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Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research


muscular endurance, tactical athlete, first responder, fitness testing, police


The purpose of this study was to explore variation-dependent differences in push-up and sit-up tests, as well as to identify the relationships between push-up and sit-up variations commonly performed among tactical personnel. Data from 41 (age = 21.1 ± 1.8 years, body mass = 89.5 ± 15.5 kg) male police cadets from one US-based training academy who performed the standard push-up (PU Standard), hand-release push-up (PU Hand-release), standard sit-up (SU Standard), and hands behind the head sit-up (SU BehindHead) were examined. The maximum number of repetitions completed for each exercise was used for analyses with paired-samples t tests used to identify significant differences between outcome measures and effect sizes (ES) to determine change in magnitude. A significant difference, with a large ES, was found in the number of repetitions completed between the push-up variations (p < 0.001, ES = 0.75) and sit-up variations (p < 0.001, ES = 1.02). Performance in PU Standard was only able to explain 39% of the variation in PU Hand-release (r = 0.62, r2 = 0.39, p < 0.001), and performance in the SU Standard was only able to explain 29% of the variation in SU BehindHead (r = 0.54, r2 = 0.29, p < 0.001). The current study suggests differences in performance capabilities may be dependent on the push-up and sit-up variations chosen for testing. Although it is still unclear whether one variation would be a better predictor of police work performance, agencies must give special attention to the overall construct validity of fitness tests for entry and retention of law enforcement officers.




This is the final peer-reviewed manuscript of the article published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 37, no. 9 (September 2023): 1865-1869. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000004466.

Available for download on Thursday, January 02, 2025

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