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CPR3 Research

 In addition to academic programs and community outreach, one of the CPR3’s key programmatic areas is high-impact research.  Our research projects range from large-scale epidemiological studies to small-scale interventions and look across the lifespan of “tactical athletes,” from recruiting and initial training, to on-the-job performance, and lifelong fitness and health.  Our research has been featured in over 130 media outlets worldwide, including USA Today, Newsweek, Stars and Stripes,, and National Public Radio

Our research aims to support The Citadel’s Fitness Pillar, as well as the US Armed Forces’ Total Force Fitness Framework and the U.S. Army’s Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) Model by investigating much more than just the physical element of fitness.  Therefore, we conduct research that considers what happens from the neck down as well as from the neck up.  We are pleased to have cadets and graduate students involved in and leading research projects.   

We deeply value research collaborations and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with other academic institutions, industry, and government organizations at the local, state, and federal levels to secure funding and share resources and talent. If you are interested in collaborating with us on research, please contact Daniel Bornstein, Ph.D., Director of the CPR3.

Examples of Current Research Projects | Examples of Past Research Projects | Conference Presentations

Examples of Current Research Projects:

Assessing Value of Physical Training:  Military and paramilitary physical training (PT) can vary greatly by branch, organization, or unit.  Having PT that is of high value for improving immediate and long-term physical fitness among military personnel and first responders is critically important to performance, readiness, and resiliency of those personnel.  Objective assessments of fitness (e.g. PT tests) vary widely in what aspects of fitness are measured and how validly and reliably they are measured.  The purpose of this study is to develop and test the psychometric properties of a survey instrument for assessing individuals’ perceptions of the value of PT as it relates to their current fitness, their ability to pass a PT test, and their life-long fitness.  The ultimate goal of this research is to provide those training military and paramilitary personnel with a valid and reliable instrument for assessing the value of their training programs to the personnel they are training.  Results from this research are currently being prepared for presentation and publication. 

Effects of Camaraderie Based Exercise Events on Anxiety, Depression and Pain in Combat Veterans:  Preventing Veteran suicide is key research area for the CPR3.  In partnership with Operation Vet-Fit, we are measuring the acute effects of a group-based exercise event (Rugged Mudder) on anxiety, depression, and pain, all of which are associated with suicide, among a group of combat veterans.  Results from this research are currently being prepared for presentation and publication. 

Associations between the new US Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) and Gross Motor Skill.   The US Army’s new ACFT is a much more comprehensive assessment of physical fitness and readiness for military service than the previous Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).  The ACFT includes assessments of aerobic endurance, local muscular strength and endurance, and anaerobic power, all of which should result in a better assessment of warfighter readiness.  Our study will look at associations between elements of the ACFT and standard assessments of gross motor skill development.  If associations are found, the gross motor skill tests may have important implications for more easily assessing readiness for service in military personnel and first responders.


Examples of Past Research Projects:

Physical Fitness and Training Related Injuries among U.S. Army Recruits on a State-by-State Basis.  Decades of research has shown physical fitness to be one of the strongest predictors of musculoskeletal injuries among tactical athletes (military personnel and first responders).  Training related injuries are particularly problematic during basic combat training as they carry substantial economic and logistical costs.  This study investigated state-level associations between physical fitness and training related injuries among U.S. Army recruits who entered basic combat training, based upon the state from which they were recruited.  This study was performed in collaboration with the US Army Public Health Center, the American Heart Association, and the University of South Carolina.  Results from this study are available here.  Follow-up studies with the US Army Public Health Center are underway.

Feasibility and Impacts of Yoga as part of Military Physical Training.  Yoga has been consistently shown to improve multiple aspects of physical and mental fitness across a variety of populations.  Although may forms of Military Physical Training (PT) have recently become more comprehensive for improving physical fitness, PT still is focused on physical fitness exclusively.  This study looked at the feasibility of integrating Yoga into PT for The Citadel’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) unit, and looked at its impact on physical and mental fitness among a treatment group (Yoga) compared to a control group (standard NROTC PT).  The study concluded that it was feasible to include Yoga within PT, even within the context of a typically rigid PT model.  The small sample size precluded us from demonstrating any statistically significant differences in physical and/or mental fitness resulting from Yoga, however trends were observed for improvements in mental fitness with no decrements in physical fitness among those exposed to Yoga.  Findings from this study were presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s South Eastern Regional Meeting.  Future studies with larger sample sizes are currently being planned.

Studying the effects of yoga with the Marines Corps NROTC
Brandon Hickey, ’19, Victor Company


Objective assessment of sleep quality and quantity among military cadets:  Sleep is a critically important part of the recovery process for optimizing performance, readiness and resiliency of tactical athletes.  Poor sleep quality and quantity has been associated with decrements in physical and cognitive performance, as well as physical and mental health.  The purpose of this study is to investigate associations between objectively measured sleep quality and quantity among Citadel cadets with physical fitness, academic performance, and mental health (e.g. stress, anxiety, social support). Results from this research were recently presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s South Eastern Regional Meeting, and are undergoing further analysis for presentation at the Southeastern Psychological Association.

The correlation of sleep and fitness
Shaniqua Crews, CGC ‘19
Ed.S., School Psychology


Conference Presentations:

Development and Testing of an Objective Instrument for Assessing Military Physical Training

Effectiveness of a Physical Readiness Officer on Perceptions of Military Physical Training Among Military Cadets

Impact of Camaraderie Based Exercise on Anxiety, Depression, and Pain Among Combat Veterans

Force Production Symmetry Carry-Over between Bilateral Jumping Tests

Relationship between Force Production Characteristics in the Countermovement Vertical Jump and Standing Long Jump

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