07 December 2020
A necessarily high standard for physical readiness in tactical environments is often accompanied by high incidences of injury due to overaccumulations of neuromuscular fatigue (NMF). To account for instances of overtraining stimulated by NMF, close monitoring of neuromuscular performance is warranted. Previously validated tests, such as the countermovement jump, are useful means for monitoring performance adaptations, resiliency to fatigue, and risk for injury. Performing such tests on force plates provides an understanding of the movement strategy used to obtain the resulting outcome (e.g., jump height). Further, force plates afford numerous objective tests that are valid and reliable for monitoring upper and lower extremity muscular strength and power (thus sensitive to NMF) with less fatiguing and safer methods than traditional one-repetition maximum assessments. Force plates provide numerous software and testing application options that can be applied to military’s training but, to be effective, requires the practitioners to have sufficient knowledge of their functions. Therefore, this review aims to explain the functions of force plate testing as well as current best practices for utilizing force plates in military settings and disseminate protocols for valid and reliable testing to collect key variables that translate to physical performance capacities.