To investigate the effect of a preventive strength training program on cardiovascular, metabolic and muscular strains during welding. Welders are one of the occupation groups which typically have to work in extended forced postures which are known to be an important reason for musculoskeletal disorders. Subjects (exercise group) accomplished a 12-week strength training program, while another group served as controls (control group). Pre and post training examinations included the measurements of the one repetition maximum and an experimental welding test. Local muscle activities were analysed by surface electromyography. Furthermore, heart rate, blood pressure, lactate and rating of perceived exertion were examined. In the exercise group, strength training lead to a significant increase of one repetition maximum in all examined muscles (p<.05). During the experimental welding test muscle activities of trunk and shoulder muscles and arm muscles were significantly reduced in the exercise group after intervention (p<.05). While no changes of neither cardiovascular nor metabolic parameters were found, subjects of the exercise group rated a significantly decreased rate of perceived exertion welding (p<.05). Effects of strength training can be translated in an improved working ergonomics and tolerance against the exposure to high physical demands at work.
Keywords: cardiovascular/metabolic strains; resistance training; working ergonomics; workplace health promotion.