m) run (500R). The faster a recruit can
complete each of these tasks, the more points they are allocated [12, 14].
Performance in the WSTB could be influenced by different fitness characteristics, such as
anaerobic and aerobic capacity [12, 13]. This is important to note, because if an officer can improve
a specific fitness characteristic (e.g. improved muscular endurance, strength, or power), this could
translate to better performance in a job task. Better job task performance by an officer could then
improve the safety of the officer and the public they serve (e.g. a faster body drag could ensure a
civilian is safely rescued from a hazardous environment) [15, 16]. To this end, Lockie et al. [12]
examined the relationships between the WSTB with an agency-specific fitness test battery called
the PT500. The PT500 comprised: push-ups, sit-ups, and mountain climbers completed in 120 s;

4
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:
Lockie, R. G., Moreno, M. R., Cesario, K. A., Dulla, J. M., Orr, R. M., & Jay Dawes, J. (2021). With great power comes great ability: Extending research on
fitness characteristics that influence work sample test battery performance in law enforcement recruits. Work.
The final publication is available at IOS Press through http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/WOR-213437
pull-ups; and a 201-m (220-yard) and 2.4-km (1.5-mile) run. This agency used the PT500 to
monitor performance in physical training, and to award fitness pins to high-performing recruits
[12]. Lockie et al. [12] found that the 99OC related to performance in sit-ups, pull-ups, and the
201-m and 2.4-km runs (r = ±0.127-0.253). The CLF related to sit-ups, pull-ups, and 2.4-km run
(r = ±0.175-0.315), while the SW related to mountain climbers, pull-ups, and the 2.4-km run (r =
±0.127-0.309). The 500R correlated with all PT500 assessments (r = ±0.128-0.574), Lockie et al.
[12] also found significant predictive relationships for the 99OC (pull-ups, push-ups, and 2.4 km-
run; r
2
= 0.301), CLF (pull-ups and push-ups; r
2
= 0.418), SW (pull-ups; r
2
= 0.493), and 500R
(2.4-km run and pull-ups; r
2
= 0.500). The BD did not relate to any of the PT500 assessments.
Nonetheless, Lockie et al. [12] noted the potential benefits of developing upper-body strength and
aerobic fitness for enhanced WSTB performance.
However, an issue within the Lockie et al. [12] study was a lack of power (e.g. jump or
speed/sprint running) tests in the PT500. This is very typical of law enforcement fitness testing,
where there tends to be a focus on muscular endurance and aerobic capacity [1, 8, 17-32]. It could
be expected that both upper- and lower-body power should be beneficial for both law enforcement
recruits and officers. Indeed, LEOs ranked anaerobic power as being more important for their
regular job tasks than characteristics such as muscular endurance or aerobic capacity [33]. As
further evidence, Dawes et al. [8] found that faster LEOs in an occupational-specific physical
ability test, which included tasks such as maximal running, obstacle clearance, dragging, and
lifting and carrying, also tended to display superior countermovement vertical jump (VJ)
performance (r = -0.54). Moreno et al. [16] discovered that greater lower-body power as measured
by the VJ and standing broad jump both related to faster performance in the BD (r = 0.209-609).

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Frequently Asked Questions (2)
Q1. What are the contributions mentioned in the paper "With great power comes great ability: extending research on fitness characteristics that influence work sample test battery performance in law enforcement recruits brief running head: fitness characteristics and the wstb" ?

For example, Lockie et al. this paper found significant predictive relationships between the WSTB with an agency-specific fitness test battery called the PT500. 

Future research should investigate relationships between lower-body strength and the BD in law enforcement recruits. The strength of the relationships, however, suggested that factors such as climbing technique could be an influencing factor in the CLF and SW.