Load carriage for the tactical operator: Impacts and conditioning – A review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review


Tactical operators are required to carry loads as part of their occupations. Carriage of these loads have been associated with causing physical injuries to the carrier and impairing their ability to perform occupational tasks. One potential means of negating these risks associated with load carriage tasks is through physically conditioning the carrier. Through use of the Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type (F.I.T.T.) formula this review explored the literature to determine the optimal conditioning stimulus to enhance the resilience of tactical operators required to perform load carriage tasks. It was determined that a conditioning stimulus of one load carriage session every 7 to 14 days is required. While the intensity of the load carriage session (load weight, speed of march, terrain grade and type) has the potential to provide a greater training effect than the length of the session (time), both parameters must progress to meet occupational requirements. In general, load carriage-specific training is preferred, with the training effect increased by field exercises that included load carriage tasks. Furthermore, a combined approach of progressive resistance training (especially for the upper body) and aerobic conditioning three times per week is of value. The outcome of this review provides the tactical strength and conditioning coach with an optimal training dose for load carriage conditioning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Australian Strength and Conditioning
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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