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Purpose: To examine the validity and reliability of a battery of 10 measures designed to assess the key physiological parameters for successful rock climbing performance. Methods: In phase 1 of the research, an expert panel, using the Delphi method, established a 10-item test battery based on the key determinants of climbing performance. In phase 2, the tests were assessed for validity and reliability to examine their suitability as sport-specific measures of rock climbing performance. A total of 132 rock climbers, from 7 countries, volunteered to take part in the study. Each climber visited their nearest laboratory on 3 separate occasions in order to enable the required tests and retests to be completed. A minimum of 7 days was allowed between visits. Results: The 10 tests established for phase 2 were designed as sport-specific measures of flexibility, strength, power, and endurance. Results indicated that, while reliable, the flexibility and strength tests were only partially successful in differentiating across climber abilities. The power and endurance tests, however, performed well with regard to validity and reliability, with the finger hang and powerslap tests being most strongly correlated with performance ability (P < .0005 to P < .002). Conclusion: The authors’ data suggest that climbing may require a threshold level of flexibility and strength for successful performance, beyond which further improvements may not be required. In contrast, the finger hang and powerslap tests were not only reliable measures but also differentiated between climber abilities from lower grade to elite levels.

Draper is with the School of Health Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Giles is with Research and Product Development, Lattice Training, United Kingdom. Taylor is with the Human Sciences Research Centre, University of Derby, Derby, United Kingdom. Vigouroux and Josseron are with Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, ISM UMR 7287, Marseille, France. España-Romero and Cabeza de Vaca are with the Dept of Physical Education, School of Education, University of Cadiz, Puerto Real, Spain. Baláš and Kodejška are with the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Solar Altamirano is with the High Performance Center, National Inst of Sport, Ministry of Sport, Santiago, Chile. Mally and Beeretz are with Competence Center Sports Engineering, Biomechanics & Ergonomics, University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien, Vienna, Austria. Couceiro Canalejo is with the Physiology of Exercise Research Group, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain. Arias Téllez is with the Dept of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile, and PROFITH, the “PROmoting FITness and Health through physical activity” Research Group, Dept of Physical and Sports Education, Faculty of Sports Science, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.

Draper (nick.draper@canterbury.ac.nz) is corresponding author.

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