Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How high can a rock climber go?

Date:
January 11, 2010
Source:
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Summary:
The maximum time an athlete is able to continue climbing to exhaustion may be the only determinant of his/her performance. Until now, performance indicators for climbing have been low body fat percentage and grip strength. Now, a new study carried out with 16 high-level climbers breaks with this approach and reveals that the time it takes for an athlete to become exhausted is the only indicator of his/her performance.

There are two forms of climbing: the sport (left) and classical (right).
Credit: SINC / Col. John Corcuera (left) and Romero et al (right).

The maximum time an athlete is able to continue climbing to exhaustion may be the only determinant of his/her performance. A new European study, led by researchers from the University of Granada, the objective of which is to help trainers and climbers design training programmes for this type of sport, shows this to be the case.

Until now, performance indicators for climbing have been low body fat percentage and grip strength. Furthermore, existing research was based on the comparison of amateur and expert climbers. Now, a new study carried out with 16 high-level climbers breaks with this approach and reveals that the time it takes for an athlete to become exhausted is the only indicator of his/her performance.

Vanesa Espaρa Romero was the first author of the work and is a researcher at the University of Granada.

The study, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, analyses the physiological parameters that determine performance in this sport at its highest level. The participants, eight women with an average rating of 7a (the scale of difficulty of a climbing route is graded from 5 to 9, with sub-grades of a, b and c) and eight men with an average rating of 8a, were divided into an "expert group" and an "elite group."

The researchers assessed the climbers with body composition tests (weight, height, body mass index, body fat %, bone mineral density, and bone mineral content), kinanthropometry (length of arms, hands and fingers, bone mineral density and bone mineral content of the forearm), and physical fitness tests (flexibility, strength of the upper and lower body and aerobic capacity measured at a climbing centre).

The results show there to be no significant differences between expert and elite climbers in any of the tests performed, except in climbing time to exhaustion and in bone mineral density, both of which were higher in the elite group. "Therefore, the maximum climbing time to exhaustion of an athlete is the sole determinant of performance," the researcher confirms.

A demanding and vertical practice

Sport climbing began as a form of traditional climbing in the mid 80s, and is now a sport in its own right. The International Federation of Sport Climbing is currently requesting its inclusion as an Olympic sport.

The increase in the number of climbers and the proliferation of climbing centres and competitions have contributed to its interest in recent years, although there is limited scientific literature on climbing effort.

The most important research relates to energy consumption (ergospirometry, heart rate and lactic acid blood concentrations), the designation of maximum strength and local muscular resistance of climbers (dynamometry and electromyography), and to establishing anthropometric characteristics.

According to experts, a fundamental characteristic of sport climbing is its "vertical dimension," making it unique given its postural organisation in space, and from a physiological point of view, the effect a gravitational load has on movements.

In short, to complete a climb successfully, athletes should maintain their effort for as long as possible to improve their chances of reaching the ultimate goal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Espaρa-Romero et al. Climbing time to exhaustion is a determinant of climbing performance in high-level sport climbers. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 2009; 107 (5): 517 DOI: 10.1007/s00421-009-1155-x

Cite This Page:

FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "How high can a rock climber go?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100108101427.htm>.
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. (2010, January 11). How high can a rock climber go?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100108101427.htm
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "How high can a rock climber go?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100108101427.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Nancy Writebol, an American missionary who contracted Ebola, is apparently getting better, according to her husband. The outbreak, however, is not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins