Military fitness testing has historically assessed individual fitness components. Fitness assessments of this nature do not adequately monitor the physical requirements of military operations. The development of a more combat-specific fitness test would enhance accuracy in assessing the soldiers' readiness for the demands of war. This study aimed to assess the short-term reliability of the conceptualised 'Combat Readiness Assessment' (CRA) following a single familiarisation trial with 21 male phase-two British Army Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer (REME) recruits (age (years) 19.7 ± 2.5) split into two groups (N = 11 and 10) to conform with recruit availability. The CRA was designed to be a multifaceted fitness assessment aimed at replicating the physical demands of a combat situation for military personnel. Three repeated assessments of the CRA were completed over a 10-day period (trial one as a familiarisation) to assess the short-term reliability of the CRA post familiarisation. The CRA was completed carrying a 4 kg rifle (SA80 A2) and involved a 400 m (M) run wearing an 11 kg backpack (removed after the 400 M) followed by weighted carries, sprints, casualty drags and agility tasks. Completion time (seconds) was recorded to assess performance. Intraclass correlations (ICCs) (2,1) with 95% confidence intervals (CI), the standard error of the measurement (SEM) and the coefficient of variation (CV) were calculated for completion time for trials 1-3 (T1-3) and 2-3 (T2-3) to assess reliability post-familiarisation. Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE) was calculated for T1-2 and T2-3. Descriptive statistics were calculated for completion time for T1-3 and T2-3. The reliability following a familiarisation trial from T1-3 (ICC: 0.75; SEM: 7.1 s; CV: 9.97%) to T2-3 (ICC: 0.88; SEM: 6.4 s; CV: 10.05%) increased. Mean trial time decreased post familiarisation from T1-3 (210.9 ± 21.03 s) to T2-3 (206.3 ± 20.73 s). These findings are inconclusive regarding the short-term reliability of the CRA. The small sample size resulted in wide 95% confidence intervals associated with the ICCs, making the true ICC value hard to determine. The ICCs and MAPE suggest that the reliability of the CRA increased following a familiarisation trial, but this requires further research with a larger cohort to determine with confidence.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.|
|Publication status||Published - 26 May 2022|