Training Strategies Maintain Performance Characteristics in Marines Selected for Marine Forces Special Operations Individualized Training Course

Scott D. Royer, Kathleen M. Poploski, Jeremy A. Ross, Nicholas R. Heebner, John P. Abt, Ryan L. Sheppard, Joshua D. Winters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Marines must complete an intensive Assessment and Selection (A&S) course before becoming a U.S. Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) Raider. Following selection, marines are given training recommendations designed to maintain performance characteristics deemed relevant to successfully complete a rigorous 9-month Individualized Training Course (ITC). However, training strategies are individually implemented by the marine, and the time between the two courses is highly irregular, ranging between 2 months and 24 months based on operational factors related to military occupational specialty (MOS). The purpose of this study was to evaluate changes in performance between the completion of A&S and the start of ITC and to examine if the duration between courses and previous MOS influenced changes in performance. Materials and Methods: Body fat percentage (BF%), anaerobic power (AP), anaerobic capacity (AC), aerobic capacity (VO2max), knee flexion (KF), knee extension (KE), trunk extension (TE), and trunk flexion (TF) isokinetic strength were collected on 38 marines (age: 25.1 ±2.7 years, height: 1.77 ±0.05 m, mass: 83.2 ±7.7 kg, Post-A&S to ITC start: 204.1 ±68.4 days) following A&S and directly before ITC. Results: Pre-ITC students had significantly greater mass (P= .002), BF% (P= .000), and AP (P= .039). There were no significant changes in AC (P= .170), VO2max (P= .259), KF (P= .400), KE (P= .320), TE (P= .178), and TF (P= .643). There was no significant relationship between performance outcomes and time between courses and previous MOS. Conclusion: Current training strategies appear effective at addressing performance deficits that occur as a result of A&S, while maintaining high levels of KF, KE, TE, TF, AC, and VO2max. However, pre-ITC students still exhibited AP deficits compared to active marine raiders, so forthcoming programming may benefit from an increased emphasis on AP. Assessment of additional selectees at these timepoints, as well as students before A&S may provide valuable information to MARSOC human performance specialists to develop programing, ultimately leading to a higher ITC graduation rate, increased force readiness, and decreased financial burden forcewide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1271-E1277
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Association of Military Surgeons of the United States 2021. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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