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The effects of a loaded rucksack and weighted vest on metabolic cost and stride frequency in female adults

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This study evaluated the metabolic cost and stride frequency during exercise while wearing an evenly distributed weight vest in recreationally fit women. Nine healthy women performed a modified Balke treadmill test until volitional fatigue in one of three conditions; (1) unloaded (2) rucksack and (3) weighted vest. Wearing a weighted vest did not show improvement of VO2peak, HRpeak, peak stride frequency or average stride frequency (all p ≥ 0.05). However, total time of exercise was significantly longer in the evenly distributed weight vest condition compared to the rucksack condition (p = 0.024) despite similar VO2peak and HRpeak. These results may provide practical information when females in tactical populations are preparing for missions in which heavy loads must be carried.

Practitioner summary: This study compared the effects of load carriage mode on metabolic cost and stride frequency during graded exercise in females. The weighted vest showed significantly longer exercise time despite similar VO2peak and HRpeak. Development of standardised weight distribution mode may serve as an advantageous strategy for females in tactical settings.

Abbreviations: HR: heart rate; VO2: oxygen uptake; RPE: rating of perceived exertion; VO2peak: peak oxygen uptake; HRpeak: peak heart rate
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Keywords: Metabolic cost; load carriage; stride frequency; women

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Science, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA, USA; 2: Environmental Physiology Laboratory, Department of Exercise Physiology, Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2020

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