OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

Fitness and Body Composition Characteristics of Special Weapons and Tactics Team Members of Law Enforcement Agencies


PURPOSE: Occupational demands of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) law enforcement agents involve extended sedentary periods with occasional bouts of vigorous exertion. It is imperative that these agents have high physical fitness levels to support vigorous exertion whilst avoiding musculoskeletal or cardiovascular injury, but investigations of the SWAT population is limited. The purpose of this study was to examine the fitness characteristics of SWAT team members. METHODS: Fourteen male SWAT members (mean±SD; age = 33.1±5.7 y, height = 180.7±5.4 cm, body mass = 90.6±10.0 kg) completed five assessments. These included a 1) dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan to determine percent body fat (%body fat) and bone mineral density (BMD); 2) onerepetition maximum (1RM) bench press test to assess strength; 3) graded exercise test to measure maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max); 4) YMCA submaximal bench press test to measure muscular endurance; and 5) forward flexion test to measure flexibility. RESULTS: Participants had 18.7±4.7% body fat and a BMD T-Score of 1.06±1.15. Absolute and relative 1RM bench press results were 120.9±14.5 kg and 1.35±0.22 kg·kg-1, respectively. V̇O2max was 47.9±5.5 ml·kg-1·min-1. Participants completed 52±15 repetitions on the YMCA submaximal bench press test. Participants reached 30.7±5.7 cm on the forward flexion test. CONCLUSION: Compared to 30-39-year-old male normative data, this population exhibited a higher-than-average BMD T-score. Participants’ %body fat was classified as fair. Cardiorespiratory fitness; muscular strength and endurance; and flexibility ranged from good to excellent. These findings suggest fitness levels of these SWAT members are appropriate for the vigorous exertions involved in this occupation.

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