Send to

Choose Destination
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2002 Feb 1;27(3):282-90.

Effect of belt pressure and breath held on trunk electromyography.

Author information

Department of Industrial Management, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.



This study examined the effect of a belt on ventilation and trunk muscle activities during repetitive lifting tasks with a control of breathing type and belt pressure.


To evaluate the effect of the lifting belt on the trunk muscle electromyography (EMG) and to parse out potential interaction between ventilatory changes and lifting belts.


Although both tensed thorax and compressed abdomen are considered to assist transferring the force from torso to pelvis in lifting, there has not been any consideration of the interaction between the two chambers in most published analyses.


Eleven male study participants participated in the study. They performed five minutes of paced repetitive squat lifts at frequencies of one or three lifts per minute, with loads of 10 or 25 kg. Belt pressure was set at 0 (no belt), 10, and 20 mm Hg. Study participants lifted with inspire-hold and expire-hold for a period of 5 minutes. Lift ventilation data and trunk muscle normalized electromyography (NEMG) (including rectus abdominis, external oblique, latissimus dorsi, and erector spinae) for the final lift were collected for analysis.


The results indicate that the ventilation demand for lifting was not different with or without use of a belt. The prelifting erector spinae NEMG was 8-11% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) lower and the latissimus dorsi NEMG was 15-21% MVC lower than that without belt. This is also the case in the lifting phase. The rectus abdominis NEMG was increased by 4% MVC and the external oblique NEMG was increased by 3-5% MVC while lifting with a belt.


These data do not lead to a statistical effect of lifting belt pressure on ventilatory behavior. It appears that the use of a belt in lifting significantly decreased the back muscular activation yet increased the abdominal muscular activation. Thus, claims of benefits derived from the use of a belt in lifting remain controversial. The simultaneous controls of the air volume held and pressure of the belt during the moment-controlled lifting tasks allowed this presentation of belt effects on trunk muscle NEMG unique from that in most of the literature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center