Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences
First Committee Member
Brian K. Schilling
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Number of Pages
Introduction: Tactical athletes face the unique task of performing physically demanding occupational duties often while wearing torso-borne loads. While pulmonary function has been shown to decrease while wearing plate-carrier style body armor, there has yet to be a study using the more accurate measurement of plethysmography to determine exactly why. Additionally, the inspiratory muscle’s pressure generation capabilities and how they respond to a repeated running sprint test while wearing body armor are unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation was to examine how body armor affects pulmonary function, inspiratory muscle strength, and athletic performance during repeated, high-intensity sprints.
Methods: Twelve college-aged males performed spirometry, plethysmography, maximal inspiratory pressure, and Running Anaerobic Sprint tests under three conditions (CNTL, unloaded plate carrier [UNL], and loaded plate carrier [LOAD]). Participants had their maximal inspiratory pressure recorded pre- and post-sprint tests.
Results: There was no significant difference among any of the conditions for inspiratory muscle strength pre-sprint test. Compared to CNTL, LOAD showed a small but statistically significant lower forced vital capacity (p = 0.02, d = 0.3) and a moderately lower total lung capacity (p < 0.01, d = 0.5). The LOAD condition also had a significantly higher total running anaerobic sprint test time (p < 0.001, d = 1.5).
Conclusion: A loaded plate-carrier body armor reduces pulmonary function and demonstrates similar reductions as obese individuals. Using the UNL, repeated sprint performance was ~10% slower than the CNTL but did not significantly differ in fatigue rate. Tactical athletes should aim to train with their style of body armor to reduce the negative effects of wearing body armor during repeated anaerobic activity.
Body armor; Pulmonary function; Sprint performance; Tactical
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Dunnick, Dustin, "The Effect of Body Armor on Pulmonary Function and Repeated Sprint Performance" (2020). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 4048.
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