An elastically-suspended load can reduce the peak forces acting on the body and the energetic cost of human walking compared to a rigidly-attached load. However, limited knowledge exists on how elastically-suspended loads affect the biomechanics of human running. We develop a variant of an Actuated SLIP (Spring Loaded Inverted Pendulum) model to analyze human running with an elastically-suspended load. This model consists of a suspended load attached to the body mass of an Actuated SLIP model with approximate human parameters. The model enables the investigation of the coupled dynamics of the load and the human body and shows that the stride frequency of running is affected by the load suspension stiffness. The model also shows that the peak forces of the load acting on the body are reduced compared to a rigidly-attached load when the load suspension stiffness is minimized. However, the energetic cost of running with an elastically-suspended load is shown to increase compared to a rigidly-attached load. Further, the peak forces and the energetic cost of running are maximized when the natural frequency of the load suspension is tuned near the stride frequency. This model could lead to a better understanding of human running with elastically-suspended loads and may enable the design of load suspension systems that are optimized to reduce stress on the human body while running with a load.

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