What are the Effects of Heavy Load Carriage during Constant-Speed, Simulated, Road Marching?

Research Paper Title

Effects of heavy load carriage during constant-speed, simulated, road marching.


Load carriage is a key element in dismounted military operations. Load carriage requirements in the field regularly exceed 50% of lean body mass (LBM) and have only rarely been studied.

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the metabolic and motivational effects of heavy loads (30-70% LBM) during constant-rate road marching on a treadmill.


Ten healthy male Army officers carried loads of 30%, 50%, and 70% LBM in an all-purpose, lightweight, individual, carrying equipment pack for 30 minutes, at a speed of 6 km/h.

Oxygen consumption (VO2), ventilation, heart rate (HR), respiratory exchange ratio, rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and Self-Motivation Inventory scores were recorded at each trial.


Significant increases were observed for VO2, ventilation, and HR between the trials.

RPE significantly increased for the 70% LBM trial, compared with the 30% and 50% trials.

No significant differences were seen in respiratory exchange ratio or Self-Motivation Inventory scores.


Increasingly heavy loads carried in a rucksack resulted in increased VO2, RPE, and HR; therefore, increasing the load that a soldier is required to carry may negatively affect road march performance.


Beekley, M.D., Alt, J., Buckley, C.M., Duffey, M. & Crowder, T.A. (2007) Effects of heavy load carriage during constant-speed, simulated, road marching. Military Medicine. 172(6), pp.592-595.


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