Ruck Deep Dive Study hopes to find improvement in military athlete training

Oct. 19, 2015

Audrey Jensen
ajensen4@uccs.edu

This fall, 46 UCCS ROTC cadets volunteered to participate in the Ruck Deep Dive Study from the Mountain Tactical Institute.

MTI is conducting this research at UCCS in order to see what factors from the Army physical test correlate to rucking.

On Sept. 1 the cadets completed their Army Physical Fitness Test consisting of a two-mile run and two minutes of pushups and sit-ups.

Two days later MTI tested the cadets on front squats, bench press and body weight pull-ups.

On Sept. 4 a timed 10K ruck march was completed by the cadets with a 63-pound backpack.

Research coordinator Adam Scott said MTI is using the data from the Army Physical Fitness Test to determine what factors correlate to better ruck times.

“The idea is to identify what physiological measures and performance measures correlate to ruck performance,” Scott said.

UCCS is one of the few schools willing to participate in the ruck study.

“We knew that UCCS has a pretty large and well-known ROTC department and that they actually had done really well,” said Scott.

Scott said they also knew UCCS ROTC participate in different events, such as the ranger challenge and baton death march.

“They had already been successful ruckers and already had good athletes.”

Scott said they were surprised to find what factors in the 36 male and 10 female participants were predictive of good ruck times.

The predictive female factors for high ruck performances were height and pushups and the two-mile run. Taller females with
more pushups had higher ruck performance.

Male’s sit-up and two-mile run data predicted how they would do in ruck performance.

Military science instructor James Goodin said this test is more rigorous and is going to help prepare cadets for training in the Army.

“This gives (the military) a different look at different ways to train physically, (it gives them) more education on different ways to train,” he said.

He explained this training will improve mental toughness of cadets as well.

“You’re going to have more fit, more durable lieutenants coming in who can transfer knowledge to their units,” he said. “They’re going to be more physically fit and confident in their abilities.”

Goodin said he has seen more confidence in the cadets who volunteered for the ruck study who train five days a week, compared to cadets who train four days a week in physical readiness training.

“Any cadet could volunteer as long as they were in good standing. We wanted a broad population, we didn’t just want superior athletes, we have a pretty good mix,” Goodin said.

The last day of the ruck training and study was Oct. 16, the post-test will take place one to two weeks after.

“Ideally, if we find something significant, we take that to as wide of an audience as we can and let them know, if you want to improve rucking performance, this is how you do it most effectively,” Scott said.

“I’m all about what’s the most efficient way to train cadets for success,” said Goodin.