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Effects of Rock Climbing Route Ascent and Route Familiarity on Handgrip and Finger-Curl Force: 3246Board #209 June 4 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Ostrowski, Megan L.; Espana-Romero, Vanesa; Jensen, Randall L. FACSM; Sanchez, Xavier; Szekely, Jay E.; Watts, Phillip B. FACSM

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2011 - Volume 43 - Issue 5 - p 944
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000402638.10949.0c
G-43 Free Communication/Poster - Sport Science: JUNE 4, 2011 7:30 AM - 11:00 AM: ROOM: Hall B
Free

1Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI. 2University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands.

(No relationships reported)

Rock climbing places significant stress on relatively small muscles that control finger position. Climbers perceive fatigue as a primary cause of falls.

PURPOSE: This study observed changes in hand and finger force with ascent of a set climbing route. The effect of route familiarity on changes in hand and finger forces was also investigated.

METHODS: Nine experienced rock climbers completed nine ascents, one week apart, of a designed route on an indoor climbing wall. The route involved a horizontal traverse of 6.5 m followed by a vertical ascent of 6.8 m over 100-deg terrain. Prior to (Pre) and immediately following (Post) each ascent, maximum handgrip force (HG) and maximum finger curl force (FF) were recorded. HG was measured via dynamometer for each hand as the best of 2 trials. FF was measured as force applied to a piezoelectric force sensor by the distal digits of four fingers. Force was applied for a 3-sec maximal contraction and recorded as the best of 2 trials for each hand. Data were expressed as the sum and average of right and left hand scores. Paired t-tests were used to test for differences between Pre and Post for Ascents 3, 6 and 9. Differences in the Post minus Pre changes across ascents were analyzed by one-way ANOVA with repeated measures.

RESULTS: Mean (±s.d.) HG and FF data for Ascents 3, 6 and 9 are presented in Table 1. There were no significant differences between Pre and Post for any variable for any Ascent. The Post minus Pre changes for each variable were not significantly different across Ascents.

CONCLUSIONS: A single ascent of a difficult climbing route does not produce significant fatigue in hand and finger strength. Furthermore, familiarity of a climbing route does not impact the degree of hand and finger fatigue experienced.

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© 2011 American College of Sports Medicine