Factors of trainability and predictability associated with military physical fitness test success

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The purpose of this study was to determine the trainability of college-aged men using varied training programs and to assess factors associated with successfully passing a Special Operations Forces (SOF) physical fitness test (PFT). One hundred thirty-five male subjects were stratified into 3 training groups (run focused, calisthenic focused, or combined run and calisthenic) and were trained 3 times per week for 12 weeks. Body composition and accelerometer activity patterns were measured pretraining and posttraining. The PFT performance (pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups, and 1.5-mile run time) was measured weekly throughout the study period. The subjects exhibited reduced body fat (18.4 ± 7.7 to 16.9 ± 7.3), increased fat-free mass (66.1 ± 8.2 to 67.4 ± 7.9), reduced fat mass (15.8 ± 9.2 to 14.6 ± 8.9) from pretraining to posttraining, respectively (p < 0.05). All groups improved in each component of PFT performance with training (p < 0.05). There was a significant 20 ± 35% increase in 6-day average daily activity for the run-focused training group from pretraining and posttraining. The key indicators of a candidate's potential to successfully reach SOF PFT standards (in 12 weeks) were determined to be as follows: enter the pipeline being able to run 2.4 km in ≤10:41 minutes, have a body fat percentage of ≤12.9%, and participate in a minimum of 30 min d -1 of vigorous physical activity. Training an individual's relative run or calisthenic deficiency did not prove to be a better training approach compared with a program that emphasizes training both running and calisthenic activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3486-3494
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Special operations forces
  • Specificity
  • Training progression


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