The influence of cycle time on shoulder fatigue responses for a fixed total overhead workload

Clark R. Dickerson, Joseph E Langenderfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The relationship between overhead work and musculoskeletal health depends on multiple task and individual factors. Knowledge gaps persist, despite examination of many of these factors individually and in combination. This investigation targeted task variation, as parameterized by cycle time within a fixed overall workload. Participants performed an intermittent overhead pressing task with four different cycle time conditions while overall workload and duty cycle was held constant. Several manifestations of fatigue were monitored during task performance. Endurance time was influenced by cycle time with shorter cycle times having endurance times up to 25% higher than longer cycle times. Surface electromyography (sEMG) results were mixed, with two muscles demonstrating amplitude increases (middle deltoid and upper trapezius) that varied with cycle time. sEMG frequency was not influenced by cycle time for any muscle monitored, despite decreases for several cycle times. Trends existed for the influence of cycle time on time-varying reported discomfort (p=0.056) and static strength (p=0.055); large effect sizes were present (ηp2=0.31 and 0.27, respectively). The equivocal association of fatigue indicators and cycle time is analogous to the influence of other factors implicated in overhead work musculoskeletal risk, and probabilistic modeling offers a compelling avenue for integration of the known variation in the many factors that combine to inform this risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2911-2918
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2015


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