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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2019 November;59(11):1835-44

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.19.09482-9


language: English

Aerobic fitness, upper-body strength and agility predict performance on an occupational physical ability test among police officers while wearing personal protective equipment

Eduardo FRIO MARINS 1, 2, Leo CABISTANY 1, Charles BARTEL 1, J. Jay DAWES 3 , Fabrício BOSCOLO DEL VECCHIO 1

1 Superior School of Physical Education, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil; 2 Department of Federal Highway Police, Brasília, Brazil; 3 Department of Health and Human Performance, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA

BACKGROUND: Police institutions often use Occupational Physical Ability Tests (OPATs) as a measure of occupational performance. These tests are utilized to mimic the daily and essential tasks performed by the police officers, but few are performed with load carriage (LC). The purpose of this study was to examine the physical performance predictors of an OPAT performed without (NPPE) and with (WPPE) LC.
METHODS: Thirteen federal highway police officers (age: 36.8±3.7 years, body mass: 89±10.7 kg, height: 180±5.6 cm) volunteered to complete a battery of physical fitness tests (aerobic power and capacity, muscular endurance, lower limb power, upper limb strength, agility and anaerobic power) and anthropometrics. Occupational performance was measured by the total OPAT time consisting of 7 sequential police tasks. All subjects randomly completed the tests on both LC conditions.
RESULTS: Agility (P<0.01), lower limb power and height (P<0.05) were significantly related to performance in the NPPE OPAT. In the WPPE condition, aerobic power (absolute and relative) (P<0.01), lower limb power and agility (P<0.05). The best predictors for OPAT performance were agility (R2=0.45, P<0.01) in the NPPE condition, as well as relative aerobic power, upper limb strength and agility in the WPPE condition (R2=0.81, P<0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Different conditions of LC have distinct occupational performance predictors. Thus, considering LC, physical exercise programs aimed at improving police occupational performance should aim at improving agility, upper limb strength and aerobic fitness.

KEY WORDS: Law enforcement; Task performance and analysis; Exercise test

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