Block-Periodized Training Improves Physiological and Tactically Relevant Performance in Naval Special Warfare Operators

John P. Abt, Jonathan M. Oliver, Takashi Nagai, Timothy C. Sell, Mita T. Lovalekar, Kim Beals, Dallas E. Wood, Scott M. Lephart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Human performance training and prevention strategies are necessary to promote physical readiness and mitigate musculoskeletal injuries of the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Operator. The purpose of this study was to measure the effectiveness of 2 training programs when performed during a training evolution of Operators. A total of 85 Operators (experimental: n = 46, age: 29.4 ± 5.5 years, height: 176.7 ± 6.4 cm, mass: 86.7 ± 11.6 kg; control: n = 39, age: 29.0 ± 6.0 years, height: 177.1 ± 6.3 cm, mass: 85.7 ± 12.5 kg) participated in a trial to measure the effectiveness of these programs to improve physical, physiological, and performance characteristics. Operators in the experimental group performed a 12-week block-periodized program, whereas those in the control group performed a nonlinear periodized program. Pretesting/posttesting was performed to assess body composition, aerobic capacity/lactate threshold, muscular strength, flexibility, landing biomechanics, postural stability, and tactically relevant performance. The experimental group demonstrated a significant loss in body fat, fat mass, and body mass compared with the control group, whereas aerobic capacity increased for the both groups. The experimental group demonstrated a significant increase in posterior shoulder flexibility and ankle dorsiflexion, whereas the control group had a significant reduction in shoulder, knee, and ankle flexibility. The experimental group also improved landing strategies and balance. Both groups improved upper and lower muscular power and upper-body muscular endurance, whereas only the experimental group demonstrated significant improvements in agility and total body muscular strength. Implementation of a population-specific training program provides structured and progressive training effectively and promotes physical readiness concurrently with tactical training without overload.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-52
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 National Strength and Conditioning Association.


  • human performance
  • injury risk
  • physical readiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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