Does Isometric Deadlift Peak Force Represent an Important Determinant for the Success of a Simulated Casualty Evacuation Task?

Research Paper Title

Simulated Casualty Evacuation Performance Is Augmented by Deadlift Peak Force.

Background

The purpose of the current study was to examine if isometric peak force and rate of force development (RFD) were related to the ability to successfully perform a simulated casualty evacuation task in both unweighted and weighted conditions.

Methods

Eighteen male participants from Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) completed a maximum isometric deadlift on a force plate (IRB#HE16227). Isometric peak force and RFD were calculated from ground reaction force.

Two simulated casualty evacuation performance trials were then completed.

The unweighted trial consisted of lifting and carrying a 75 kg dummy as quickly as possible for 50 m.

The weighted trial was similar except 9 kg vests were added to both the simulation dummy and the participant to represent 18 kg of duty gear.

Independent sample t-tests and Pearson correlations were performed to compare the characteristics of those who passed and failed the weighted trial.

Results

All of the participants (n = 18) completed the unweighted casualty evacuation trial, while 72% (n = 13) were able to complete the weighted casualty evacuation trial.

The participants that successfully completed the weighted evacuation trial had significantly (p < 0.05) greater isometric peak force (1420 ± 165 vs. 1076 ± 256 N) and lean mass (74.18 ± 3.89 vs. 65.34 ± 3.89 kg) when compared to participants (n = 5) that could not complete the weighted evacuating task trial.

Additionally, greater Army Physical Fitness Test scores (288 ± 13 vs. 269 ± 16 arbitrary units) and significantly faster (30.34 ± 4.41 vs. 44.92 ± 10.62 seconds) unweighted evacuation trial times were observed in participants that could complete the weighted evacuation task.

Peak force was also significantly correlated with lean mass (r = 0.51, p < 0.05).

There was no relationship between RFD and performance of the unweighted or weight trial.

Conclusions

Isometric deadlift peak force represents an important determinant for the success of a simulated casualty evacuation task and may be a useful marker to include in periodic fitness evaluations of military personnel.

Reference

Poser, W.M., Trautman, K.A., Dicks, N.D., Christensen, B.K., Lyman, K.J. & Hackney, K.J. (2019) Simulated Casualty Evacuation Performance Is Augmented by Deadlift Peak Force. Military Medicine. 184(9-10), pp.e406-e411. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usz050.

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