What is the Potential Utility of a Loaded Treadmill Protocol for Tactical Athletes?

Research Paper Title

Potential Utility of a Loaded Treadmill Protocol for Tactical Athletes.


Aerobic capacity is an important variable for tactical athletes, with VO2max being the most direct way of estimating it in a laboratory setting.


A mode-specific protocol involving fixed-weight, torso-borne loads was assessed in the current study.

On 4 separate days, 15 men (age 22.1 ± 2.7 years, mass 85.1 ± 10.6 kg, height 179.0 ± 7.7 cm) performed a weighted treadmill walking protocol (2 trials) and a nonweighted treadmill running protocol (2 trials).


Both the weighted and non-weighted protocols were reliable, with intra-class correlation coefficient values of 0.79 and 0.87, respectively.

VO2peak values from both protocols were highly correlated (r = 0.90, p < 0.01). However, VO2peak was higher during the nonweighted protocol (t = 7.547, d = 2.47, p < 0.01).

Work rate was calculated for both the last completed stage and stage during which participants reached fatigue. Work rates for both protocols on the last completed stage were similar (t = 1.44, d = 0.83, p = 0.17), although the work rate for the final attempted stage was greater for the weighted-walking protocol (t = 5.85, d = 3.60, p < 0.01).


These data suggest a weighted-walking VO2peak that is highly associated with a running VO2peak.

This test may be applied to those who routinely perform torso-borne load carriage, such as tactical athletes.

Future weighted-walking protocols should seek achieve higher resolution, especially near the end stage of the test where subjects reach volitional fatigue.

Large increases in work rate may not be feasible at the end stages of the test.


Swearingen, J.T., Weiss, L.W., Smith, W.A., Stephenson, M.D. & Schilling, B.K. (2018) Potential Utility of a Loaded Treadmill Protocol for Tactical Athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 32(3):610-616. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002217.


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