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Cadets' swimming and running performance
with and without a combat uniform

The aim was to examine whether a combat uniform (CU) influences the cadet's exercise performance in and out of the water.

Stylianos N Kounalakis 1, Ioannis Kostoulas 2, Konstantinos Havenetidis 2, Ioannis Giossos 2, Thrasivoulos Paxinos 2
Evelpidon Hellenic Army Academy, Faculty of Physical and Cultural Education, Vari, Greece.


Fourteen male Army Officer cadets performed on 6 separate days:

  1. a maximal 400-m freestyle swimming trial
  2. a 4 x 50-m all-out freestyle swimming trial with 10 seconds rest in between
  3. a 50-m swim obstacle course with a CU (CUs)
  4. a 50-m swim obstacle course without a CU (NUs)
  5. a 1000-m track run with a CU (CU(R))
  6. a 1000-m track run without a CU (NUR)
In each trial, performance time, oxygen uptake (Vo2), lactate concentration ([La]), and capillary oxygen saturation (SpO2) were recorded.


The mean performance time was 44.3 +/- 3.1 s and 33.4 +/- 1.8 s in CUs and NUs trials, respectively.

Peak VO2 was similar in CUs, NUs, and 400 m (CUs: 59.1 +/- 1.1 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1), NUs: 57.3 +/- 2.1 ml kg(-1) x min(-1), 400 m: 58.2 +/- 1.6 ml x kg(-1) min(-1)).

[La] was higher in CUs than in NUs (CUs: 10.0 +/- 2.0 mmol x L(-1), NUs: 8.5 +/- 1.8 mmol x L(-1)), but it was lower in CUs and NUs than during the 400 m and 4 x 50 m.

SpO2 was lower (approximately 4.5%) in CUs than NUs. No differences were observed between running trials.


The results suggest that the use of CU during swimming tasks induces high demands for energy and, thus, leads to a significant impairment of the swimming performance of the cadets. However, the influence of the CU seems to be less crucial during dry land running performance.
PMID: 24479257 DOI: 10.3357/asem.3527.2014

swim training in combat uniform
swim training in combat uniform

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