Industrial and Management Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in JOURNAL OF APPLIED BIOMECHANICS, 19 (2003), pp. 131-138. Copyright 2003 by Human Kinetics Publishers. Inc. Used by permission.


Biomechanical optimization models are often used to estimate muscular and intervertebral disc forces during physical exertions. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an optimization-based biomechanical model predicts torso muscular activity of males and females equally well. The Minimum Intensity Compression (MIC) model, which has been extensively applied in industrial ergonomic task analysis, was used to estimate muscle forces for 3D moments. Participants (6 M, 6 F) performed 18 isometric exertions resisting 3D L3/L4 moments while electomyographic( EMG) activity was recorded for 8 muscles. Overall, model force estimates correlated better with male EMG activity (R2 = 0.43) than with female EMG activity (R2= 0.33). Model force estimates of 4 muscles (LRA, RRA, REO, and RES) correlated better with male EMG activity than with female EMG. We conclude that trunk muscle forces estimated by current biomechanical modeling do not correlate equally well to male and female EMG activity. Future research needs to address validation or improvement of biomechanical trunk models for females.