2021, Volume 17, Issue 1
Changes in overall and special physical fitness of military cadets and physiotherapy students under the influence of various annual specialist trainings
Andrzej Chodała1, Bartłomiej Gąsienica Walczak2
1Faculty of Physical Education, Military University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland
2Health Institute, Podhale State College of Applied Sciences in Nowy Targ, Nowy Targ, Poland
Author for correspondence: Bartłomiej Gąsienica Walczak; Health Institute, Podhale State College of Applied Sciences in Nowy Targ, Nowy Targ, Poland; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background & Study Aim: One of the basic tasks in the training process is to achieve the appropriate level of motor fitness and the expected functional abilities of the body (special physical fitness – in our research: the ability to fall safely). Previous studies have shown that the ability to fall safely is determined most by neuromuscular coordination, flexibility, strength of the muscles of the limbs (lower and upper) and abdominal muscles. However, the hypothesis is that a high level is not a prerequisite for achieving motor competences in the field of safe fall. The cognitive purpose of this work is to answer the question whether the annual specialist training of military cadets and physiotherapy students significantly modifies the overall and special physical fitness of young men?
Material & Methods: Three groups were tested. Experimental group (EG) of military cadets (n = 24), who had received one year special course of hand-to-hand combat training within the framework of physical education (twice weekly) as part of their university military studies (age 19.8 years; body height 178.2 cm, range 163 to 186 cm; body mass 75 kg, range 71 to 95 kg). Comparison group of military cadets (CG, n = 24), who had received one year standard physical education course (twice weekly) as part of their university military studies (age 19.7 years; body height 179.3 cm, range 166 to 190 cm; body mass 73.4 kg, range 55 to 102 kg). Physiotherapy students (PS, n=14) who had received one year of safe fall special course (once a week) as part of their university studies (age 21.1 years; body height 182.6 cm, range 172 to 193 cm; body mass 85.4 kg, range 69 to 95 kg).
The overall physical fitness was measured with four trials (standing broad jump, pull-ups, sit ups, bend trunk) from the International Physical Fitness Test (IPFT) – before and after the courses. Special physical fitness measured by Test For Safe Falls (TFSF) in the full basic version – only after completing the courses.
Results: Each year of specialized training resulted in an increase in overall physical fitness, with the highest total score of the four IPFT trials of 243 points (difference from the first study of 21.3 points, p<0.001) was found among EG military cadets. CG score of 215.4 points (difference from the first study of 23.8 points, p<0.001) and PS respectively: 203.1- (11.2-, p<0.01). The highest effect of special physical fitness after a one-year course was found among physiotherapy students: 97.5 points (out of 100 possible) and respectively: EG military cadets 81.9-; CG 42.9-. In the CG cadets a correlation between TFSF and bend trunk and pull-up was found (p<0.05), also in physiotherapy students TFSF and bend trunk (p<0.01). In the EG cadets, no correlation was found between the TFSF scores and any of the four IPFT trials.
Conclusions: A modifying effect of one-year specialized training based on, among others, safe fall exercises on selected motor skills of overall physical fitness was found. The hypothesis that high overall physical fitness is not a prerequisite for achieving optimal motor competences in terms of the ability to fall safely has been positively verified once again.
Key words: functional abilities of the body, International Physical Fitness Test, motor competence, Test For Safe Falls