The load carriage index (LCI) - adjusting the load carried by the soldier according to body composition measurements
© Ketko et al.; 2015
Published: 14 September 2015
Lean body mass (LBM), strongly correlates with absolute maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), has been shown to predict load carriage performance . In contrast, fat mass is considered "dead mass" (DM) that reduces mobility and effectiveness of the carrier[2, 3]. Lyons et al. proposed that the ratio LBM to DM can indicate the ability to carry loads . We aimed to study the ability to better distribute the loads to be carried by a team of soldiers by using a load carriage index (LCI) rather than relying only on percentage of bodyweight.
The load carriage Index was applied as follows: LCI = (lean body mass)/(fat mass + external load) 14 healthy males (age: 26(2) yrs; weight: 77(12) kg; fat percentage: 17(4) %; VO2max: 52.1(5.6) mL.kg-1.min-1) performed light exercise on a motor driven treadmill (4 km.h-1 and 0% incline), while carrying 40% of their bodyweight (BW). The LCI was calculated for each subject according to his anthropometric measures and the load he carried. The oxygen consumption was measured continuously during the exercise.
Load [kg] (40% BW)
New Load [kg]
New Load [%BW]
LCI varies considerably within the group while requiring carrying the same %BW. This is due to the higher DM carried by those with the higher %body-fat. Thus, in order to match work intensity (similar metabolic demand of the task) between different individuals carrying loads we suggest the LCI as a helpful index for a better given load distribution, rather than relying only on percentage of body mass only.
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