Are There Any Sex Differences in Training Loads during British Army Basic Training?

Research Paper Title

Sex Differences in Training Loads during British Army Basic Training.

Background

To compare training loads between men and women during 14-weeks of British Army standard entry basic training.

Methods

Thirty-one male (mean ± SD, age 21 ± 4 years, height 1.78 ± 0.08 m, mass 77.1 ± 10.5 kg) and 28 female (age 22 ± 4 years, height 1.65 ± 0.05 m, mass 63.9 ± 8.9 kg) British Army recruits had external (distance) and internal (heart rate [HR], training impulse [TRIMP], ratings of perceived exertion [RPE]) training loads measured during weeks 1, 2, 6, 12 and 13 of basic training. Total energy expenditure (TEE) was measured during weeks 1-2 and 12-13.

Results

  • Daily distance was higher for men than women (13,508 ± 666 vs 11,866 ± 491 m, respectively, P < 0.001).
  • Average daily HR (29 ± 3 vs 30 ± 3% HR reserve) and RPE (4 ± 1 vs 4 ± 1) were not different between men and women, respectively (P ≥ 0.495).
  • Daily TRIMP was higher for women than men (492 ± 130 vs 261 ± 145 au, respectively, P < 0.001).
  • TEE was higher for men than women during weeks 1-2 (4020 ± 620 vs 2847 ± 323 kcal/d, respectively) and 12-13 (4253 ± 556 vs 3390 ± 344 kcal/d, respectively) (P < 0.001).
  • Daily RPE, HR and TRIMP were related to daily distance (R = 0.18-0.57, P ≤ 0.037), and daily RPE was related to daily TRIMP and HR (R = 0.37-0.77, P ≤ 0.001).

Conclusions

Sex differences in training loads could contribute to the greater injury risk for women during basic training. Daily RPE appears a practical option for measuring internal training load during military training.

Reference

O’Leary, T.J., Saunders, S.C., McGuire, S.J., Venables, M.C. & Izard, R.M. (2018) Sex Differences in Training Loads during British Army Basic Training. Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001716. [Epub ahead of print].

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