Outlining Military Human Performance Optimisation & Injury Prevention Strategies

Research Paper Title

Military human performance optimization and injury prevention: Strategies for the 21st century warfighter.

Abstract

This special issue of the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport is dedicated to the topic of optimising physical performance and reducing musculoskeletal injury.

Effective military training should increase physical performance capabilities without incurring high rates of injury. Training injuries are not a badge of honour but rather indicate less than optimal training programmes.

Better understanding of all aspects contributing to the training ecosystem, including factors such as, musculoskeletal physiology, responses to a training stimulus and the influences of rest, nutrition, and personal health habits, provide a scientific basis for the design of training programmes that will result in soldiers with greater job-specific capabilities.

Better understanding of injury risk factors contributes to the design of programmes that should reduce training injuries even as they improve in effectiveness. Over the years, military training epidemiology has identified aspects of how injury risk is heightened, such as running in formation with the shortest individuals over-striding in the rear, performing training runs in boots, immediately starting new training with high workloads, etc.

As injury risks have been reduced, additional risk factors have been exposed and potentially can also be reduced.

The articles in this issue identify some of the latest findings pertinent to military physical training. These findings are relevant well beyond the military, with applications in many other occupationally related physical performance programmes and to athletic training.

Reference

Nindl, B.C., Beals, K., Witchalls, J. & Friedl, K.E. (2017) Military human performance optimization and injury prevention: Strategies for the 21st century warfighter.

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