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Determinants Of Climbing Performance In High-level Sport Climbers


Board #230 June 4 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

España Romero, Vanesa1; Ortega, Francisco B.1; Artero, Enrique G.1; Jiménez-Pavón, David2; Gutierrez, Angel1; Castillo, Manuel J.1; Ruiz, Jonatan R.3

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2010 - Volume 42 - Issue 5 - p 782
doi: 10.1249/
F-35 Free Communication/Poster - Sports Science: JUNE 4, 2010 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM: ROOM: Hall C

1EFFECTS 262 Research Group, University of Granada, Granada, Spain. 2Technical University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain. 3Unit for Preventive Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


(No disclosure reported)

PURPOSE: To study which physiological and kinanthropometric characteristics determine climbing performance in high-level sport climbers.

METHODS: Sixteen high-level sports climbers aged 29.9 ± 4.9 years participated in this study. Years of climbing experience, climbing days per week, and onsight climbing ability were assessed. Body composition parameters were measured with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scanner. Arm, hand and finger lengths were measured in both hands. We also measured physical fitness parameters such as aerobic capacity, upper body and lower body muscular strength and flexibility. Aerobic capacity was measured by means of a sport climbing specific test on a vertical climbing ergometer. The sex-specific 75th percentile value of onsight climbing ability was used to divide the sample into expert (<75th) and elite (≥75th) climbers. All the analyses were adjusted by sex.

RESULTS: The 75th percentile value of onsight climbing ability was 7b in women and 8b in men. There were no differences between expert and elite climbers in any of the studied variables, except in climbing time to exhaustion and bone mineral density. Elite climbers had a significantly higher time to exhaustion than the expert group (770.2 ± 385 vs. 407.7 ± 150 s, respectively, P = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: the results of this study suggest that the high-level sport climbers, body composition and physiological characteristics are homogenous. Moreover, we observed that among the physiological and kinanthropometric characteristics analysed in this study, climbing time to exhaustion was the major determinant factor of climbing performance amongst elite sport climbers. Our findings may help to better prescribe training programmes in sport climbing.

Key words: Sport climbing, high level performance, climbing time to exhaustion

© 2010 American College of Sports Medicine