Effects of backpack and double pack loads on postural stability

Siu Wai LI, Otto H. T. CHAN, T. Y. NG, L. H. KAM, C. Y. NG, W. C. CHUNG, Hung Kay Daniel CHOW

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Measurement of postural stability is crucial for identifying predictors of performance, determining the efficacy of physical training and rehabilitation techniques and evaluating and preventing injuries, particularly for heavy load carriage in hikers, mountain search and rescue personnel and soldiers. This study investigated the effect of load distribution on postural stability in an upright stance using backpack and double pack loads under conflicting or impaired somatosensory, visual and vestibular conditions. The sensory organisation tests were conducted on 20 young adults before and after a 10-min level walking exercise. Young adults' ability to use inputs from somatosensory and visual systems to maintain postural stability was significantly reduced following a 10-min walking exercise with a heavy backpack (30% of body weight), whereas no significant changes were observed for double pack carriage. Thus, the distribution of heavy loads to the front and back provides superior balance control compared with back-only loading. Practitioner summary: This study investigated the effects of heavy (30% of body weight) load distribution on postural stability after a 10-min walking exercise. Backpack carriage significantly reduced postural stability, whereas there was no significant effect under double pack loads. Distribution of heavy loads on the front-and-back is desirable for superior balance control. Copyright © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-547
Issue number4
Early online dateJan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


Li, S. S. W., Chan, O. H. T., Ng, T. Y., Kam, L. H., Ng, C. Y., Chung, W. C., & Chow, D. H. K. (2019). Effects of backpack and double pack loads on postural stability. Ergonomics, 62(4), 537-547. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2018.1552764


  • Load distribution
  • Heavy load carriage
  • Postural stability
  • Sensory organisation test


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