Does Adapting Marching Distances & Physical Training Decrease Recruits Injuries & Attrition?

Research Paper Title

Adapted Marching Distances and Physical Training Decrease Recruits’ Injuries and Attrition


There is evidence that progressive loading of physical demands at the beginning of basic military service and specific physical training can reduce injury incidences.

Therefore, aim of this study was to measure the effects of a progressive increase in marching distances and an adapted physical training program on injury incidence and attrition rate in a Swiss Army infantry training school.


  • One company reduced the distances covered on foot during the first 4 weeks of basic military training.
  • A second company performed an adapted physical training program for 10 weeks.
  • A third company participated in both interventions combined, and a fourth company served as a control group without any intervention.


The injury incidences and attrition rates of 651 male recruits were registered during 21 weeks of military service. Several predictor variables for injury and attrition, such as physical fitness, previous injuries, level of previous physical activity, smoking, motivation, and socioeconomic factors, were assessed as well. The data were analysed using binary logistic backward regressions.


Each intervention separately had a favorable effect on injury prevention. However, combining the 2 interventions resulted in the greatest reduction in injury incidence rate (−33%). Furthermore, the adapted physical training successfully reduced the military service attrition rates (−53%).


Roos, L., Boesch, M., Sefidan, S., Frey, F., Mäder, U., Annen, H. & Wyss, T. (2015) Adapted Marching Distances and Physical Training Decrease Recruits’ Injuries and Attrition. Military Medicine. 180(3), pp.329-336. DOI:


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