Force, frequency and gripping alter upper extremity muscle activity during a cyclic push task
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UNLABELLED: Factors, such as high repetition, high force and gripping play a role in the development of upper extremity work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The purpose of this study was to systematically examine the effects of push load and frequency on muscle activity with and without concurrent gripping. A total of 10 men and 10 women performed a cyclic bimanual pushing task. All combinations of three push loads (1 kg, 2 kg, 4 kg), three frequencies (4/min, 8/min, 16/min) and two grip conditions (no required grip and 30% of maximum grip force) were performed in randomised order. The muscle activity of the upper arm and shoulder complex reflected both frequency and load, often with significant interactions, thus may be better described by workload, the product of force and frequency. In the forearm, muscle activities were generally low but adding a submaximal grip superseded the effects of push load, with the activity reflecting frequency and grip. PRACTITIONER SUMMARY: Force and frequency are important risk factors for upper extremity disorders. We found that upper extremity muscle activity responds to workload (force × frequency) in a complex way which may be superseded if a grip is present. This electromyographic study provides physiological insights to muscular loading as basis for a variety of workplace disorders.
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