Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Dr. Carl M. Maresh, Dr. Justin Z. Laferrier

Field of Study



Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


INTRODUCTION: Previous research has elucidated the physiological determinants of heavy load carriage while performing medium to long distance road marching, yet research examining the physiological underpinnings of high intensity battlefield tasks is limited. This study aimed to examine the role of strength and power during high intensity combat tasks under heavy load carriage.

METHODS: 18 recreationally trained men (mean ± SD: age: 21 ± 2 years; height: 172 ± 6 cm; weight: 80 ± 13 kg) participated in this study and performed an anaerobic combat course under two randomized experimental conditions; unloaded and loaded. Subjects performed three trials under each condition on separate days, with a five-minute rest in between each trial. In the unloaded trial, subjects wore a uniform with boots weighing ~ 3.2 kg. During the loaded trial, in addition to the uniform and boots, subjects wore interceptor body armor (6.94 kg-9.10 kg) and a MOLLE rucksack weighing 30 kg. The course consisted of 3 consecutive tasks, which began from the prone position, led into a 30m sprint, followed by a 27 m zig-zag run, and ended with a 10 m casualty drag weighing ~79.4 kg.

RESULTS: Pearson correlations showed significant (p ≤ 0.05) strong correlations between lower body strength (r = -0.63, -0.62), lower body power (r = -0.67, -0.67) and upper body strength (r=-0.60, -0.62) with overall performance times in the unloaded and loaded condition, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Strength and power are strongly related to high intensity, military tasks with and without heavy load carriage.

Major Advisor

Dr. William J. Kraemer