Optimised Conditioning Practices for Load Carriage Tasks

Research output: Contribution to journalMagazine ArticleResearch


Protective service personnel are often required to carry loads as part of their occupation. Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and most notably, military personnel often carry loads of varying weight while have influenced the nature of warfare, reduced the available fighting strength of whole armies, and led to soldier injuries and mortalities in previous and current conflicts. While the initial risk prevention strategy would be to reduce the load, two millennia of history suggest that a reduction in combatant loads in the near future is unlikely. in fact, the absolute loads carried by soldiers are thought to be increasing with Australian, British, and American service personal carrying mean loads of over 45kg while on operations. on this basis, if the combatant's load (and indeed those of other protective services) cannot be reduced than every effort needs to be taken to prepare personnel to withstand the strain from carrying these loads.

However, load carriage conditioning can lead to injuries if poor progression in training is used. Commanders and tactical facilitators need to endure that the conditioning measures taken to prepare personnel for load carriage tasks meets with evidence-based best practices. This requirement is vital if lead carriage conditioning is to be an effective risk prevention strategy, rather than a source of risk.

Prior to the establishment of a specific conditioning dose and programming guidelines, key principles of conditioning need to be considered. These principles are specificity, reversibility, recovery, and overload.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25.7-25.10
Number of pages4
JournalTSAC Report
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


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