Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
F19m Free Communication/Poster Characteristics of Athletes
1University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky
(Sponsor: Ann Swan, FACSM)
Sport rock climbing has experienced a recent surge in popularity among teenagers due to TV exposure and the emergence of indoor climbing gyms. Despite the increase in popularity, limited data is available describing the physiological characteristics of teenage climbers. The purpose of this study was to compare the physiological profiles of male and female teenage sport rock climbers with similar experience. 12 subjects (M = 6, F = 6) were recuited for assessment from a high school climbing league consisting of nine teams. Results: M+/−(SD) in males: Age(yrs) 17.3(0.8), Ht 176.7(3.5), Wt(kg) 63.8(3.7), %BF 7.4(2.0), LBM(kg) 59.0(2.6), WS(cm) 184.2(5.4), AI(cm) 7.5(4.3), SF(cm) 58.4(19.1), RGS(kg) 42.8(4.1), Pull-Ups 10.2(3.6), VJ(cm) 50.5(9.4), PPO(w) 685.7(77.0), MPO(w) 522.0(64.1), %Decline 45.0(7.6), PPO(w/kg) 10.1(1.3), PPO(w/kgLBM) 11.7(1.0), LGS(kg) 41.5(4.0). Results: M+/−(SD) in females: Age 17.0(0.9), Ht 161.6(3.4)***, Wt(kg) 54.9(3.6)**, %BF 20.9(2.6)***, LBM(kg) 40.1(9.3)***, WS(cm) 165.2(6.2)***, AI(cm) 3.3(4.8)***, SF(cm) 50.8(18.3), RGS (kg) 27.3(5.4)***, Pull-ups 3.0(4.4)*, VJ (cm) 32.8(4.3)**, PPO(w) 463.8(59.0)***, MPO(w) 364.3(27.7)***, %Decline 38.0(5.7), PPO(w/kg) 8.3(1.0)*, PPO(w/lgLBM) 10.7(1.4), LGS(kg) 25.3 (5.6)***. (*p<0.05,**p<0.001, males different than females; LBM = lean body mass, WS = wingspan, AI = ape index, SF = shoulder flexibility, RGS = right grip strength, LGS = left GS, VJ = vertical jump, PPO = peak power output in watts, MPO = mean PO in watts). Males had significantly greater body mass, LBM, VJ, pull-ups and grip strength, and lower %BF than females. Males had significantly greater peak and mean absolute power outputs than females; but when corrected for LBM, there was no difference in power output. There was no significant difference in % decline in power between males and females.
Even with similar climbing experience, on average the males placed higher in the final climbing league standings (14th vs. 28th, respectively out of 82 total participants), while climbing identical routes. This may be explained by the higher %BF, and lower grip strength, height, ape index, and power output of the female climbers.