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    Photo By John Marciano | Read Adm. Darin K. Via, deputy chief Readiness and Health, Bureau of Medicine and...... read more read more



    Story by John Marciano 

    Naval Health Research Center

    The U.S. Navy initiated a program to promote physical fitness in 1976 with the intent of implementing a Navy wide physical fitness strategy with an emphasis on improving cardiorespiratory fitness. This effort has evolved through the years to establish and develop a culture of fitness with an overarching goal to enhance the development of Sailor fitness that would meet the operational and combat challenges of serving in the U.S. Navy.
    The Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) Warfighter Performance Department has worked in conjunction with the 21st Century Sailor Physical Readiness Program to develop the components, performance standards, and scoring matrix for the Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT) from its inception. The philosophy for the PRT transitioned from a culture of fitness testing to a culture of fitness and readiness in order to strike a better balance between health and physical readiness, and move toward realistic measures of health, fitness, and mission readiness.
    In 2017, the Chief of Naval Personnel and 21st Century Sailor Office considered a potential revision of the current PRT, and once more asked NHRC to conduct the pilot evaluations for potential new components of the PRT. The seated medicine ball throw, standing long jump, repeated 300-yard shuttle run, and forearm plank were the modalities recommended for inclusion in an alternative PRT. NHRC’s Warfighter Performance staff contended that these new modalities evaluate more operationally relevant measures of performance fitness, thereby providing a more comprehensive assessment of a sailor’s mission readiness.
    From this pilot study, the forearm plank was selected for further evaluation as a PRT component. The forearm plank is a static test that begins when the participant initiates the correct starting position and ends when the participant fails to maintain the correct starting position/posture.
    “Core strength is important for controlling forces across the lumbar spine in order to produce and transfer energy to the distal limbs for functional and operationally relevant tasks, such as pushing, pulling, lifting, and carrying,” said Lt. Melissa Laird, former lead scientist on this study, now within the Behavior Development and Performance branch of the 21st Century Sailor Office. “The forearm plank involves an isometric contraction that activates almost twice as much musculature, including the abdominal muscles, obliques, spinal erectors, and, to a lesser extent, muscles in the glutes, shoulders, chest, and arms.”

    Recently, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) announced in a Facebook video posting and later confirmed in an article in the Navy Times that the forearm plank and the choice of performing a 2-km rowing trial would be added to the PRT in 2020. The 2-km row would provide a fourth cardiorespiratory fitness alternative to go along with the 1.5-mile run, 500-yard swim, and 12-minute stationary cycle components. In coordination with CNO’s current directive, NHRC has received the tasking and funding to evaluate the forearm plank and 2-km rowing tests and develop performance standards across gender and age brackets for inclusion in an upcoming revision to the PRT.
    While attending the Military Health System Research Symposium last week, Rear Adm. Darin K. Via, deputy chief Readiness and Health, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, said, “In-depth research work, like that of Lt. Laird’s, is what helps Navy leadership provide the information needed to make analytic decisions on how to best maintain health and readiness of the fleet.” Rear Adm. Via added, “This study reflects one end of a wide range of research in Navy Medicine and is a great representation of applied research in support of the warfighter focused on readiness.”

    NHRC’s mission is to optimize the operational readiness and health of our armed forces and families by conducting research, development, testing and evaluation to inform Department of Defense (DoD) policy. NHRC supports military mission readiness with research and development that delivers high-value, high-impact solutions to the health and readiness challenges our military population faces on the battlefield, at sea, on foreign shores, and at home. NHRC’s team of distinguished scientists and researchers consists of active duty service members, federal civil service employees, and contractors, whose expertise includes physiology, microbiology, psychology, epidemiology, and biomedical engineering.



    Date Taken: 08.27.2019
    Date Posted: 08.27.2019 16:20
    Story ID: 337634
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

    Web Views: 993
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