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Appl Ergon. 2013 Mar;44(2):274-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2012.08.003. Epub 2012 Sep 12.

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

Author information

  • 1Centre for Exercise and Sports Science, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Hwy, Melbourne, VIC 3125, Australia. kevin.netto@deakin.edu.au


The 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.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd and The Ergonomics Society. All rights reserved.

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