Cardiovascular Demand Differences Between Male and Female US Marine Recruits During Progressive Loaded Hikes

Ben Schram, Robin Orr, Brenda Niederberger, Andrea Givens, Jake Bernards, Karen R Kelly

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Schram, B, Orr, R, Niederberger, B, Givens, A, Bernards, J, and Kelly, KR. Cardiovascular demand differences between male and female US Marine recruits during progressive loaded hikes. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2024-Despite having to carry the same occupational load, female soldiers tend to be lighter than male soldiers. The aim of this study was to determine the differences in cardiovascular load between female and male US Marine recruits during progressive load carriage hikes. United States Marine Corps recruits (565 male recruits; 364 female recruits) completed 6 loaded hikes over 6 weeks (1: 10 kg, 30 minutes; 2: 10 kg, 45 minutes; 3: 15 kg, 30 minutes, 4: 15 kg, 45 minutes; 5: 20 kg, 30 minutes; 6: 20 kg, 45 minutes) during which cardiovascular response was measured. Average heart rate (HRavg), HR maximum (HRmax), and pace were measured via a wrist-worn physiological monitor. Independent sample t-tests were conducted to compare between sexes, with significance set at 0.008 after adjusting for multiple comparisons. The average female recruit had significantly lower body mass (BM) compared with the average male recruit (p < 0.001) and thus carried a significantly heavier relative load. (10 kg ∼17%, 15 kg ∼25%, 20 kg ∼33%, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in pace in any hike, and no significant differences were found in HRavg or HRmax when comparing female and male Marines during Hike 1. For female Marines, HRavg was significantly higher compared with male Marines during Hike 2 (+6.5 b·min-1, p < 0.001) and Hike 3 (+7.4 b·min-1, p < 0.001), and both HRavg and HRmax were significantly higher in Hike 4 (+11.9 b·min-1, +8.4 b·min-1, p < 0.001), Hike 5 (+7.7 b·min-1, +7.9 b·min-1, p < 0.001), and Hike 6 (+6.9 b·min-1, +7.1 b·min-1, p < 0.001), respectively. Female Marines endured greater cardiovascular demand compared with male Marines during load carriage events when carrying loads greater than 15 kg (∼25% BM).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Apr 2024


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