Understanding the Impact of Load on Performance


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Challenge

Like personnel in other occupations (e.g., firefighters), soldiers must wear and carry considerable loads. An overloaded soldier may experience heat stress, fatigue, injury and show diminished performance. Our client wanted help to quantify the impact of weight, bulk, and stiffness on soldier combat performance.

Approach

We first reviewed the literature relevant to load carriage (e.g., biomechanical, physiological, and psychological research). We also examined research related to marksmanship and obstacle course performance to identify best practices in the assessment of combat performance.

Result

Protecting the well-being and performance of soldiers is only possible if we know how much they can safely carry while still performing proficiently. Our work culminated in a state-of-the-art review showing current knowledge about the performance of soldiers under various forms of load with respect to three load parameters (weight, bulk, and stiffness). Our reviews showed many critical gaps in knowledge.

Bottom Line

Knowing what’s already been tried is critical to the most effective use of resources. We save you money by learning about best practices before heading into a complex area of research.

Project Contact: Alison Kelly

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