Progessive Training Reduces Stress Fractures

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Research Paper Title

Stress Fractures in Royal Marine Recruits.


Data are presented on stress fracture patterns at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM). To reduce the high number of training injuries, including stress fractures, a complete review of the training syllabus was undertaken.

Following recommendations from this review, a newly designed, physiologically progressive training programme was introduced.

The result of this revised training syllabus was a statistically significant reduction in stress fracture incidence. The paper discussed the causes of stress fractures with particular reference to skeletal adaptation to physical loading and the role of muscular support of the axial skeleton.

Source: Ross, R.A. & Allsopp, A. (2002) Stress Fractures in Royal Marine Recruits. Military Medicine. 167(7), pp.560-565.


2 thoughts on “Progessive Training Reduces Stress Fractures

    1. Hi John,

      It is difficult to give you an exact answer as there are differences between the Services, the individual training establishments and the length of training. Adult recruits (18+) may have as little as 12 weeks initial military training in contrast to junior recruits (16-18) who may have up to 12 months initial military training. However, the general principles for initial military training are:

      1. All recruits are issued with two pairs of combat boots to ‘break-in’; of which there are various methods.
      2. Weeks 1-4: All recruits wear training shoes for the first week, alternating when appropriate and practicable between boots and training shoes during weeks 2-4. These 4 weeks are also used to develop a basic level of fitness for recruits; typically through circuit training, squadded running and sports (all in training shoes).
      3. Weeks 5-6: Recruits will generally wear boots exclusively from week 5; although for off-duty and sports, training shoes would be worn. At this point basic combat fitness would be started, i.e. squadded running in boots and the assault course.
      4. Weeks 7+: Week 7 is approximately the point at which recruits would be introduced to loaded marches. Typically both pairs of boots would have been ‘broken-in’ and a good standard of fitness acquired by the group. As recruits would have already been conducting squadded runs and marches, without weight, this basic combat fitness would start with 50% or less of the required weight for the final tests (22 lbs(ish)). Further loaded marches will then increase the weight, distance and duration on a progressive basis. Recruits are also given lectures on foot care, hydration and basic nutrition, boot care, how to pack a rucksack and the purpose of loaded marches.

      Most, if not all, initial recruit training establishments now have some form of remedial training programme. If recruits struggle, for whatever reason, they can be referred to this programme which typically offers rehabilitation, remedial and military theory packages (e.g. map-reading so a recruit does not have skill fade).

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