The effect of fatigue on the muscular and postural response to sudden release of different stoop lifting loads was studied. Ten male volunteers performed a series of stoop lifting trials before and after fatigue of the erector spinae. Trials were performed using loads of 20, 40, 60, and 80N, and sudden release of load was triggered randomly on one of the repetitions using an electromagnetic release. The onset of release was registered by an accelerometer, centre of pressure (COP) motion was recorded via a forceplate, and EMG activities of the latissimus dorsi (LD), erector spinae (ES), rectus abdominus (RA), external oblique (EO) and internal oblique (IO) muscles were recorded. A slightly reduced lifting speed was seen after fatigue, particularly at the higher loads, but this had little effect on the perturbing force at release, which was dominated by the release load. A significant effect of fatigue was seen on the antero-posterior COP motion, with the postural disturbance being decreased after fatigue. Fatigue resulted in a significant increase in ES (p = 0.029) and LD (p = 0.015) relaxation times and, while the response patterns (relaxation, contraction or no response) of the anterior trunk muscles (RA, EO, IO) were not always consistent, the proportion of response by relaxation was greater after fatigue. This resulted in a lower incidence but longer duration of co-contraction of the ES-RA, ES-EO and ES-EO muscle groups following fatigue, such that the mean co-contraction duration of these groups showed no significant differences before and after fatigue. The response to sudden release is a balance between maintaining postural stability and at the same time preventing the trunk musculature from overloading the spine and risking tissue injury. While fatigue of the trunk extensors does not appear to increase either the risk of fall or stumble or the incidence of co-contraction following sudden release of stoop lifting tasks, the duration of co-contraction appears to increase following fatigue. Further study is required to quantify the loading on the spine during sudden release of different lifting tasks before and after more realistic fatigue conditions. Copyright © 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd.
CitationChow, D. H. K., Man, J. W. K., Holmes, A. D., & Evans, J. H. (2004). Postural and trunk muscle response to sudden release during stoop lifting tasks before and after fatigue of the trunk erector muscles. Ergonomics, 47(6), 607-624. doi: 10.1080/0014013031000151659
- Sudden release
- Centre of pressure