Muscle activation during the Pack Hike test and a critical wildfire fighting task

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Health and Safety
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TitleMuscle activation during the Pack Hike test and a critical wildfire fighting task
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsNetto, K, Lord, C, Petersen, A, Spelt Janssen, J, Nichols, D, Aisbett, B
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Volume44
Issue2
Date Published2013
ISSN00036870
AbstractThe aim of this study was to examine the muscle activation of six global muscles during the successful completion of the Pack Hike test (PHT) and compare this to muscle activations during a critical wildfire fighting task. In-field surface electromyography was recorded from eight male wildfire fighters during the PHT and the rakehoe task – a critical wildfire suppression activity. All participants successfully completed the PHT within the 45-min time limit. No significant changes in peak muscle activation levels as well as no significant shifts in median frequency in the six muscle analysed were recorded during the 4.83-km hike. Significantly different peak muscle activation levels were recorded in four of the six muscles tested when the PHT was compared to the rakehoe task. These results suggest the PHT should not be administered in isolation and other tests that specifically challenge upper body muscle endurance should be incorporated into a battery that accurately assesses the job-specific fitness of wildfire fighters. Highlights ► Muscle activity during the Pack Hike test (PHT) and a critical wildfire suppression task were compared. ► No muscle fatigue was detected during the PHT. ► Different muscle activation patterns between the tasks were recorded. ► The PHT may not adequately challenge upper body muscular endurance.
DOI10.1016/j.apergo.2012.08.003
Short TitleApplied Ergonomics
Refereed DesignationRefereed
DOI10.1016/j.apergo.2012.08.003