What is the Influence of Body Armour on Balance & Movement Quality?

Research Paper Title

The Influence of Body Armor on Balance and Movement Quality.

Background

Body armour is essential to the protection of military personnel; however, body armour may impede the users balance and movement quality.

A better understanding of the influence of body armour on balance and movement quality may help in the development of new guidelines for training standards and procedures to mitigate the risk of injury associated with wearing of body armour in warfighters.

The purpose of this study was to identify the effects of body armour (combat boots, tactical vest and combat helmet) on balance and movement quality in male military cadets and personnel.

Methods

Twelve male participants completed the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) under two separate conditions:

  • Body armour; and
  • Non-body armour.

Results

Results indicated a significant difference in FMS composite score between the non-body armour and body armour conditions (p =.012), with the non-body armour condition resulting in significantly higher FMS scores than the body armour condition.

Additionally, the FMS item score for shoulder mobility was significantly higher (2.25±0.62) in the non-body armour condition than the body armour condition (p= 0.03).

The SEBT composite and the three individual reach distances were not significantly different between conditions.

Conclusions

Based on the current findings, body armour within a 4.8 kg – 5.3 kg range does appear to impact movement quality as evaluated using the FMS in male military personnel and cadets.

More research is needed to determine a threshold of compensatory movement patterns relative to an increase in body armour weight.

Reference

Kollock, R.O., Hale, D., Vogelpohl, R., Kremer, L., Horner, J., Cox, C. & Allen, M. (2018) The Influence of Body Armor on Balance and Movement Quality. International Journal of Exercise Science. 11(1), pp.648-656. eCollection 2018.

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