Plate armor doesn't look particularly comfortable. It's heavy. It covers most of your body. It looks like it would slow you to a crawl.
Researchers are taking a fresh look at armor, however, and showing how the warriors of yesteryear were surprisingly nimble while wearing full protective gear. A video shows Daniel Jaquet, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Berlin-based Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, donned plate armor while working through training exercises documented by a 15th-century knight known as Boucicaut.
The modern-day knight performs stretches, twists, jumps up to horseback height, goes for a run and chops wood. In an impressive display of strength, he also climbs the underside of a ladder without the use of his feet. Even a climbing wall is no problem. Jaquet's plate-metal workout shows that knights had a good range of movement despite the weight and design of the armor.
"The relatively impressive added load is comparable to the one imposed on modern soldiers with bullet proof vest and full gear, or to the one imposed on the fireman with his oxygen bottles," Jaquet writes for Medievalists.net.
The study, titled "Range of motion and energy cost of locomotion of the late medieval armoured fighter: A proof of concept of confronting the medieval technical literature with modern movement analysis," was published in June in Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History.