The PLAD (personal lift assistive device) was designed to reduce the lumbar moment during lifting and bending tasks via elastic elements. This investigation examined the effects of modulating the elastic stiffness. Thirteen men completed 90 lifts (15 kg) using 6 different PLAD stiffnesses in stoop, squat and freestyle lifting postures. The activity of 8 muscles were recorded (latissimus dorsi, thoracic and lumbar erector spinae, rectus abdominis, external oblique, gluteus maximus, biceps femoris and rectus femoris), 3D electromagnetic sensors tracked the motion of each segment and strain gauges measured the elastic tension. EMG data were rectified, filtered, normalized and integrated as a percentage of the lifting task. The highest PLAD tension elicited the greatest reduction in erector spinae activity (mean of thoracic and lumbar) in comparison to the no-PLAD condition for the stoop (37%), squat (38%), and freestyle (37%) lifts, while prompting comparable reductions in gluteus maximums and biceps femoris activity. The highest PLAD stiffness also elicited the greatest reduction in the integrated L4/L5 flexion moment for the stoop (19.0%), squat (18.4%) and freestyle (17.4%) lifts without changing peak lumbar flexion. Each increase in PLAD stiffness further reduced the muscle activity of the posterior chain and the dynamic lumbar moment.