Load carriage and the female soldier

Robin M. Orr, Venerina Johnston, Julia Coyle, Rodney Pope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reviews the physiological, biomechanical and health impacts of load carriage on the female soldier and extends to include issues acknowledged as impacting on the female athlete and hence the female soldier. Physiological factors such as fat mass, strength, aerobic endurance and biomechanical factors such as stride length and forward lean have the potential to increase the energy cost of load carriage and cause injury. The female athlete triad, iron deficiency, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and military equipment issues can likewise reduce female soldier performance and increase injury risk. Research evidence is presented to inform the development and implementation of performance optimisation and injury prevention strategies. Discussed strategies include structured physical conditioning, improving nutrition and hydration practices and modification of load carriage equipment to meet female soldier requirements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Military and Veterans' Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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