Background: Occupational low back disorders are often associated with exposure to work-related physical risk factors such as muscle fatigue in the low back.
Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the possible relationship between the divergence of the kinematic trajectories of the low back system and the different stages of fatigue during the execution of a repetitive lifting task.
Methods: The patterns of the low back system were recorded using markers on specific vertebras during the repetitive load lifting from the floor to a 0.75 m height table. The maximum Lyapunov exponent, λmax of the recorded patterns was calculated from the x and y coordinates of the lower back markers using the algorithm proposed by Wolf.
Results: The results of the λmax values determined three different sections of muscle fatigue which were also in agreement with the Borg’s clinical scale of perceived fatigue results. The assessment of the λmax values between the three different sections showed a descriptive point where the muscle fatigue accumulation may have resulted in a change of the low back control.
Conclusion: Lyapunov exponent methodology could be a reliable methodology for ergonomists to provide an index to design the work/rest ratio ergonomically.