The effects of load and gradient on hand force responses during dynamic pushing and pulling tasks
The limited attention afforded to push/pull activities and the motion phases (initial, sustained and ending) characteristic of these tasks has prompted a research focus in this area. The present study examined biomechanical responses in the form of hand forces during dynamic submaximal trolley pushing and pulling. Participants pushed/pulled loads of 100, 200 and 300 kg on the level (determining impact of load) or pushed 100 kg along a 12o ramp (uphill and downhill- determining impact of gradient).
During level exertions significant differences (p<0.05) in hand forces occurred between loads of 100 and 200 kg, and 100 and 300 kg for initial and sustained forces but not ending forces. Values were similar for pushing and pulling at respective loads and motion phases. Strong correlations indicate that initial forces can be used to accurately estimate sustained and ending forces. Importantly, correct technique is essential in force reduction.
Forces were highest during uphill initial and sustained phases and the downhill sustained phase. For the initial phase, the forces were highest during uphill pushing (86.5 ± 25.73 N); for the sustained phase, there was no difference between uphill and downhill forces but level forces were significantly lower (18.19 ± 8.09 N) than either of the other two conditions; for the ending phase, the highest forces were produced during downhill pushing (-53.34 ± 13.65N). As sustained forces equaled or exceeded initial forces for uphill and downhill efforts, consideration of sustained forces may be appropriate in determining the inherent potential risk of graded pushing.
Keywords: Pushing, pulling, load, gradient, motion phases