Does the The Pandolf Equation Under-predict the Metabolic Rate of Contemporary Military Load Carriage?

Research Paper Title

The Pandolf equation under-predicts the metabolic rate of contemporary military load carriage.

Background

This investigation assessed the accuracy of error of the Pandolf load carriage energy expenditure equation when simulating contemporary military conditions (load distribution, external load and walking speed). This was a within-participant design.

Methods

Sixteen male participants completed 10 trials comprised of:

  • Five walking speeds (2.5, 3.5, 4.5, 5.5 and 6.5km·h-1); and
  • Two external loads (22.7 and 38.4kg).

Results

The Pandolf equation demonstrated poor predictive precision, with a mean bias of 124.9W and -48.7 to 298.5W 95% limits of agreement.

Furthermore, the Pandolf equation systematically under-predicted metabolic rate (p<0.05) across the 10 speed-load combinations.

Predicted metabolic rate error ranged from 12-33% across all conditions with the ‘moderate’ walking speeds (i.e. 4.5-5.5km·h-1) yielding less prediction error (12-17%) when compared to the slower and faster walking speeds (21-33%).

Conclusions

Factors such as mechanical efficiency and load distribution contribute to the impaired predictive accuracy.

The authors suggest the Pandolf equation should be applied to military load carriage with caution.

Reference

Drain, J.R., Aisbett, B., Lewis, M. & Billing, D.C. (2017) The Pandolf equation under-predicts the metabolic rate of contemporary military load carriage. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 20 Suppl 4:S104-S108. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2017.08.009. Epub 2017 Aug 24.

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