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J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Sep;29(9):2441-59. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000923.

Exercise-Based Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention for Firefighters: Contrasting the Fitness- and Movement-Related Adaptations to Two Training Methodologies.

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1Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and 2Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


Using exercise to enhance physical fitness may have little impact on performers' movement patterns beyond the gym environment. This study examined the fitness and movement adaptations exhibited by firefighters in response to 2 training methodologies. Fifty-two firefighters were assigned to a movement-guided fitness (MOV), conventional fitness (FIT), or control (CON) group. Before and after 12 weeks of training, participants performed a fitness evaluation and laboratory-based test. Three-dimensional lumbar spine and frontal plane knee kinematics were quantified. Five whole-body tasks not included in the interventions were used to evaluate the transfer of training. FIT and MOV groups exhibited significant improvements in all aspects of fitness; however, only MOV exhibited improvements in spine and frontal plane knee motion control when performing each transfer task (effect sizes [ESs] of 0.2-1.5). FIT exhibited less controlled spine and frontal plane knee motions while squatting, lunging, pushing, and pulling (ES: 0.2-0.7). More MOV participants (43%) exhibited only positive posttraining changes (i.e., improved control), in comparison with FIT (30%) and CON (23%). Fewer negative posttraining changes were also noted (19, 25, and 36% for MOV, FIT, and CON). These findings suggest that placing an emphasis on how participants move while exercising may be an effective training strategy to elicit behavioral changes beyond the gym environment. For occupational athletes such as firefighters, soldiers, and police officers, this implies that exercise programs designed with a movement-oriented approach to periodization could have a direct impact on their safety and effectiveness by engraining desirable movement patterns that transfer to occupational tasks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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