Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Changes in physical performance during British Army Junior Entry, British Army Standard Entry and Royal Air Force Basic Training


Introduction The purpose was to quantify physical performance in men and women during British Army Junior Entry (Army-JE), British Army Standard Entry (Army-SE) and Royal Air Force (RAF) basic training (BT).

Design Prospective longitudinal study.

Methods 381 participants ((339 men and 42 women) n=141 Army-JE, n=132 Army-SE, n=108 RAF) completed a 2 km run, medicine ball throw (MBT) and isometric mid-thigh pull (MTP), pre-BT and post-BT. To examine changes in pre-BT to post-BT physical test performance, for each course, paired Student t-test and Wilcoxon test were applied to normally and non-normally distributed data, respectively, with effect sizes reported as Cohen’s D and with rank biserial correlations, respectively. A one-way between-subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA) (or Welch ANOVA for non-normally distributed data) compared performance between quartiles based on test performance pre-BT. Where the main tests statistic, p value and effect sizes identified likely effect of quartile, post hoc comparisons were made using Games-Howell tests with Tukey’s p value. Data are presented as mean±SD, with statistical significance set at p<0.05.

Results During BT, 2 km run time improved by 13±46 s (−2.1%±8.1%), 30±64 s (−4.8%±12.3%) and 24±27 s (−4.5%±5.1%) for Army-JE, Army-SE and RAF, respectively (all p<0.005). MBT distance increased by 0.27±0.28 m (6.8%±7.0%) for Army-JE (p<0.001) and 0.07±0.46 m (2.3%±10.9%) for Army-SE (p=0.040), but decreased by 0.08±0.27 m (−1.4%±6.0%) for RAF (p=0.002). MTP force increased by 80±281 n (10.8%±27.6%) for Army-JE (p<0.001) and did not change for Army-SE (−36±295 n, −0.7%±20.6%, p=0.144) or RAF (−9±208 n, 1.0±17.0, p=0.603). For all tests and cohorts, participants in the lowest quartile of pre-BT performance scores demonstrated greater improvements, compared with participants in the highest quartile (except Army-JE MBT, ∆% change similar between all quartiles).

Conclusions Changes in physical performance were observed for the three fitness tests following the different BT courses, and recruits with the lowest strength and aerobic fitness experienced greatest improvements.

  • Physiology

Data availability statement

No data are available.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.