Oxygen Consumption and Blood Pressure Are Not Influenced by Use of a Backpack Hip Strap


      Several studies have explored the effect of backpack carriage on physiologic responses while walking, but few have focused specifically on the influence of the use of a hip strap on these responses. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a backpack hip strap on physiologic responses when walking at a moderate intensity while carrying a backpack with a standardized relative load of 30% of the wearer’s body mass.


      Twenty-three healthy, active participants carrying backpacks walked on a treadmill at a speed and grade that elicited 40-50% of their heart rate reserve. Participants completed 2 counterbalanced 30-min trials, one with the hip strap in the strapped condition and one with the hip strap unfastened. Metabolic, heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2) responses were recorded during both trials. For each variable, 5-min intervals were averaged at baseline, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 min. A repeated measures ANOVA test was used to evaluate the differences between the conditions at each time point. Data reported are the values from the final 5-min interval (30 min) and are reported as mean±SD.


      No differences were found between strapped and unstrapped trials for oxygen consumption (strapped 21.9±4.2 mL·kg-1·min-1; unstrapped 22.0±4.4 mL·kg-1·min-1, P=0.842), Δmean arterial pressure (strapped +5±17 Δmm Hg; unstrapped +12±14 Δmm Hg, P=0.128) or muscle oxygen saturation of the quadriceps (strapped 86±15%; unstrapped 90±12%, P=0.359) and calf (strapped 73±19%; unstrapped 81±12%, P=0.888).


      These results suggest that wearing a hip strap does not influence physiologic responses up to 30 min of moderate intensity walking while carrying 30% of the wearer’s mass.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Wilderness & Environmental Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Holewijn M.
        Physiological strain due to load carrying.
        Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1990; 61: 237-245
        • Knapik J.J.
        • Reynolds K.L.
        • Harman E.
        Soldier load carriage: historical, physiological, biomechanical, and medical aspects.
        Mil Med. 2004; 169: 45-56
        • Walicka-Cuprys K.
        • Skalska-Izdebska R.
        • Rachwal M.
        • Truszczynska A.
        Influence of the weight of a school backpack on spinal curvature in the sagittal plane of seven-year-old children.
        Biomed Res Int. 2015; 817913
        • Bastien G.J.
        • Willems P.A.
        • Schepens B.
        • Heglund N.C.
        Effect of load and speed on the energetic cost of human walking.
        Eur J Appl Physiol. 2005; 94: 76-83
        • Beekley M.D.
        • Alt J.
        • Buckley C.M.
        • Duffey M.
        • Crowder T.A.
        Effects of heavy load carriage during constant-speed, simulated, road marching.
        Mil Med. 2007; 172: 592-595
        • Simpson K.M.
        • Munro B.J.
        • Steele J.R.
        Effect of load mass on posture, heart rate and subjective responses of recreational female hikers to prolonged load carriage.
        Appl Ergon. 2011; 42: 403-410
        • Houdijk H.
        • Brown S.E.
        • van Dieen J.H.
        Relation between postural sway magnitude and metabolic energy cost during upright standing on a compliant surface.
        J Appl Physiol (1985). 2015; 119: 696-703
        • Holewijn M.
        • Lotens W.A.
        The influence of backpack design on physical performance.
        Ergonomics. 1992; 35: 149-157
        • Sagiv M.
        • Ben-Sira D.
        • Sagiv A.
        • Werber G.
        • Rotstein A.
        Left ventricular responses during prolonged treadmill walking with heavy load carriage.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994; 26: 285-288
        • Epstein Y.
        • Rosenblum J.
        • Burstein R.
        • Sawka M.N.
        External load can alter the energy cost of prolonged exercise.
        Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1988; 57: 243-247
        • Patton J.F.
        • Kaszuba J.
        • Mello R.P.
        • Reynolds K.L.
        Physiological responses to prolonged treadmill walking with external loads.
        Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1991; 63: 89-93
        • Pigman J.
        • Sullivan W.
        • Leigh S.
        • Hosick P.A.
        The effect of a backpack hip strap on energy expenditure while walking.
        Hum Factors. 2017; 59: 1214-1221
      1. Liguori G. Feito Y. Fountaine C. Roy B.A. General Principles of Exercise Prescription. In: ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Wolters Kluwer, Philadelphia, PA2022: 142-166
        • Karvonen M.J.
        • Kentala E.
        • Mustala O.
        The effects of training on heart rate; a longitudinal study.
        Ann Med Exp Biol Fenn. 1957; 35: 307-315
        • Bogert L.W.
        • van Lieshout J.J.
        Non-invasive pulsatile arterial pressure and stroke volume changes from the human finger.
        Exp Physiol. 2005; 90: 437-446
      2. Watts PB, Jenson RL. The effects of backpack loading styles on energy expenditure and movement in the sagittal plane during treadmill walking. In: Schwameder H, Strutzenberger G, Fastenbauer V, Lindinger S, Müller E, eds. Preceedings of the XXIV International Symposium of Biomechanics in Sports, Salzburg, Austria: 2006:633-66.

        • Blacker S.D.
        • Fallowfield J.L.
        • Bilzon J.L.J.
        • Willems M.E.T.
        Physiological responses to load carriage during level and downhill treadmill walking.
        Medicina Sportiva. 2009; 13: 116-124
        • Quesada P.M.
        • Mengelkoch L.J.
        • Hale R.C.
        • Simon S.R.
        Biomechanical and metabolic effects of varying backpack loading on simulated marching.
        Ergonomics. 2000; 43: 293-309
        • Ramanathan N.L.
        • Datta S.R.
        Ergonomical studies on load carrying up staircases. IV. Effect of load, rate of ascent and mode.
        Indian J Med Res. 1971; 59: 145-156
      3. Joseph S, Sengupta A. Effect of backpack carriage position on physiological cost and subjective responses of university students. In: Abram T, Karwowski W, Marek T, eds. Preceedings of the 5th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics. Kraków, Poland: 2014:5899-906.

        • Miyai N.
        • Arita M.
        • Miyashita K.
        • Morioka I.
        • Shiraishi T.
        • Nishio I.
        Blood pressure response to heart rate during exercise test and risk of future hypertension.
        Hypertension. 2002; 39: 761-766
        • O’Neal W.T.
        • Qureshi W.T.
        • Blaha M.J.
        • Keteyian S.J.
        • Brawner C.A.
        • Al-Mallah M.H.
        Systolic blood pressure response during exercise stress testing: the Henry Ford exercIse testing (FIT) project.
        J Am Heart Assoc. 2015; 4e002050
        • Wielemborek-Musial K.
        • Szmigielska K.
        • Leszczynska J.
        • Jegier A.
        Blood pressure response to submaximal exercise test in adults.
        Biomed Res Int. 2016; 5607507
        • Hong Y.
        • Li J.X.
        • Wong A.S.
        • Robinson P.D.
        Effects of load carriage on heart rate, blood pressure and energy expenditure in children.
        Ergonomics. 2000; 43: 717-727
        • Kim S.H.
        • Neuschwander T.B.
        • Macias B.R.
        • Bachman L.
        • Hargens A.R.
        Upper extremity hemodynamics and sensation with backpack loads.
        Appl Ergon. 2014; 45: 608-612
        • Mao C.P.
        • Macias B.R.
        • Hargens A.R.
        Shoulder skin and muscle hemodynamics during backpack carriage.
        Appl Ergon. 2015; 51: 80-84