This study reveals the relationship between physical fitness factors and performance in modern pentathlon and identifies the contribution of each physical factor to overall performance. The physical fitness assessment data and the competition records collected by the Korean national team pentathletes for the years 2005 to 2019 were tracked. The correlation between the competition records and fitness factors was confirmed by correlation analysis. In addition, the physical factors affecting performance were identified through multiple regression analysis, and the average difference between national and international competitions was verified by t
-test. The first result was that fencing, swimming, and horseback riding rankings were more relevant to the overall pentathlon performance score than the combined rankings in national competitions. In the international competitions, performance in the combined running and shooting event was more relevant than fencing, swimming, and horseback riding. Second, the basic fitness factors of grip strength and sergeant jump and the specific fitness factors of leg strength—left and right average flexor were correlated with overall pentathlon performance national competitions. However, in international competitions, sergeant jump, 20 m shuttle run, reaction time, lung capacity, and back strength were correlated (presented in high to low order). In terms of the specific fitness factors, relative (%BW) and absolute (Nm) leg strength—left and right average flexor, lower body anaerobic fatigue rate, half squat, relative (W/kg) and absolute (Watts) maximal lower body anaerobic power were correlated accordingly with overall pentathlon performance. Third, we analyzed the differences between average performance in national and international competitions. Only the combined running and shooting event out of the five modern pentathlon events showed a difference. Grip strength and relative leg strength—average extensor AP (%BW) appeared to be different among the physical fitness factors. Fourth, we examined the level of contribution of each of the fitness factors on overall performance. The model’s goodness of fit was confirmed, and grip strength was found to have a significant contribution on overall performance. Furthermore, the level of contribution was higher in the following order: relative leg strength—left and right average flexor (%BW), bench press, half squat, relative leg strength—average extensor AP(%BW), GXT—time to exhaustion, relative lower body anaerobic average power (W/kg), and maximal lactic acid concentration. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just around the corner, combined running and shooting performance appeared to be a decisive factor in the final ranking in modern pentathlon according to the analysis of the basic and specific fitness factors of pentathletes. The basic fitness factors are critical in order of sergeant jump, grip strength, reaction time, lung capacity, side-step, back strength, 20m shuttle run, sit-and-reach, sit-ups, and single leg standing. With respect to the specific fitness factors, relative leg strength—left and right average flexor (%BW), bench press, half squat, relative leg strength—average extensor AP (%BW), GXT—time to exhaustion, relative lower body anaerobic average power (W/kg), and maximal lactic acid concentration showed their relevance accordingly.
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