Similarity of different lifting techniques in trunk muscular synergies

Acta Bioeng Biomech. 2015;17(4):21-9.


Lifting is known to be a major reason for musculoskeletal injuries. In this way, lifting has a crucial effect on human musculoskeletal system and intensity of this impact depends slightly on the selection of techniques. Underlying mechanisms by which trunk muscles are executed during performing lifting are central to biomechanical study of lifting techniques. In the current study, the trunk muscular control mechanisms of lifting are investigated using the synergetic control analysis. Non-negative matrix factorization has been used to extract trunk muscles synergies from their activities - which are computed by a previously validated musculoskeletal model - during different lifting techniques aimed to investigate motor control strategies. Three lifting techniques are considered; stoop, squat and semi-squat. Three synergies account for variety among muscle activation of trunk muscles with related VAF (Variability Account For) of over 95%. Trunk muscle synergy weightings and related time-varying coefficients are calculated for each kind of lifting techniques considering three synergies. Paired correlation coefficients between muscle synergies are all greater than 0.91 (P < 0.05) suggesting that trunk muscle synergies are similar for examined techniques in spite of their kinematic diversity. This similarity can be a result of their common ultimate goal. The acquired results also elucidate the mechanisms of muscle activation patterns that can be exploited in future studies and ergonomic interventions.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Lifting*
  • Models, Biological
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Torso
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology