Self-Reported Physical Tasks and Exercise Training in Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Teams

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Little research has been done examining the most physically demanding tasks a SWAT officer may perform in the line of duty. Our objective was to analyze the rankings of tasks by SWAT officers based on frequency, difficulty, and importance and assess if training is addressing traits needed for successful task completion. A survey was designed using Qualtrics (Qualtrics Labs Inc.). The survey had a demographics section, performance section, and training section. Officers were contacted by phone or e-mail and asked about interest in participating. Officers who agreed were sent the survey. Our results found a strong correlation between frequency of task and importance (r = 0.69, p = 0.001), and a moderate correlation was found between task difficulty and importance (r = 0.37, p = 0.005). Task rankings were averaged across the 3 domains to assess “overall” importance, and the top 3 tasks were assessed for necessary traits for successful performance. Power and strength were determined to be the most important traits for successful performance. Officers ranked the top 2 focuses of their training program in the training section as stamina/muscular endurance and cardiovascular/respiratory endurance. Training programs for SWAT officers should be developed to improve performance of the tasks with the highest “overall” importance. Therefore, a training program should emphasize strength and power improvements while not neglecting other measures of fitness.