How do they compare?: an assessment of predeployment fitness in the Arizona National Guard

J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Nov;25(11):2955-62. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31822dfba8.


Currently, there is a paucity of literature that describes physical fitness levels in deploying service members. There has been no data collected that evaluate the Army National Guard or Reserves. This descriptive study will provide physical fitness data for soldiers in the Arizona National Guard (AZNG), allowing for a comparison between the active and reserve components. Sixty soldiers from the AZNG were tested before deployment. Body composition was measured by using air displacement plethysmography. Flexibility testing included the sit and reach (SNR), trunk extension (TE), and shoulder elevation (SE) assessments. Muscular strength was determined by the completion of 1 repetition maximum (1RM) bench press and back squat. Muscular endurance was determined by the completion of the Army push-up (P/U) and sit-up (S/U) test. Muscular power was assessed by the completion of the Wingate cycle test and the standing broad jump (SBJ). Cardiorespiratory fitness was determined by the completion of a VO2peak test. The AZNG soldiers demonstrated a fat mass of 22.7 ± 8.9%, SNR, TE, and SE of 30.0 ± 8.9, 117.1 ± 25.2, and 145.5 ± 50.3 cm, 1RM bench press and back squat of 82.2 ± 29.9 and 104.6 ± 29.0 kg, P/U and S/U of 50 ± 18 and 53 ± 14 reps, peak power of 660.9 ± 177.8 W, SBJ of 191.8 ± 28.4 cm, and VO2peak of 48.9 ± 8.8 ml·kg(-1)·min(-1). This is the first study that provides descriptive data for physical fitness in a reserve component. The data demonstrate that these AZNG soldiers are relatively fit and have comparable results to their active duty counterparts. This descriptive data will provide military leadership a better understanding of the condition of soldiers before deployment and will assist them in better preparing soldiers for future conflicts.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arizona / epidemiology
  • Body Composition
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Shoulder / physiology
  • Weight Lifting / physiology
  • Young Adult