Sex-specific physical performance adaptive responses are elicited after 10 weeks of load carriage conditioning

Jodie A. Wills, David J. Saxby, Daniel J. Glassbrook, Tim L. A. Doyle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to identify and characterize sex-specific physical and psychophysical performance adaptations in response to a novel 10-week training program.

Materials and Methods: 
Fifteen males and thirteen females completed a standardized load carriage task (5 km at 5.5 km.h−1, wearing a 23 kg torso-borne vest) before and after 10 weeks of resistance and load carriage training. Psychophysical responses (i.e., heart rate and ratings of perceived exertion) were measured throughout the load carriage task. Physical performance (i.e., countermovement and squat jumps, push-ups, sit-ups, and beep test) was measured at before, mid-way, and after the training program (weeks 0, 6, and 11, respectively).

Training elicited significant improvements in squat jump maximal force, push-ups, and beep test performance (P < .05). Males outperformed females in all performance measures, with interactions (time, sex) for push-ups, sit-ups, and beep test performance. After training, aerobic capacity improved by 5.4% (42.9 mL· kg−1· min−1 to 45.2 mL· kg−1· min−1) in males but did not improve in females. Psychophysical responses decreased for both sexes (P < .05) during the load carriage task post-training.

While 10 weeks of standardized training elicited positive adaptations in both physical and psychophysical performance, sex-specific differences were still evident. To lessen these differences, sex-specific training should be considered to optimize load carriage performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-664
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number3-4
Early online date13 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2023


  • Heart-rate
  • Fitness
  • Strategies
  • Program


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