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Progressive isoinertial lifting evaluation (PILE)

This is an excerpt from Functional Testing in Human Performance by Michael Reiman & Robert Manske.

  • Purpose: To assess the client’s ability to perform repetitive lifting as quickly as possible. This assessment could help the clinician determine a client’s readiness to return to any task requiring repetitive lifting.
  • Equipment: Box to be lifted, 75 cm high table, weights of various proportions.

Procedure (Smeets et al. 2006)

1. Position the client directly in front of the box to be lifted.

2. Remind the client of proper posture and lifting mechanics prior to performance of the test.

3. Instruct the client to lift the box containing a weight four times within 20 s from the floor up to the 75 cm high table.

4. Record the number of fully completed lifting stages.

Analysis and Interpretation of Data

  • In the original study the starting weight (including weight of box) was 3.6 kg (7.9 lb) for women and 5.85 kg (12.9 lb) for men. After each completed lifting cycle, the weight was increased by 2.25 kg (5 lb) for women and by 4.5 kg (10 lb) for men.
  • Testing was completed when the client could not lift the box four times within 20 s, the client decided to stop because of fatigue or pain, the heart rate exceeded 85% of the maximal heart rate, the maximal amount of weight that could safely be lifted was reached (60% of body weight), or the clinician determined that the lifting was unsafe.
  • Mean (SD) = 4.10 (2.61) to 4.27 (2.80) lifting stages; n = 50 patients with more than three months existing disability due to nonspecific LBP with a mean age of 43.19 ± 9.27 years, 25 of whom were male.


ICC (1,1) = 0.92 (0.87-0.96).

This is an excerpt from Functional Testing in Human Performance.