Analysis of Novice and Experienced Rice Farmer Grip Force and Arm Muscle Activity in a Plowing Task
Authors: Manida Swangnetr, David Kaber
Abstract: A previous study observed significant differences in rice farmer exertion and fatigue potential based on levels of expertise in field plowing. The present study sought to identify arm and hand movement strategies of experienced farmers for reducing fatigue and minimizing injury potential. Twenty experienced farmers (>= 2 years of experience) and 10 novices were asked to perform eight replications of a simulated plowing task using a high-fidelity apparatus. Grip force and arm muscle activity levels were collected for the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS), extensor digitorum (ED) and triceps. Comparisons were made on the fatigue rate of response measures and effectiveness of muscle use between experienced and novice participants. Results revealed experienced farmers to generate higher grip force and lower fatigue rates with the FDS muscle, as well as more effective use of ED muscles (higher grip/activity), as compared to novices. Experienced farmer strategy also involved balanced activity levels for agonist (FDS) and antagonist (ED) muscles. Novices were found to largely use ED muscles to generate grip force. Imbalance in agonist and antagonist muscles activity could lead to rough movement patterns and increased risk of muscle overuse. These findings may be useful for developing training for farmers to achieve effective muscle use and minimize risk of arm and hand injuries.
Keywords: Rice Cultivation, Expert-Novice Difference, Arm Muscle Efficiency, Muscle Fatigue
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