Degree Name

Master of Science - Research


School of Health Sciences


Pushing, pulling, lifting and carrying items are performed routinely in many trades within a military environment, contributing to 41% of all manual handling tasks (Jones et al., 2000; Sharp et al., 2009). These strength‐related tasks place significant physical demands upon the soldier (Sharp et al., 1993). However, unlike other occupations, these task demands cannot be re‐engineered or reduced. In order to adequately meet this diverse range of task demands, soldiers must have sufficient physical capacity (Sharp et al., 2009) . Currently, the ARMY undertake 36% of training time in endurance running, swimming and pack marching and 18% of training time performing non‐specific resistance circuit training within the 80‐day, 12‐week Basic Military Training regimen (Orme, 2005).

The distribution of time dedicated to strength training does not match the significant strength daily trade demands (Hendrickson et al., 2010). The actual transfer of adaptations following Basic Military Training regimen to improve occupational performance is currently unknown. Therefore, the aim of this investigation was to observe the effect of a modified version of the Basic Military Training Program on occupational performance (maximal box lift, maximal pack lift and repetitive lift), generic strength assessments (6RM squat, 1RM bench press, isometric and isokinetic knee extension/flexion, grip strength), aerobic power (VO2peak), agility (Illinois agility course), power (vertical jump) and current military assessments of physical capacity (2.4 km run, push ups and sit ups) in comparison to an experimental training regimen.

Forty Six (33F;13M) university students were randomised into two training regimen; military training (MT) and experimental training (ET). Three training sessions were performed for an 8‐week period. There were marked volume (time) differences in endurance between MT and ET (75% versus 15%) and strength (25% versus 85%) components of training, but with three sessions of one hour performed per week, total training time was matched.

Following the training intervention, no significant interaction was observed for occupational performance, however there was a significant interaction observed for 6RM squat performance (P= 0.0001). Interestingly, despite an 87% difference in endurance volume (training time), there was no significant interaction observed for 2.4 km endurance run time, regardless of VO2peak. The results obtained from this investigation reveal the effectiveness of high intensity training conducted within a concurrent setting . The ET regimen performed 12 minutes or 87% less endurance training, however there was no change observed in 2.4 km endurance run performance. ET total endurance training time accumulated to 2.5 minutes per week of high intensity training, in comparison to 90 minutes per week of endurance continuous running and pack marching training for the MT group. This difference in endurance training time was devoted to non‐linear resistance training, aiming at improving occupational performance.

This is the first study, to our knowledge, that reduced endurance training volume (time) by such a dramatic amount, however the total training time remained matched. In fact, 2.4 km endurance run performance was not altered. Therefore, within a military environment, high intensity endurance training seems a time efficient strategy for training the endurance physical capacity system, when performing resistance training concurrently.