The study of lumbar muscle force distribution in response to externally applied loads is based on the introduction of biomechanical models of the lumbar region. The evaluation of such models requires the execution of loading exercises while monitoring the EMG activity of certain lumbar muscles. This work uses muscle activity maps as the major design tool of such exercises, provided that the subject is constrained to an upright erect posture. The maps describe the predicted muscle force for a given combination of externally applied bending moments. A series of shoulder adduction exercises were designed and the EMG signals of eight lumbar muscles were measured while subjects performed the exercises. The results show good agreement between the model predictions and the EMG measurements, especially when the load and the muscle were contralateral to one another.

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