Original research title: The influence of age on the recovery from worksite resistance exercise in career firefighters
Authors: Trivisonno, A., Laffan, M., Giuliani, H., Mota, J., Gerstner, G., Smith-Ryan, A., Ryan, E.
Over 60,000 firefighters sustain an injury every year in the US and the largest percent of these are musculoskeletal strains and sprains. Given these injuries result in many worker’s compensation claims and reduced workforce capability, strategies to mitigate injury risk are critical.
Exercise is known to help protect against injuries yet over 75% of firefighters do not meet the minimum physical activity recommendations. Part of the problem is finding time within a shift to complete physical activity and ensuring soreness and fatigue from physical training does not influence job performance.
Researchers wanted to determine if a session of resistance training impairs short-term neuromuscular function in firefighters across younger (18-30 years) and older (45-60 years) age groups.
Participants were tested pre resistance training and 24, 48, and 72 hours post training. The suite of tests included questionnaires for work related fatigue and muscle soreness, countermovement jump to measure jump height and velocity, and upper and lower body isometric strength tests. Resistance training included a circuit-style session of multi-joint movements that engaged major muscles groups. Each exercise had weights at 80% of the predicted one repetition maximum.
All outcome metrics were compared statistically over the four time periods to determine the effect of resistance exercise on neuromuscular function.
• Countermovement jump (CMJ) height and velocity decreased significantly pre- to 24 hours post-testing
• Upper and lower body peak force decreased 5-15% from pre-to 24-, 48-, and 72-hours post-testing.
• Younger firefighters had better CMJ performance than older firefighters, however, isometric strength was the same.
VALD provides a single technology solution to monitor neuromuscular fatigue in first responders both from their physical training and also arduous shift work. Take the guesswork out of repeat measurement by using technology with proven reliability.
Use ForceDecks to quickly assess to quickly assess CMJ performance pre- and post-shift in firefighters with the important metrics of jump height and velocity instantly available on the testing device and in the cloud. Pair the CMJ with the Isometric Mid-thigh Pull test to quantify lower body strength changes.
Combine ForceDecks measurements with the ForceFrame to quantify upper body strength specific to the muscle group of interest. ForceFrame enables testing of over 35 different muscle groups, including shoulder flexion/extension, abduction/adduction, and internal/external rotation.
Access VALD Hub to manage your personnel and visualize test data in a central location. With VALD Hub, you can easily quantify changes over time and track the progress of first responders. Easily compare older and younger firefighters to see if age gaps in strength and physical function exist in your cohort.
For the full study, see here.
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