Biomechanical response of the musculoskeletal system to whole body vibration using a seated driver model

Wenhao Li, Ming Zhang, Guomin Lv, Qingyu Han, Yuanjin Gao, Yan Wang, Qitao Tan, Manyu Zhang, Yixun Zhang, Zengyong Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to assess the effects of backrest inclination and vibration frequency on muscle activity in a dynamic environment using a musculoskeletal model. Method: The muscle activity modeling method was used to analyze a full body musculoskeletal system of a seated person with a public domain rigid body model in an adjustable car seat. This model was established using AnyBody Modeling System, based on the inverse dynamic approach. And the min/max criterion in dealing with the muscle redundancy problem. Ten healthy subjects were exposed to whole body vibration (WBV) with five frequencies (3, 4.5, 6, 7, and 8Hz) in the vertical direction in a randomized order on three separate days. The displacement of the seat-pan and head was measured using a hybrid Polaris spectra system to obtain the seat-to-head (STH) transmissibility. Muscle oxygenation was measured using near-infrared spectroscopy. The validity of the model was tested using STH transmissibility and muscle oxygenation. Results: Increased vibration frequency caused high muscle activities of the abdomen and the right leg with a backrest forward inclination angle. The muscle activities of the left leg decreased at a backrest backward inclination except at inclination angles of 15° and 30°. Muscle activity of the lumbar suddenly increased at a backrest inclination angle of 5° and vibration frequency of 5Hz. Muscle activities were higher under vibration than that without vibration. Conclusion: Vibration frequency significantly affected the muscle activity of the lumbar area. Likewise, the inclination degree of the backrest significantly affected the muscle activities of the right leg and the abdomen. The combination of vibration and forward inclination of the backrest can be used to maximize the muscle activity of the leg, similar to the abdomen and lumbar muscles. Relevance to the industry: The musculoskeletal model established in the present study provides a method that can be used to investigate the biomechanical response of seated drivers to WBV. This model helps protect drivers from occupational injury.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-97
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • AnyBody Modeling System
  • Backrest inclination
  • Musculoskeletal model
  • Vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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