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Isabelle Schöffl, Volker Schöffl, J. Dötsch, H.G. Dörr and J. Jüngert

Over the last years concerns have been raised about the health effects particulary on young climbers due to the observation of short stature with low body weight and body fat in sports climbers. The aim of this study was to investigate anthropometric and hormonal data for climbers of the German Junior national team. 16 climbers were compared with 14—age matched nonclimbers with respect to several anthropometric variables, leptin level, and climbing characteristics. Height, weight and body mass index (BMI) standard deviation scores (SDS) for boys were not significantly different from the controls, whereas girls had significantly lower SDS-values for weight and BMI. In comparison with the control group boys and girls had a lower skinfold thickness. The leptin values were lower than the calculated leptin levels but only reached significance for the girls. The young athletes of the GJNT were neither of short stature nor thin when compared with a physically active control group. The low body fat in boys and girls was within expected limits. The lower leptin levels might be attributed to a decrease in total body fat.

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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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Isabelle Schöffl, Frank Einwag, Wolf Strecker, Friedrich Hennig and Volker Schöffl

Flexor tendon pulley ruptures are the most common injury in rock climbers. Therapeutic standards usually include a prolonged use of taping applied as a replacement for the lost pulley in a circular fashion at the base of the proximal phalanx. Our biomechanical considerations, however, suggest a new taping method, the H-tape. The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether this new taping method can effectively change the course of the flexor tendon and therefore reduce the tendon–bone distance. In order to compare the effects of different taping methods described in the literature with the newly developed taping method, we performed standardized ultrasound examinations of 8 subjects with singular A2 pulley rupture and multiple pulley ruptures of A2 and A3 pulleys and determined the respective tendon–bone distance for the different taping methods, versus without tape at a preset position on the proximal phalanx. In a second approach, we evaluated the effect of the new taping method on the strength of the injured finger using a force platform on 12 subjects with different pulley ruptures with injuries older than 1 year. The new taping method decreased the tendon–bone distance in the injured finger significantly by 16%, whereas the other taping methods did not. The strength development was significantly better with the new tape for the crimp grip position (+13%), but there was no significant improvement for the hanging position. We recommend taping with the newly presented taping technique after pulley rupture.

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Andreas Schweizer and Robert Hudek

The aim was to investigate differences of the kinetics of the crimp and the slope grip used in rock climbing. Nine cadaver fingers were prepared and fixated with the proximal phalanx in a frame. The superficial (FDS) and deep (FDP) flexor tendons were loaded selectively and together with 40 N in the crimp grip (PIP joint flexed 90°/DIP joint hyperextended) and the slope grip position (<25° flexed/50° flexed respectively). Five different grip sizes were tested and the flexion force which was generated to the grip was measured. In the crimp grip the FDP generated more flexion force in small sized holds whereas the FDS generated more force in the larger holds. During the slope grip the FDP was more effective than the FDS. While both tendons were loaded, the flexion force was always greater during crimp grip compared with the slope grip. The FDP seems to be most important for very small holds using the crimp grip but also during slope grip holds whereas the FDS is more important for larger flat holds.

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Nicola Taylor, David Giles, Micha Panáčková, James Mitchell, Joel Chidley and Nick Draper

top rope climbing in low-level beginner climbers. The future application is therefore limited for both research and coaching purposes due to the specific nature of these instruments. This highlights the need for the development of a valid and reliable observational tool to assess sport climbing

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César Rendueles

Sport climbing relies materially on the existence of routes equipped with bolts: vertical itineraries with anchors that allow climbers a safe ascent. Without bolting, sport climbing simply would not exist. In many countries, bolting is an altruistic individual activity that is usually neither organized nor regulated. Sport climbing bolting requires expensive hardware and sophisticated technical skills. However, equippers earn no money or prestige for this effort, which benefits many climbers. This paper develops a sociological approach to rock climbing bolting as a common-pool resource facing a deep crisis. In its early years, bolting was ruled by generalized reciprocity. The popularization of sport climbing quickly changed this framework. A small group of very active equippers has become net providers of public goods without compensation in economic or status terms.

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Edward J. Smith, Ryan Storey and Mayur K. Ranchordas

Bouldering competitions are held up to International level and governed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing. Bouldering has been selected to feature at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, however, physiological qualities and nutritional requirements to optimize performance remain inadequately defined due to large gaps in the literature. The primary goals of training include optimizing the capacity of the anaerobic energy systems and developing sport-specific strength, with emphasis on the isometric function of the forearm flexors responsible for grip. Bouldering athletes typically possess a lean physique, similar to the characteristics of sport climbers with reported body fat values of 6–12%. Athletes strive for a low body weight to improve power to weight ratio and limit the load on the extremities. Specialized nutritional support is uncommon and poor nutritional practices such as chronic carbohydrate restriction are prevalent, compromising the health of the athletes. The high intensity nature of bouldering demands a focus on adequate carbohydrate availability. Protein intake and timing should be structured to maximize muscle protein synthesis and recovery, with the literature suggesting 0.25–0.3 g/kg in 3–4 hr intervals. Supplementing with creatine and b-alanine may provide some benefit by augmenting the capacity of the anaerobic systems. Boulderers are encouraged to seek advice from nutrition experts to enhance performance, particularly important when weight loss is the desired outcome. Further research is warranted across all nutritional aspects of bouldering which is summarized in this review.

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

Climbing has gained in popularity standards, and Olympic recognition, but not the scientific attention that other sports have received. As a sport, climbing takes many forms. For recreational, competitive, and exercise training purposes, sport climbing has evolved as the widest reaching