Research: Loaded March & Performance

Exercise, Loaded March (3)Research Paper Title

Frequency of Loaded Road March Training and Performance on a Loaded Road March.


Four groups of soldiers (N=137) participated in a 9 week physical training programme that was similar except for the amount of loaded road march training. The groups conducted road marching as follow:

  • Group O (GPO) did not perform any road marching;
  • Group 1 (GP1) road marched once a month;
  • Group 2 (GP2) road marched twice a month; and
  • Group 4 (GP4) road marched 4 times a month.


The training program involved progressive increases in running, resistance training and interval training and some calisthenic (bodyweight) exercises. Before and after training soldiers performed a maximal effort 20 km road march while carrying a 46 kg total load. Some soldiers were monitored for heart rate during both road marches.


Results showed that post- training road march times were significantly longer than pre-training times presumably because of:

  1. Longer voluntary rest breaks; and
  2. Higher environmental temperature.

There were no significant differences in road march times among the 4 groups on the pre-test. On the post-test, GP4 and GP2 had significant faster road march times that GP1 and GPO. There were no significant differences between GP2 and GP4. After both road marches decrements were found in marksmanship and maximum grenade throwing distance.


These data suggest that twice monthly road marching as part of a progressive physical training programme results in 20km road march times equivalent to road march training 4 times per month. A strenuous road march can significantly impair some aspects of military performance.

Source: Knapick, J., Bahrke, M., Staab, J., Reynolds, K. & Vogel, J. (1990) Frequency of Loaded Road March Training and Performance on a Loaded Road March. Army Research Institute of Enviromental Medicine.


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