Document Type


Publication Date



Industrial and Managements Systems Engineering


The performance of manual material handling tasks is one major cause of lower back injuries. In the current study, we investigated the influence of the weight configuration of hand loads on trunk muscle activities and the associated spinal stability. Thirteen volunteers each performed static weight-holding tasks using two different 9 kg weight bars (with medial and lateral weight configurations) at two levels of height (low and high) and one fixed horizontal distance (which resulted in constant spinal joint moment across conditions). Results of the current study demonstrated that holding the laterally distributed load significantly reduced activation levels of lumbar and abdominal muscles by 9–13% as compared with holding the medially distributed load. We believe such an effect is due to an elevated rotational moment of inertia when the weight of the load is laterally distributed. These findings suggest that during the design and assessment of manual material handling tasks, such as lifting and carrying, the weight configuration of the hand load should be considered.

Source Citation

Madinei S, Ning X. Effects of the weight configuration of hand load on trunk musculature during static weight holding. Ergonomics. 2017;61(6):831-838. doi:10.1080/00140139.2017.1387675