Gender, Physical Demands & British Army Initial Military Training

Research Paper Title

Comparison of the Physical Demands of Single-sex Training for Male and Female Recruits in the British Army.

Background

This study compared the physical demands and progression of basic training for male and female British Army recruits in single-sex platoons.

Methods

30 male and 30 female recruits were monitored for energy expenditure (EE) (doubly labelled water), physical activity (3-dimensional accelerometry) and cardiovascular strain (percent heart rate reserve) during 6 weeks over the 14-week course.

Result

First time pass rate was similar for male (60%) and female (57%) recruits. Average daily percent heart rate reserve (female 31 +/- 4%; male 32 +/- 5%), physical activity levels (female 2.2 +/- 0.2; male 2.3 +/- 0.2) and percentage improvements in 2.4-km run time (female 10 +/- 4%; male 10 +/- 5%) were similar for both sexes (p > 0.05), although male recruits had 12% higher physical activity counts (p < 0.01).

Conclusions

Although the absolute physical demands of basic training were greater for male recruits, the relative cardiovascular strain experienced was similar between sexes.

Reference

Richmond, V.L., Carter, J.M., Wilkinson, D.M., Homer, F.E., Rayson, M.P., Wright, A. & Bilzon, J.L. (2012) Comparison of the Physical Demands of Single-sex Training for Male and Female Recruits in the British Army. Military Medicine. 177(6), 709-715.

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