It is unclear whether the maximum acceptable weight of lift (MAWL), a common psychophysical method, reflects joint kinetics when different lifting techniques are employed. In a within-participants study (n = 12), participants performed three lifting techniques - free style, stoop and squat lifting from knee to waist level - using the same dynamic functional capacity evaluation lifting test to assess MAWL and to calculate low back and knee kinetics. We assessed which knee and back kinetic parameters increased with the load mass lifted, and whether the magnitudes of the kinetic parameters were consistent across techniques when lifting MAWL. MAWL was significantly different between techniques (p = 0.03). The peak lumbosacral extension moment met both criteria: it had the highest association with the load masses lifted (r > 0.9) and was most consistent between the three techniques when lifting MAWL (ICC = 0.87). In conclusion, MAWL reflects the lumbosacral extension moment across free style, stoop and squat lifting in healthy young males, but the relation between the load mass lifted and lumbosacral extension moment is different between techniques. Practitioner Summary: Tests of maximum acceptable weight of lift (MAWL) from knee to waist height are used to assess work capacity of individuals with low-back disorders. This article shows that the MAWL reflects the lumbosacral extension moment across free style, stoop and squat lifting in healthy young males, but the relation between the load mass lifted and lumbosacral extension moment is different between techniques. This suggests that standardisation of lifting technique used in tests of the MAWL would be indicated if the aim is to assess the capacity of the low back. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Kuijer, P. P. F. M., van Oostrom, S. H., Duijzer, K., & van Dieen, J. H. (2012). Maximum Acceptable Weight of Lift reflects peak lumbosacral extension moments in a Functional Capacity Evaluation test using free style, stoop, and squat lifting. Ergonomics, 55, 343-349. https://doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2011.642005