The Swiss Army physical fitness test battery predicts risk of overuse injuries among recruits

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2012 Oct;52(5):513-21.


Aim: The aim of this study was to quantify the discriminative power of physical performance tests to recognize conscripts with enhanced risk of acute and overuse injuries in specific, physically demanding occupational specialties of the Swiss Army. The five performance tests investigated represent the Swiss Army Physical Fitness Test Battery.

Methods: Physical fitness performances were assessed during recruitment procedures prior to military service, and injury occurrences were assessed during 18 weeks of boot camp. Complete fitness and injury data of 459 volunteers from four military occupational specialties were collected. Discriminative power of volunteers' aerobic endurance capacity, trunk muscle fitness, muscle power of upper and lower extremities, and balance for predicting risk of acute injuries and for predicting risk of overuse injuries was calculated using receiver operating characteristic curve analysis.

Results: The presented fitness tests had no discriminative power for predicting the risk of acute injuries. However, the trunk muscle fitness test was discriminative in predicting overuse injuries in all four military occupational specialties, progressive endurance run in three, balance test in two, and standing long jump in one. Only the seated shot put had no significant power for predicting overuse injuries in all four study groups. However, for different occupational specialties, different fitness parameters were discriminative to predict overuse injuries.

Conclusion: It is possible to conclude that the fitness tests used allow detection of conscripts with enhanced overuse injury risk in physically demanding occupational specialties and therefore provide an indicator to select suitable personnel for physically demanding jobs in a military organization.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anthropometry
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / physiopathology
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Switzerland
  • Young Adult