Power and flexibility training for the back with trainees in order to prevent spinal damage and injuries - Model plan in the coal mining industry

Project No. FFFF 0122


completed 10/1996


The incorporation in the occupational illness list of spinal complaints caused by lifting and carrying requires new, effective, preventive approaches; spinal training and exercises do not meet this requirement. Goal: prevention of spinal complaints from carrying/lifting.


Testing the hypothesis at a restricted period of flexibility and muscle training in connection with the correct procedures for lifting and carrying can achieve effective and lasting prevention; development of training methods and programmes, test procedures (in particular for comparative assessment of muscle power, movement behaviour and posture), standardised protocols and interviews; systematic muscle training with 70 students (5 groups of 14) with the help of equipment (methods of repeated sub-maximum applications of force) in 30 to 60 minute units in three months; instructions concerning the "correct" lifting and carrying procedures at specific work places; occupational medical, orthopaedic (including NMR-CT), physiotherapy and physical education examinations prior to, during and directly after as well as six months after training; interdisciplinary scientific assessment and evaluation of results (also in comparison with a non-trained control group)


Highly significant increase in muscle power (e.g. 48 % for trunk flexion at the end of training); extremely differentiated conservation of the training results after six months without safeguarded explanation models; initially over 50 % of all experimentees used a trunk lifting technique which was damaging to the spine, after training this was only 10 %: significant improvement in posture; conclusions: occupational load-strain is not appropriate for inducing or conserving increase in muscle power; measures to increase muscle power remain ineffective without accompanying development of continual problem awareness and co-ordination ability (posture, movement); power flexibility training with posture/movement instruction should be integrated into training plans/occupational training.

Last Update:

2 Aug 2000


Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Fakultät für Sportwissenschaften der Universität Bochum
  • Abteilung für Ergonomie der Ruhrkohle AG
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliche Krankenanstalten Bergmannsheil Bochum
  • Institut für Arbeitsphysiologie Dortmund

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

handling of loads


Heben und Tragen von Lasten, Prävention, Gesundheitsförderung

Description, key words:

Carefully directed power training together with behavioural prevention in the framework of occupational training is practical and effective as a measure to prevent spinal complaints