The Roles of Whole Body Balance, Shoe-Floor Friction, and Joint Strength During Maximum Exertions: Searching for the “Weakest Link”

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 Queen’s University
  • 2 University of Waterloo
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Exerting manual forces is critical during occupational performance. Therefore, being able to estimate maximum force capacity is particularly useful for determining how these manual exertion demands relate to available capacity. To facilitate this type of prediction requires a complete understanding of how maximum force capacity is governed biomechanically. This research focused on identifying how factors including joint moment strength, balance and shoe-floor friction affected hand force capacity during pulling, pressing downward and pushing medially. To elucidate potential limiting factors, joint moments were calculated and contrasted with reporte joint strength capacities, the balancing point within the shoe-floor interface was calculated and expresess relative to the area defined by the shoe-floor interface, and the net applied horizontal forces were compare with the available friction. Each of these variables were calculated as participants exerted forces in a series o conditions designed to systematically control or restrict certain factors from limiting hand force capacity. The results demonstrated that hand force capacity, in all tested directions, was affected by the experimental conditions (up to 300%). Concurrently, biomechanical measures reached or surpassed reported criterion threshold inferring specific biomechanical limitations. Downward exertions were limited by elbow strength, wherea pulling exertions were often limited by balance along the anterior-posterior axis. No specific limitations wer identified for medial exertions.

Steven L. Fischer (Corresponding Author) is with the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada. Bryan R. Picco, Richard P. Wells, and Clark R. Dickerson are with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada.