Deliberate Practice and Motor Learning Principles to Underpin the Design of Training Interventions for Improving Lifting Movement in the Occupational Sector: A Perspective and a Pilot Study on the Role of Augmented Feedback

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Spine posture during repetitive lifting is one of the main risk factors for low-back injuries in the occupational sector. It is thus critical to design appropriate intervention strategies for training workers to improve their posture, reducing load on the spine during lifting. The main approach to train safe lifting to workers has been educational; however, systematic reviews and meta-analyses have shown that this approach does not improve lifting movement nor reduces the risk of low back injury. One of the main limitations of this approach lies in the amount, quality and context of practice of the lifting movement. In this article, first we argue for integrating psychologically-grounded perspectives of practice design in the development of training interventions for safe lifting. Principles from deliberate practice and motor learning are combined and integrated. Given the complexity of lifting, a training intervention should occur in the workplace and invite workers to repeatedly practice/perform the lifting movement with the clear goal of improving their lifting-related body posture. Augmented feedback has a central role in creating the suitable condition for achieving such intervention. Second, we focus on spine bending as risk factor and present a pilot study examining the benefits and boundary conditions of different feedback modalities for reducing bending during lifting. The results showed how feedback modalities meet differently key requirements of deliberate practice conditions, i.e., feedback has to be informative, individualized and actionable. Following the proposed approach, psychology will gain an active role in the development of training interventions, contributing to finding solutions for a reduction of risk factors for workers.


Original languageEnglish
Article number746142
JournalFrontiers in Sports and Active Living
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2021

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0002-4280-6534/work/127535397
ORCID /0000-0002-3496-441X/work/142232467