2013, Volume 9, Issue 3

Effects of a 3–day survival training on selected coordination motor skills of special unit soldiers

Andrzej Tomczak1

1General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, Poland

Author for correspondence: Andrzej Tomczak; General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, Poland; email: atomczak33[at]wp.pl

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Background and Study Aim: Survival training is gaining popularity in Polish Armed Forces since soldiers on military missions are likely to fight for survival. The aim of the study was the effects of a 72-h workout combined with sleep deprivation on selected motor coordination and psychomotor indices in soldiers from a special unit.
Material and Methods: Eight male soldiers from a special unit exercised for 72 h under restricted sleep conditions. They were examined 4 times (Day 1: before the training; Day 2: after 32 h of training; Day 3: after 44 h of training; Day 4: after 72 h of training) using the following tests: motor adjustment skill, computer-aided perception skills, body balance disturbation tolerance skills (BBDTS) and handgrip force differentiation.
Results: The results of the divided attention test remained practically unchanged throughout the training. Handgrip force differentiation (Error corr.) significantly (p<0.01) worsened on Day 4 compared with other days (86 ± 74 vs. 26 to 35). The number of mistakes in the Rotational Test significantly increased in subsequent measurements from 4.4±3.8 on Day 1 to 9.4±1.4 on Day 4. Also the velocities in all 4 running tests significantly (p<0.05) decreased on Day 4 compared with other days.
Conclusions: The three-day survival training combined with sleep deprivation negative affected on the coordination motor performance (handgrip differentiation, body balance disturbation tolerance skills and running velocities) but not the divided attention. This could have been due to an uneven adaptation to adrenergic stimulation associated with central and peripheral fatigue.

Key words: coordination motor abilities, psychomotor performance, sleep deprivation, special forces, survival training