Examining the effects of a weighted pack on functional movements in smokejumpers

Valerie Moody, Elise Brady, Isabella Callis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Smokejumpers are required to parachute from planes, carry gear weighing more than 50 kg, and hike on steep terrain. With a majority of injuries sustained to the lower extremity, it is imperative to understand the influence a weighted pack may have on functional performance. OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of external load on functional movements in Smokejumpers. METHODS: Using repeated measures design, ten Smokejumpers completed two trials consisting of 3 movements in weighted (50 kg) and unweighted conditions. Nine males and one female (age of 40.1±8.4 years, mass 81.1±8.3 kg) performed overhead squat, hurdle step and anterior reach. Movements were scored based on established guidelines. The mean of three trials was recorded for anterior reach on both limbs. RESULTS: Differences between weighted and unweighted scores in the overhead squat (p = 0.001), ND hurdle step (p = 0.005), D hurdle step (p = 0.000) and overall composite scores (p = 0.006) were found to be significantly different. Differences were also noted in D (p = 0.035) and ND (p = 0.045) anterior reach. CONCLUSIONS: The addition of a weighted pack negatively influences functional movements in Smokejumpers, which may lead to greater injury risk. Implementation of injury prevention strategies to reduce occupational injury risk should be explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-277
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Wildland firefighter
  • injury prevention
  • tactical athlete


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