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The Relationship Between Maximal Lifting Capacity and Maximum Acceptable Lift in Strength-Based Soldiering Tasks

Savage, Robert J.1; Best, Stuart A.1; Carstairs, Greg L.2; Ham, Daniel J.2

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue - p S23–S29
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825d7f5e
Original Research

Savage, RJ, Best, SA, Carstairs, GL, and Ham, DJ. The relationship between maximal lifting capacity and maximum acceptable lift in strength-based soldiering tasks. J Strength Cond Res 26(7): S23–S29, 2012—Psychophysical assessments, such as the maximum acceptable lift, have been used to establish worker capability and set safe load limits for manual handling tasks in occupational settings. However, in military settings, in which task demand is set and capable workers must be selected, subjective measurements are inadequate, and maximal capacity testing must be used to assess lifting capability. The aim of this study was to establish and compare the relationship between maximal lifting capacity and a self-determined tolerable lifting limit, maximum acceptable lift, across a range of military-relevant lifting tasks. Seventy male soldiers (age 23.7 ± 6.1 years) from the Australian Army performed 7 strength-based lifting tasks to determine their maximum lifting capacity and maximum acceptable lift. Comparisons were performed to identify maximum acceptable lift relative to maximum lifting capacity for each individual task. Linear regression was used to identify the relationship across all tasks when the data were pooled. Strong correlations existed between all 7 lifting tasks (r range = 0.87–0.96, p < 0.05). No differences were found in maximum acceptable lift relative to maximum lifting capacity across all tasks (p = 0.46). When data were pooled, maximum acceptable lift was equal to 84 ± 8% of the maximum lifting capacity. This study is the first to illustrate the strong and consistent relationship between maximum lifting capacity and maximum acceptable lift for multiple single lifting tasks. The relationship developed between these indices may be used to help assess self-selected manual handling capability through occupationally relevant maximal performance tests.

1Center for Human and Applied Physiology, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, University of Wollongong, Australia

2Human Protection and Performance Division, Defence Science and Technology Organization, Australia

Address correspondence to Greg L. Carstairs,

Copyright © 2012 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.