Time to Recover from Arduous Training!

Research Paper Title

Differential recovery rates of fitness following U.S. Army Ranger training.


To investigate tactically-related physical performance and body composition recovery following US Army Ranger training using a prospective cohort.


Physical performance was comprehensively assessed using a tactically-related performance battery (i.e., Ranger Athlete Warrior assessment) in 10 male Soldiers at baseline (BL) two-weeks (P1), and six-weeks (P2) post-Ranger School. Body composition was determined using DXA.

A one-way repeated measures ANOVA was used followed by Bonferroni-adjusted pairwise comparisons when group differences existed (p≤0.05). Pearson correlation coefficients were used to establish associations between changes in fitness and body composition.


All performance domains except the bench press and deadlift worsened following training.

Speed/mobility (Illinois agility test, seconds – BL: 16.20±0.86 vs. P2: 18.66±2.09), anaerobic capacity (300-yard shuttle run, seconds – BL: 62.95±6.17 vs. P2: 67.23±5.91), core strength (heel clap, repetitions – BL: 15.80±4.08 vs. P2: 11.50±4.95), and aerobic endurance (beep test, stage – BL: 9.95±2.18 vs. P2: 7.55±1.07) had not recovered by P2. Only upper body muscular endurance and strength (metronome push-up and pull-up, respectively) were similar to BL by P2.

Percent body fat increased from 15.62±3.94 (BL) to 19.33±2.99 (P2) (p<0.001).

There were no significant associations between changes in body composition and performance.


A comprehensive characterisation of physical performance and body composition revealed Rangers did not experience full recovery of fitness six weeks after training.

Optimal recovery strategies are needed to return Soldiers to a state of readiness following arduous training.


Conkright, W.R., Barringer, N.D., Lescure, P.B., Feeney, K.A., Smith, M.A. & Nindl, B.C. (2020) Differential recovery rates of fitness following U.S. Army Ranger training. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 23(5), pp.529-534. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2019.12.010. Epub 2019 Dec 17.


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