Ruck/Load Marching & Risk Factors for ROTC Cadets

Research Paper Title

The Effects of Military Style Ruck Marching on Lower Extremity Loading and Muscular, Physiological and Perceived Exertion in ROTC Cadets.

Background

Military ruck marching with load carriage increases ground reaction forces, which are related to bone stress injuries (BSI).

This study’s purpose was to examine whether a ruck march increases impact loading and to describe muscular, physiological and perceived exertion in Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets.

Secondary purposes examined relationships among loading changes after the ruck march and baseline characteristics.

Methods

Fifteen Army ROTC cadets performed a 4-mile march. Lower extremity loading and muscular, physiological and perceived exertion were measured pre- and post-march.

Results

Results indicated significant increases in peak impact force and loading rate and decreases in ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion strength.

Factors that might have been related to changes seen in lower extremity loading did not yield any compelling relationships to explain those changes.

Conclusions

In conclusion, the ruck march led to increased peak impact force and loading rate, which have been shown to be related to the risk of BSI.

Practitioner Summary

This study examined ROTC cadets ankle strength and lower extremity loading before and after a ruck march.

The researchers found that lower extremity loading increased after the march, and ankle dorsiflexion (DF) strength decreased, despite the cadets not feeling fatigued.

These changes are consistent with risk factors for bone stress injuries.

Reference

Earl-Boehm, J.E., Poel, D.N., Zalewski, K. & Ebersole, K.T. (2020) The Effects of Military Style Ruck Marching on Lower Extremity Loading and Muscular, Physiological and Perceived Exertion in ROTC Cadets. Ergonomics. 63(5), pp.629-638. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2020.1745900. Epub 2020 Apr 2.

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