A recent article in the NSCA Strength & Conditioning Journal highlighted proposed changes for the Navy physical fitness testing standards. These changes are following assessment protocols used in the Firefighters Wellness Fitness Initiative.
…”Since 1982, the Navy has been using the curl-up as a means of assessing core muscular endurance as part of its semiannual PRT. However, current research has shown that repetitive spinal flexion exercises, to include curl-ups, are better suited for muscular strength or size and not recommended for improving core endurance. Additionally, said exercises can actually lead to or cause low back injuries for some individuals. Instead, many researchers are now recommending replacing repetitive spinal flexion exercises with isometric trunk stabilization exercises for the purpose of core endurance testing. One example of a common isometric trunk stabilization exercise is the standard plank. The plank is an easy test to administer, operationally applicable, and may actually reduce the likelihood for and occurrences of low back injuries if trained regularly. The plank is a more credible means of assessing core muscular endurance for use in the semiannual Navy’s PRT and should be seriously considered as a viable alternative to the curl-up.”
The standards proposed are similar as well to our own grading system we use with the Everett Fire Department; 4:00 being the top mark and times below 2:00 being scored as needing improvement for core muscular endurance.
It’s good to see protocols we’ve been using for several years being reviewed and endorsed.