Increased velocity at VO2max and load carriage performance in army ROTC cadets: prescription using the critical velocity concept

Nathan D. Dicks, Sean J. Mahoney, Mark Kramer, Katie J. Lyman, Bryan K. Christensen, Robert W. Pettitt, Kyle J. Hackney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of using the critical velocity (CV) concept to prescribe two separate high-intensity interval training (HIT) exercise programs aimed at enhancing CV and load carriage performance. 20 young adult participants (male = 15, female = 5) underwent a 4-week training period where they exercised 2 d (Formula presented.) wk−1. Participants were randomly assigned into two groups: (1) HIT or (2) Load Carriage-HIT (LCHIT). Pre- and post-training assessments included running 3-minute All-Out Test (3MT) to determine critical velocity (CV) and distance prime (D′) and two load carriage tasks (400 and 3200 m). There were significant increases in CV (p = 0.005) and velocity at V˙ O2max (vV˙ O2max) (p = 0.037) among the sample but not between training groups. Improvements were observed in 3200 m load carriage performance time (p < 0.001) with a 9.8 and 5.4% decrease in the LCHIT and HIT groups, respectively. Practitioner summary: Critical velocity has shown efficacy as a marker for performance in tactical populations. With the addition of load carriage, there is a reduction in the individual’s CV. The CV-concept-prescribed exercises (HIT and LCHIT) 2 days per week for 4 weeks showed improvements in CV, vV˙ O2max and load carriage performance. The use of the CV concept provides a method to prescribe HIT to increase running and load carriage performances in tactical populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-743
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • 3MT
  • critical velocity
  • high-intensity interval training
  • load carriage
  • military

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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