Optimal Performance Ltd

Bristol, United Kingdom

Optimal Performance Ltd

Bristol, United Kingdom

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Blacker S.D.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Carter J.M.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Wilkinson D.M.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Richmond V.L.,Optimal Performance Ltd | And 2 more authors.
Ergonomics | Year: 2013

The aim of this study was to quantify the physiological responses of Police Officers wearing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear personal protective equipment (CBRN PPE) during firearms house entry (FE) unarmed house entry (UE) and crowd control (CC) simulations. Participants volunteered from the UK Police Force [FE (n = 6, age 33 ± 4 years, body mass 85.3 ± 7.9 kg, [Vdot]O2max 53 ± 5 ml · kg-1 · min-1), UE and CC (n = 11, age 34 ± 5 years, body mass 88.5 ± 13.8 kg, [Vdot]O2max 51 ± 5 ml · kg-1 · min-1)]. Heart rate reserve (HRR) during FE was greater than UE (74 ± 7 vs. 62 ± 6%HRR, p = 0.01) but lower in CC (39 ± 7%HRR, p < 0.01). Peak core body temperature was greater during FE (39.2 ± 0.3°C) than UE (38.9 ± 0.4°C, p < 0.01) and CC (37.5 ± 0.3°C, p < 0.01), with similar trends in skin temperature. There were no differences in the volume of water consumed (1.13 ± 0.44 l, p = 0.51) or change in body mass (-1.68 ± 0.65 kg, p = 0.74) between simulations. The increase in body temperature was a primary physiological limitation to performance. Cooling strategies and revised operating procedures may improve Police Officers' physical performance while wearing CBRN PPE. Practitioner Summary. In recent years, the likelihood of Police Officers having to respond to a chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological (CBRN) incident wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) has increased. Such apparel is likely to increase physiological strain and impair job performance; understanding these limitations may help improve Officer safety and operational effectiveness. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Richmond V.L.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Carter J.M.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Wilkinson D.M.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Horner F.E.,Optimal Performance Ltd | And 3 more authors.
Military Medicine | Year: 2012

This study compared the physical demands and progression of basic training for male and female British Army recruits in single-sex platoons. Thirty male and 30 female recruits were monitored for energy expenditure (EE) (doubly labeled water), physical activity (3-dimensional accelerometry) and cardiovascular strain (percent heart rate reserve) during 6 weeks over the 14-week course. First time pass rate was similar for male (60%) and female (57%) recruits. Average daily percent heart rate reserve (female 31 ± 4%; male 32 ± 5%), physical activity levels (female 2.2 ± 0.2; male 2.3 ± 0.2) and percentage improvements in 2.4-km run time (female 10 ± 4%; male 10 ± 5%) were similar for both sexes (p > 0.05), although male recruits had 12% higher physical activity counts (p < 0.01). Although the absolute physical demands of basic training were greater for male recruits, the relative cardiovascular strain experienced was similar between sexes. © Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.


Wilkinson D.M.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Blacker S.D.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Richmond V.L.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Rayson M.P.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Bilzon J.L.J.,University of Bath
Military Medicine | Year: 2014

In the United Kingdom, all branches of the armed forces use 2.4-km run time and/or the 20-m multistage shuttle run test (MSRT) to assess the aerobic fitness of their personnel. This study quantified the relationship between these two tests in 156 army recruits and officer cadets (100 men and 56 women) to ensure equivalence in the required aerobic fitness standards. The 2.4-km run was performed on surfaced roads and tracks around the training establishment and the MSRT in a gymnasium. Ordinary least product regression was used to describe the relationship between average 2.4-km running speed (km.h-1) and the total number of shuttles completed on the U.K. version of the MSRT (r = 0.91, p < 0.01), showing MSRT shuttles = (9.708 2.4-km run speed) - 52.56, with a standard error of prediction of approximately 8 shuttles or 0.8 km-h-1. The British Army 2.4-km run biannual fitness assessment standard for young men of 10:30 min:s equates to a MSRT score of 82 shuttles (level 10 and 1 shuttle) and for young women of 13:00 min:s equates to 56 shuttles (level 7 and 6 shuttles), with a standard error of estimate of approximately 8 shuttles. © Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S. All rights reserved.


PubMed | University of Wolverhampton, Optimal Performance Ltd, University of Chichester and PepsiCo
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Occupational medicine (Oxford, England) | Year: 2016

Evidence-based physical employment standards are vital for recruiting, training and maintaining the operational effectiveness of personnel in physically demanding occupations.(i) Develop criterion tests for in-service physical assessment, which simulate the role-related physical demands of UK fire and rescue service (UK FRS) personnel. (ii) Develop practical physical selection tests for FRS applicants. (iii) Evaluate the validity of the selection tests to predict criterion test performance.Stage 1: we conducted a physical demands analysis involving seven workshops and an expert panel to document the key physical tasks required of UK FRS personnel and to develop criterion and selection tests. Stage 2: we measured the performance of 137 trainee and 50 trained UK FRS personnel on selection, criterion and field measures of aerobic power, strength and body size. Statistical models were developed to predict criterion test performance. Stage 3: matter experts derived minimum performance standards.We developed single person simulations of the key physical tasks required of UK FRS personnel as criterion and selection tests (rural fire, domestic fire, ladder lift, ladder extension, ladder climb, pump assembly, enclosed space search). Selection tests were marginally stronger predictors of criterion test performance (r = 0.88-0.94, 95% Limits of Agreement [LoA] 7.6-14.0%) than field test scores (r = 0.84-0.94, 95% LoA 8.0-19.8%) and offered greater face and content validity and more practical implementation.This study outlines the development of role-related, gender-free physical employment tests for the UK FRS, which conform to equal opportunities law.


PubMed | Optimal Performance Ltd and University of Bath
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Military medicine | Year: 2014

In the United Kingdom, all branches of the armed forces use 2.4-km run time and/or the 20-m multistage shuttle run test (MSRT) to assess the aerobic fitness of their personnel. This study quantified the relationship between these two tests in 156 army recruits and officer cadets (100 men and 56 women) to ensure equivalence in the required aerobic fitness standards. The 2.4-km run was performed on surfaced roads and tracks around the training establishment and the MSRT in a gymnasium. Ordinary least product regression was used to describe the relationship between average 2.4-km running speed (km h(-1)) and the total number of shuttles completed on the U.K. version of the MSRT (r = 0.91, p < 0.01), showing MSRT shuttles = (9.7082.4-km run speed) - 52.56, with a standard error of prediction of approximately 8 shuttles or 0.8 km h(-1). The British Army 2.4-km run biannual fitness assessment standard for young men of 10:30 min:s equates to a MSRT score of 82 shuttles (level 10 and 1 shuttle) and for young women of 13:00 min:s equates to 56 shuttles (level 7 and 6 shuttles), with a standard error of estimate of approximately 8 shuttles.


Richmond V.L.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Wilkinson D.M.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Blacker S.D.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Horner F.E.,Optimal Performance Ltd | And 3 more authors.
Physiological Measurement | Year: 2013

This study assessed the validity of insulated skin temperature (T is) to predict rectal temperature (Tre) for use as a non-invasive measurement of thermal strain to reduce the risk of heat illness for emergency service personnel. Volunteers from the Police, Fire and Rescue, and Ambulance Services performed role-related tasks in hot (30 °C) and neutral (18 °C) conditions, wearing service specific personal protective equipment. Insulated skin temperature and micro climate temperature (T mc) predicted Tre with an adjusted r2 = 0.87 and standard error of the estimate (SEE) of 0.19 °C. A bootstrap validation of the equation resulted in an adjusted r2 = 0.85 and SEE = 0.20 °C. Taking into account the 0.20 °C error, the prediction of T re resulted in a sensitivity and specificity of 100% and 91%, respectively. Insulated skin temperature and Tmc can be used in a model to predict Tre in emergency service personnel wearing CBRN protective clothing with an SEE of 0.2 °C. However, the model is only valid for Tis over 36.5 °C, above which thermal stability is reached between the core and the skin. © 2013 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.


Ingham S.A.,Loughborough University | Pringle J.S.,Loughborough University | Hardman S.L.,English Institute of Sport | Fudge B.W.,Loughborough University | Richmond V.L.,Optimal Performance Ltd.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance | Year: 2013

Purpose: This study examined parameters derived from both an incremental step-wise and a ramp-wise graded rowing exercise test in relation to rowing performance. Methods: Discontinuous step-wise incremental rowing to exhaustion established lactate threshold (LT), maximum oxygen consumption (VO 2maxSTEP), and power associated with VO2max (W VO 2max). A further continuous ramp-wise test was undertaken to derive ventilatory threshold (VT), maximum oxygen consumption (VO2maxRAMP), and maximum minute power (MMW). Results were compared with maximal 2000-m ergometer time-trial power. Results: The strongest correlation with 2000-m power was observed for MMW (r = .98, P < .001), followed by W VO2max (r = .96; P < .001). The difference between MMW and W VO2max compared with the mean of MMW/W VO2max showed a widening bias with a greater difference coincident with greater power. However, this bias was reduced when expressed as a ratio term and when a baseline VO2 was accounted for. There were no differences (P = .85) between measures of VO 2maxSTEP and VO2maxRAMP; rather, the measures showed strong association (r = .97, P < .001, limits of agreement = -0.43 to 0.33 L/min). The power at LT and VT did not differ (P = .6), and a significant association was observed (r = .73, P = .001, limits of agreement = -54.3 to 20.2 W, SEE = 26.1). Conclusions: This study indicates that MMW demonstrates a strong association with ergometer rowing performance and thus may have potential as an influential monitoring tool for rowing athletes. © 2013 Human Kinetics, Inc.


Brown P.I.,Optimal Performance Ltd | Brown P.I.,Nottingham Trent University | Sharpe G.R.,Nottingham Trent University | Johnson M.A.,Nottingham Trent University
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise | Year: 2010

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of inspiratory threshold loading (ITL) and inspiratory muscle training (IMT) on blood lactate concentration ([lac]B) and acid-base balance after maximal incremental cycling. METHODS: Eighteen subjects were divided into a control (n = 9) or an IMT group (n = 9). Before and after a 6-wk intervention, subjects completed two maximal incremental cycling tests followed by 20 min of recovery with (ITL) or without (passive recovery (PR)) a constant inspiratory resistance (15 cm H2O). The IMT group performed 6 wk of pressure threshold IMT at 50% maximal inspiratory mouth pressure. Throughout recovery, acid-base balance was quantified using the physicochemical approach by measuring the strong ion difference ([SID] = [Na+] + [K+]-[Cl-] + [lac-]), the total concentration of weak acids ([Atot -]), and the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2). RESULTS: After the intervention, maximal inspiratory mouth pressure increased in the IMT group only (+34%). No differences in lactate clearance were observed between PR and ITL before the intervention in both groups and after the intervention in the control group. After IMT, relative to PR, [lac -]B was reduced throughout ITL (minutes 2-20) by 0.66 ± 1.28 mmol•L (P < 0.05), and both the fast (lactate exchange) and the slow (lactate clearance) velocity constants of the lactate recovery kinetics were increased (P < 0.05). Relative to pre-IMT, ITL reduced plasma [H+], which was accounted for by an IMT-mediated increase in [SID] due almost exclusively to a 1.7-mmol•L reduction in [lac-] B. CONCLUSIONS: After maximal exercise, ITL affected lactate recovery kinetics only after IMT. Our data support the notion that the inspiratory muscles are capable of lactate clearance that increases [SID] and reduces [H+]. These effects may facilitate subsequent bouts of high-intensity exercise. © 2010 by the American College of Sports Medicine.


Carter J.M.,Optimal Performance Ltd. | Loney T.,United Arab Emirates University | Blacker S.D.,Optimal Performance Ltd. | Nicholson G.F.,Optimal Performance Ltd. | Wilkinson D.M.,Optimal Performance Ltd.
International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism | Year: 2012

Background: Despite the importance of hydration, limited research on the topic has been undertaken in Arabic populations. Methods: Study 1. Five sequential daily midmorning urine samples were provided by 88 adult military cadets and 32 school-based adolescents. Hydration thresholds were produced using percentiles of estimated urine osmolality (U osm) and urine color (U col). Study 2. The authors assessed 1,077 midmorning urine samples from 120 military cadets and 52 adolescents for the U osm:U col relationship using regression. Study 3. The authors conducted a 4-wk hydration campaign in which 21 adolescents participated, providing urine samples before (PreC), at the end of (EndC), and 2 wk after the campaign (PostC). Results: Study 1. Euhydration (41-60th percentile) was 881-970 mOsmol/kg in adults and 821-900 mOsmol/kg in adolescents. Study 2. In both cohorts, U osm and U col were associated (p < .01): adults R 2 = .33, adolescents R 2 = .59. Study 3. Urine osmolality was significantly higher PreC than at EndC and PostC. Conclusions: Urinary output of Arabic adolescents and military cadets was more concentrated than frequently recommended for euhydration. Further work in similar populations is required to determine if these values represent hypohydration or merely reflect dietary and cultural differences. In male Arabic adolescents and adults, U col was an adequate indicator of hydration status. Favorable hydration changes were made after a school-based health campaign. © 2012 Human Kinetics, Inc.


The aim of this study was to quantify the physiological responses of Police Officers wearing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear personal protective equipment (CBRN PPE) during firearms house entry (FE) unarmed house entry (UE) and crowd control (CC) simulations. Participants volunteered from the UK Police Force [FE (n = 6, age 33 4 years, body mass 85.3 7.9 kg, ()VOmax 53 5 ml kg min), UE and CC (n = 11, age 34 5 years, body mass 88.5 13.8 kg, ()VOmax 51 5 ml kg min)]. Heart rate reserve (HRR) during FE was greater than UE (74 7 vs. 62 6%HRR, p = 0.01) but lower in CC (39 7%HRR, p < 0.01). Peak core body temperature was greater during FE (39.2 0.3C) than UE (38.9 0.4C, p < 0.01) and CC (37.5 0.3C, p < 0.01), with similar trends in skin temperature. There were no differences in the volume of water consumed (1.13 0.44 l, p = 0.51) or change in body mass (-1.68 0.65 kg, p = 0.74) between simulations. The increase in body temperature was a primary physiological limitation to performance. Cooling strategies and revised operating procedures may improve Police Officers physical performance while wearing CBRN PPE.In recent years, the likelihood of Police Officers having to respond to a chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological (CBRN) incident wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) has increased. Such apparel is likely to increase physiological strain and impair job performance; understanding these limitations may help improve Officer safety and operational effectiveness.

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