Trunk muscle and lumbar ligament contributions to dynamic lifts with varying degrees of trunk flexion

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1991 Sep;16(9):1099-107. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199109000-00015.


This study was done to assess the interplay between muscular and ligamentous sources of extensor moment during dynamic lifting with various loads and flexion angles of the trunk segment for 15 subjects lifting a total of 150 loads. Ligament forces predicted from an anatomically detailed biomechanical model did not generally contribute more than 60 Nm for most of the lifts because the lumbar spine was only flexed to a moderate and constant degree for each load condition. In contrast, additional moment demands associated with increases in hand load were supported by muscle. Although the compression forces on the L4-5 intervertebral disc were fairly insensitive to the interplay between the recruitment of muscle and ligament, the shear force was significantly higher with a greater degree of lumbar flexion. The risk of injury may be influenced more by the degree of lumbar flexion than the choice of stoop or squat technique.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc / physiology
  • Ligaments / physiology*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*