Physiological evaluation of a wheeled assistive device for load carriage

Itay Ketko, Ran Yanovich, Meir Plotnik, Amit Gefen, Yuval Heled*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carrying heavy weight imposes high physiological strain on the human body, which can adversely affect physical performance. This is especially important for soldiers whose physical performance level may influence mission completion and survival. Recently, wheel-based devices (WBDs), designed to reduce the load on the soldier, have been suggested as a possible solution. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the physiological effects of a proposed WBD prototype. Ten volunteers performed 3 exercise protocols on a treadmill as follows: without carrying any load, with a military backpack, and with the WBD. While using both modalities, they carried 40% of their body weight. Data acquisition included heart rate, body core temperature, oxygen consumption, and subjective comfort. Postural sway was also measured to evaluate the effect of WBD on standing balance. There were no significant differences between the physiological measures while using both modalities. Subjective comfort evaluation showed that the WBD may be more comfortable, yet it raises difficulty in maintaining balance while walking, as can be explained by the postural sway results. We suggest that the similarity in physiological strain while using the WBD was due to reduced walking efficiency in an attempt to maintain balance. It appears that the WBD may have some biomechanical advantages in reducing the subjective pain and pressure at the shoulder region, a matter that should be further examined together with other biomechanical measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S139-S143
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
StatePublished - 2015


  • core temperature
  • energy consumption
  • exercise
  • postural sway
  • soldier


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