Body Composition as a Predictor of Performance on the Army Combat Fitness Test Total Score for ROTC Cadets Original Research

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Anthony Acevedo
Zachary Zeigler
Bridget Melton


Army, Body fat, Fat-free mass


Introduction: Body composition characteristics vary between soldiers and could affect performance outcomes. The study aims to determine whether %body fat (%BF) and fat-free mass (FFM) can predict performance outcomes of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) in ROTC cadets.

Methods: ROTC cadets (54 males, 17 females; aged 21.40 ± 3.79 years) completed the 6-event ACFT (3-repetition maximum trap-bar deadlift [MDL], standing power toss [SPT], hand-release pushups [HRPU], sprint-drag-carry shuttle run [SDC], plank [PLK], and 2-mile run [2MR]). The ability of body composition to predict ACFT performance was determined with a linear regression model. Significance was set at p < 0.05.

Results: %BF was significantly and negatively correlated to HRPU (r = -.467, p < .001) SDC (r = -.367, p = .002), PLK (r = -.453, p < .001), 2MR (r = -.384, p < .001), and overall ACFT score (r = -.483, p < .001). FFM was significantly correlated to MDL (r = .310, p = .008), SPT (r = .424, p < .001) SDC (r = .388, p < .001), PLK (r = .363, p = .002), and overall ACFT score (r = .423, p < .001).

Conclusion: It is shown that evaluating body composition is a reliable predictor of performance in the ACFT. Consequently, there is a need to reevaluate the Army's body composition standards to align them with the significance of FFM in determining ACFT outcomes. Recognizing that body composition can be modified, soldiers can utilize this information to develop tailored strategies for enhancing their ACFT performance.

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