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Predicting marching capacity while carrying extremely heavy loads

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Author: Koerhuis, C.L. · Veenstra, B.J. · Dijk, J. J. van · Delleman, N. J.
Institution: TNO Defensie en Veiligheid
Source:Military medicine, December, 12, 174, 1300-1307
Identifier: 290702
Keywords: Defence · military load · physiology · performance


The objective of this study was to establish the best prediction for endurance time of combat soldiers marching with extremely heavy loads. It was hypothesized that loads relative to individual characteristics (% maximal load carry capacity [MLCC], % body mass, % lean body mass) would better predict endurance time than load itself. Twenty-three male combat soldiers participated. MLCC was determined by increasing the load by 7.5 kg every 4 minutes until exhaustion. The marching velocity and gradient were 3 km·h−1 and 5%, respectively. Endurance time was determined carrying 70, 80, and 90% of MLCC. MLCC was on average 102.6 kg ± 11.6. Load expressed as % MLCC was the best predictor for endurance time (R2 = 0.45). Load expressed as % body mass, as % lean body mass, and absolute load predicted endurance time less well (R2 = 0.30, R2 = 0.24, and R2 = 0.23, respectively). On the basis of these results, it is recommended to assess the MLCC of individual combat soldiers.