Biomechanical differences associated with two different load carriage systems and their relationship to economy
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Purpose. To explore relationships between load carriage economy and the kinematics and kinetics of load carriage using both a backpack (BP) and a double pack (DP). Basic procedures. Nine participants walked on a treadmill at gradients of between 27% downhill and 20% uphill, and over a force plate on level ground, at a speed of 3 km.h-1. Expired air was collected throughout the treadmill experiment and all experiments were filmed for subsequent biomechanical analysis. The relative economy of load carriage was expressed in terms of the Extra Load Index (ELI). Main findings. There was a tendency for the double pack system to be associated with better economy than the BP. The double pack system provoked significantly less forward lean than the backpack and the horizontal displacement of the CoM was also smaller for the double pack system and both of these factors were strongly related to economy. There was, however, a greater range of motion of the trunk in the DP condition and this was also associated with improved economy. Conclusions. The results suggest that the DP was associated with smaller perturbations in gait than the BP and that this represents an advantage in terms of economy. In particular freedom of movement of the trunk in the sagittal plane may be an important consideration in the efficiency of load carriage systems.