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An investigation of perceived exertion via whole body exertion and direct muscle force indicators during the determination of the maximum acceptable weight of lift

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The objective of this study was to identify the perceived exertion mechanisms (direct muscle force and whole body exertion) associated with the decision to change the weight of lift during the determination of the maximum acceptable weight of lift (MAWL). Fifteen males lifted a box of unknown weight at a rate of 4.3 lifts/min, and adjusted the weight until their MAWL was reached. Variables such as the predicted muscle forces and heart rate were measured during the lifting exertion, as well as the predicted spinal loading in three dimensions using an EMG-assisted biomechanical model. Multiple logistic regression techniques were used to identify variables that were associated with the decision to change the weights up and down prior to a subsequent lift. Results indicated that the force in the left erector spinae, right internal oblique, and left latissimus dorsi muscles as well as heart rate were associated with decreases in the weight prior to the next lift. It appears that a combination of local factors (muscle force) and whole body exertion factors (heart rate) provide the feedback for the perceived exertion when decreasing the weight. The up-change model indicated that the forces of the right erector spinae, left internal oblique, and the right latissimus dorsi muscles were associated with the decision to increase the weight prior to the next lift. Thus, local factors provide feedback during the decision to increase the weight when starting from light weights. Collectively, these findings indicate that psychophysically determined weight limits may be more sensitive to muscular strain rather than spinal loading.
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Keywords: ERGONOMICS; LOW-BACK PAIN; MANUAL MATERIALS HANDLING; PSYCHOPHYSICS; SENSATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2000

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