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Robert MacKenzie, Linda Monaghan, Robert A Masson, Alice K Werner, Tansinee S Caprez, Lynsey Johnston and Ole J Kemi

Purpose:

Rock climbing performance relies on many characteristics. Here, we identified the physical and physiologic determinants of peak performance in rock climbing across the range from lower-grade to elite.

Methods:

44 male and 33 female climbers with onsight maximal climbing grades 5a-8a and 5a-7b+, respectively, were tested for physical, physiologic and psychologic characteristics (independent variables) that were correlated and modelled by multiple regression and principal component analysis to identify the determinants of rock climbing ability.

Results:

In males, 23 of 47 variables correlated with climbing ability (p<0.05, Pearson’s correlation coefficients 0.773-0.340), including shoulder endurance, hand and finger strength, shoulder power-endurance, hip flexibility, lower-arm grip strength, shoulder power, upper-arm strength, core-body endurance, upper-body aerobic endurance, hamstrings and lower-back flexibility, aerobic endurance, and open-hand finger strength. In females, 10 of 47 variables correlated with climbing ability (p<0.05, Pearson’s correlation coefficients 0.742-0.482): shoulder endurance and power, lower-arm grip strength, balance, aerobic endurance, and arm span. Principal component analysis and univariate multiple regression identified the main explanatory variables. In both sexes, shoulder power and endurance measured as maximum pull-ups, average arm crank power, and bent-arm hang, emerged as the main determinants (p<0.01; adjusted R 2=0.77 in males and 0.62 in females). In males, finger pincer (p=0.07) and grip strength also had trends (p=0.09) toward significant effects. Finally, in test-of-principle training studies, we trained to increase main determinants 42-67%; this improved climbing ability 2-3 grades.

Conclusions:

Shoulder power and endurance majorly determines maximal climbing. Finger, hand and arm strength, core-body endurance, aerobic endurance, flexibility and balance are important secondary determinants.

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David Giles, Joel B. Chidley, Nicola Taylor, Ollie Torr, Josh Hadley, Tom Randall and Simon Fryer

Rock climbing requires repeated isometric contractions of the finger flexors, which are responsible for flexion of the metacarpophalangeal and interphalangeal joints. 1 These contractions cause regular periods of ischemia in the forearms; the extent of this ischemia and the subsequent recovery

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Jan Kodejška, Jiří Baláš and Nick Draper

Cold water immersion (CWI) is included as a recovery protocol for many sports. 1 Positive effects of CWI have been observed after endurance exercise to failure such as for cycling, 2 running, 3 or rock climbing, 4 , 5 however, other research has not supported this finding. 1 Consequently

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David Giles, Vanesa España Romero, Inmaculada Garrido, Alejandro de la O Puerta, Keeron Stone and Simon Fryer

Purpose:

To examine differences in oxygenation kinetics in the nondominant and dominant flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) of rock climbers.

Methods:

Participants were 28 sport climbers with a range of on-site abilities (6a+ to 8a French Sport). Using near-infrared spectroscopy, oxygenation kinetics of the FDP was assessed by calculating the time to half recovery (t 1/2 recovery) of the tissue-saturation index (TSI) after 3–5 min of ischemia.

Results:

A 2-way mixed-model ANOVA found a nonsignificant interaction (P = .112) for TSI by sex. However, there was a significant main effect (P = .027) of handedness (dominant vs nondominant FDP). The dominant forearm recovered 13.6% faster (t 1/2 recovery mean difference = 1.12 s, 95% CI 0.13–2.10 s) than the nondominant FDP. This was not affected by 6-mo on-site climbing ability or sex (P = .839, P = .683).

Conclusions:

Significant intraindividual differences in oxygenation kinetics of the FDP were found. Improvements in oxygenation kinetics in the FDP are likely due to the abilities of the muscle to deliver, perfuse, and consume oxygen. These enhancements may be due to structural adaptations in the microvasculature, such as an increase in capillary density and enhanced improvement in capillary filtration.

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Michail Lubomirov Michailov, Audry Morrison, Mano Mitkov Ketenliev and Boyanka Petkova Pentcheva

Traditional treadmill or bicycle ergometry neglects the upper-body musculature that predominantly limits or terminates rock-climbing performance (ie, the inability to continually pull up one’s body mass or “hang on”).

Purpose:

To develop an incremental maximal upper-body ergometer test (UBT) to evaluate climbers’ aerobic fitness and sport-specific work capacity and to compare these results with a traditional treadmill protocol.

Methods:

Eleven elite sport climbers (best redpoint grade Fr.8b) performed a UBT on a vertically mounted rowing ergometer and, on a separate occasion, performed a maximal incremental treadmill test (TMT). Cardiorespiratory parameters were measured continuously. Lactate (La) samples were collected.

Results:

Peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) and heart rate in UBT and TMT were 34.1 ± 4.1 vs 58.3 ± 2.6 mL · min−1 · kg−1 and 185 ± 8 vs 197 ± 8 beats/min, respectively, and both variables were of significantly lower magnitude during UBT (P < .001). End-of-test La levels for UBT (11.9 ± 1.7 mmol/L) and TMT (12.3 ± 2.5 mmol/L) were similar (P = .554). Treadmill VO2peak was not correlated with either upper-body (UB) VO2peak (P = .854) or redpoint and on-sight climbing grade ability (P > .05). UB VO2peak and peak power output per kg body mass were both strongly correlated (P < .05) with climbing grade ability. The highest correlation coefficient was calculated between current on-sight grade and UB VO2peak (r = .85, P = .001).

Conclusion:

UBT aerobic- and work-capacity results were strongly correlated to climbing-performance variables and reflected sport-specific fatigue, and TMT results were not. UBT is preferred to TMT to test and monitor dedicated and elite rock climbers’ training status.

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Blair Crewther, Konrad Witek, Paweł Draga, Piotr Zmijewski and Zbigniew Obmiński

supplementation on serum T, calculated free T [cFT], and other biomarkers of the HPG-axis (i.e., LH, sex-hormone binding goblin [SHBG]) in male climbers. Rock climbing can activate the HPG-axis ( Sherk et al., 2011 ), and thus it may present one pathway for training adaptation in this sport. A standard protocol

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Elizabeth J. Durden-Myers, Nigel R. Green and Margaret E. Whitehead

of fluency needs attention in all patterns, but is particularly important in some dance genres. The complex capacity of hand-eye coordination is key in many patterns in a range of contexts, such as ball games and rock climbing. Movement patterns and movement capacities are codependent. These

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Nicholas Stanger, Ryan Chettle, Jessica Whittle and Jamie Poolton

Sciences, 21 , 443 – 457 . PubMed doi:10.1080/0264041031000101809 10.1080/0264041031000101809 Young , P.R. ( 2012 ). The effect of attentional interference on a rock climbing task: A pilot study . Pamukkale Journal of Sport Sciences, 3 , 10 – 19 .