Load Carriage: Minimising Soldier Injuries Through Physical Conditioning – A Narrative Review

Rob Marc Orr, Rodney Pope, Vanerina Johnston, Julia Coyle

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Aims:
Load carriage tasks form part of the military soldier’s vocation. With research showing an increased load to
be borne by soldiers, effective physical conditioning may provide one means of reducing injuries induced by
carrying these heavy loads. Through a reduction in injuries, the ability to train, maintain and retain soldiers is
increased. The aim of this study was to review the current literature on physical conditioning for load carriage
and present the findings in a manner that allowed physical conditioning practitioners a means of applying the
findings into a conditioning program.
Methods:
Using key search terms, a literature search of academic databases (both civilian and military) was
conducted, with additional relevant literature sought from military and civilian colleagues. Gathered papers
were assessed against several key criteria, in order to exclude papers which were not relevant to the load
carriage context of interest, and then limited to those papers that specifically related to physical conditioning
and military load carriage. These papers were reviewed to glean key findings in the light of information from,
additional sources that were employed to contextualise the findings. The additional sources were research
papers and published texts utilized by physical conditioning practitioners to develop conditioning programs.
Results:
The search results yielded seven original research papers, one conference paper and four secondary source
papers (military reports, journal articles).
Conclusion:
Research suggests that an effective physical conditioning program for load carriage will include specific load
carriage training conducted between two and four times per month. While loads must be sufficient to elicit a
physiological response proportionate to that recommended for the development of cardiovascular and
metabolic fitness, higher intensity training may be of particular benefit. Conversely, excessive training volume
may increase the risk of both acute and overuse injury risks. While other forms of conditioning may
supplement a load carriage conditioning program, load carriage specific training is still needed, with the
duration and distance gradually progressed to levels that meet training and operational needs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages401
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventPremus 2010 - 7th International Conference on prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders - Angers, France
Duration: 29 Aug 20103 Sep 2010

Conference

ConferencePremus 2010 - 7th International Conference on prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders
Abbreviated titlePREMUS
CountryFrance
CityAngers
Period29/08/103/09/10

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