The effect of age on push-up performance amongst male law enforcement officers

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Dawes, J., Orr, R. M., Brandt, B. L., Conroy, R. L., & Pope, R. (2016). The effect of age on push-up performance amongst male law enforcement officers. Journal of Australian Strength & Conditioning, 24(4), 23-27.

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Push-up performance does not necessarily deteriorate with age in a law enforcement population and may be maintained, as it appeared to be in this 20-59 yo population, with increases in endurance compensating for increases in ageassociated fat mass increases.


The 1-minute push-up test is a common measure of upper-body muscular endurance in law enforcement populations. While test score requirements may differ between age groups, it is unclear whether push-up capability does significantly differ between these age groups. The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether male law enforcement officers vary in push-up performance by age and to compare push-up performance in these officers with male agebased norms. Archival data for the 1-minute push-up assessment of male law enforcement officers (n=518) were provided by two law enforcement agencies. Participants were divided into four groups by age (Group 1: 20-29 yrs. [n=66]; Group 2: 30-39 yrs. [n=177]; Group 3: 40-49 yrs. [n=234]; Group 4: 50-59 yrs. [n=41]) to allow for comparison to population normative values. Pearson’s product-moment correlation analyses and linear regression were conducted to assess the relationships between age, body weight, percentage body fat (%BF) and push-up performance. Mean push-up scores and standard deviations were: Group 1=46.47±14.62; Group 2=44.65±15.57; Group 3=43.92±15.74; and Group 4=43.71±15.09. However, the ANOVA revealed no significant differences in mean push-up scores between age groups. In the linear regression model, age was weakly positively correlated (partial correlation .127, p=.007) and %BF was more strongly negatively correlated (partial correlation -.540, p<.001) with push-up performance but since %BF increased with age (r=.300, p<.001), the net correlation between age (alone) and push-up performance was near zero and did not reach significance (r=-.043, p=.330). Findings suggest that the mean and distributions of push-up capability in law enforcement officers did not significantly vary with age. Furthermore, when compared to age-based normative data male law enforcement officers have substantially better push-up capability than those in the general population.

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