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Adams, KJ, DeBeliso, M, Sevene-Adams, PG, Berning, JM, Miller, T, and Tollerud, DJ. Physiological and psychophysical comparison between a lifting task with identical weight but different coupling factors. J Strength Cond Res 24(2): 307-312, 2010-The objective of the revised NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) lifting equation is to prevent or reduce lifting-related injuries. The coupling component of the equation relates to quality of the grip (i.e., hand-to-object interface) and can be rated good, fair, or poor. Good coupling is theorized to reduce lifting stress, whereas poor coupling is theorized to increase lifting stress. This study compared the physiological and psychophysical stress between a lifting task with identical weight but different coupling factors. Subjects (n = 21; 26 /- 6 years; 177.8 /- 7.8 cm; 73.9 /- 10.7 kg) transferred a milk crate or bag of dog food each weighing 12.5 kg back and forth from the floor to a table for 2, paced, 5-minute work bouts. Steady-state metabolic data were used to compare the lifting tasks. Results showed significantly higher oxygen consumption, caloric cost, heart rate, and rating of perceived exertion during the lifting task using the milk crate vs. the bag of dog food (p < 0.05). No difference in respiratory exchange ratio was observed (p > 0.05). In conclusion, a significantly higher metabolic cost and perceived exertion was observed when subjects performed a paced two-handed lifting task with good coupling factors than when using an object with poor coupling factors. When lifting stress is measured by metabolic cost and perceived exertion, these results are in contrast to expectations that a poor quality grip (i.e., poor coupling) would increase stress of a lifting task. Results of this study may help the work-place practitioner make decisions related to the use of the revised NIOSH lifting equation in the design and pacing of lifting-related tasks. Improved decision making may benefit productivity and enhance injury prevention in the workplace.

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