Original research title: Musculoskeletal, Biomechanical, and Physiological Gender differences in the US Military
Authors: Allison, K., Keenan, KA., Sell, TC., Abt, JP., Nagai, T., Deluzio, J., McGrail, M., & Lephart, SM.
Physical strength and movement quality gender discrepancies exist and can influence the physical suitability of an individual for different job roles. It is well understood that individuals not physically suitable to perform their job are at an increased risk of injury compared to those who are physically suitable. Quantifying these discrepancies using objective data helps practitioners implement physical training programs to bridge any gaps in physical strength and movement quality.
The aim of this study was to quantify physiological and biomechanical differences between men and women across a range of assessments to aid in creating gender-specific physical training programs.
406 101st Airborne Division soldiers (348 Male; 58 Female) were assessed for flexibility, isometric strength, balance, and lower body biomechanics. The results were compared between genders statistically using independent t-tests. Laboratory-based technology was used to capture shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle range of motion, strength, and power production across a range of isometric and dynamic movements.
The selected assessments had the sensitivity to detect differences between genders.
- Female soldiers had lower absolute muscle strength and power compared to male soldiers, and impaired movement biomechanics during the drop jump test.
- Screening personnel with objective data is necessary to flag the highest risk personnel so tailored training programs can be prescribed irrespective of gender.
- Implementing tailored physical training programs for women to increase muscle strength and power should improve their job readiness and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injury.
Consequently, doing so can help improve organization readiness by reducing the amount of personnel medically unfit for deployment and promote female participation across all job roles.
VALD Systems can be used to implement screening of personnel quickly and with the minimal user experience of the technology. By integrating VALD Systems with VALD Hub, the workflow to mass test over 400 personnel becomes simple. Access VALD Hub to manage personnel and visualize test data in a central location. With VALD Hub, practitioners and tactical professionals can easily quantify differences between men and women and use the results to inform physical training programs.
ForceFrame Strength Testing System can be used test the isometric strength and imbalances of personnel for almost all muscle groups in over 35 different positions. Easily configure the ForceFrame for your testing needs and have confidence that objective data is being recorded reliably.
ForceDecks Dual Force Plate System can be used to measure vertical ground reaction forces during a drop landing test and view key metrics instantly. Expand the test types to include countermovement jump and isometric mid-thigh pull to quickly quantify neuromuscular fatigue and full-body strength. Rely on the consistency of ForceDecks technology to monitor changes over time so the effectiveness of prescribed programming can be evaluated.
HumanTrak can be used to measure hip and knee joint angles reliably and quickly during drop landing, single-leg squat, and overhead squat tests. Instantly quantify joint angles at key moments during the test (e.g., ground contact during drop jump) and use the information to inform personnel about correct movement techniques. Track changes over time to evaluate if personnel are improving and adjust your programming as required.
For the full study, see here.
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