Less body fat improves physical and physiological performance in army soldiers.
The purpose of this study was to compare physical and physiological fitness test performance between Soldiers meeting the Department of Defense (DoD) body fat standard (< or = 18%) and those exceeding the standard (> 18%). Ninety-nine male 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Soldiers were assigned to group 1: < or = 18% body fat (BF) or group 2: > 18% BE. Groups 1 and 2 had similar amounts of fat-free mass (FFM) (66.8 +/- 8.2 vs. 64.6 +/- 8.0, p = 177). Each subject performed a Wingate cycle protocol to test anaerobic power and capacity, an incremental treadmill maximal oxygen uptake test for aerobic capacity, isokinetic tests for knee flexion/extension and shoulder internal/external rotation strength, and the Army Physical Fitness Test. Results showed group 1: < 18% BF performed significantly better on 7 of the 10 fitness tests. In Soldiers with similar amounts of FFM, Soldiers with less body fat had improved aerobic and anaerobic capacity and increased muscular strength.
Crawford, K; Fleishman, K; Abt, JP; Sell, TC; Lovalekar, M; Nagai, T; Deluzio, J; Rowe, RS; McGrail, MA; Lephart, SM
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