ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

This study is a contribution to the discussion about the structure of performance of sport rock climbers. Because of the complex and multifaceted nature of this sport, multivariate statistics were applied in the study. The subjects included thirty experienced sport climbers. Forty three variables were scrutinised, namely somatic characteristics, specific physical fitness, coordination abilities, aerobic and anaerobic power, technical and tactical skills, mental characteristics, as well as 2 variables describing the climber's performance in the OS (Max OS) and RP style (Max RP). The results show that for training effectiveness of advanced climbers to be thoroughly analysed and examined, tests assessing their physical, technical and mental characteristics are necessary. The three sets of variables used in this study explained the structure of performance similarly, but not identically (in 38, 33 and 25%, respectively). They were also complementary to around 30% of the variance. The overall performance capacity of a sport rock climber (Max OS and Max RP) was also evaluated in the study. The canonical weights of the dominant first canonical root were 0.554 and 0.512 for Max OS and Max RP, respectively. Despite the differences between the two styles of climbing, seven variables - the maximal relative strength of the fingers (canonical weight = 0.490), mental endurance (one of scales : The Formal Characteristics of Behaviour-Temperament Inventory (FCB-TI; Strelau and Zawadzki, 1995)) (-0.410), climbing technique (0.370), isometric endurance of the fingers (0.340), the number of errors in the complex reaction time test (-0.319), the ape index (-0.319) and oxygen uptake during arm work at the anaerobic threshold (0.254) were found to explain 77% of performance capacity common to the two styles.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Journal of Human Kinetics volume 36/2013, 107-117 DOI:10.2478/hukin-2013-0011 107
Section III – Sports Training
1 - Academy of Physical Education, Department of Tourism and Sport Management, Katowice, Poland.
2 - Academy of Physical Education, Department of Sports Theory, Katowice, Poland.
3 - Department of Physiotherapy, University of Technology, Opole, Poland.
.
Authors submitted their contribution of the article to the editorial board.
Accepted for printing in Journal of Human Kinetics vol. 35/2013 on March 2013.
The Structure of Performance of a Sport Rock Climber
by
Artur Magiera1, Robert Roczniok2, Adam Maszczyk2, Miłosz Czuba2,
Joanna Kantyka1, Piotr Kurek3
This study is a contribution to the discussion about the structure of performance of sport rock climbers. Because
of the complex and multifaceted nature of this sport, multivariate statistics were applied in the study. The subjects
included thirty experienced sport climbers. Forty three variables were scrutinised, namely somatic characteristics,
specific physical fitness, coordination abilities, aerobic and anaerobic power, technical and tactical skills, mental
characteristics, as well as 2 variables describing the climber’s performance in the OS (Max OS) and RP style (Max RP).
The results show that for training effectiveness of advanced climbers to be thoroughly analysed and examined, tests
assessing their physical, technical and mental characteristics are necessary. The three sets of variables used in this study
explained the structure of performance similarly, but not identically (in 38, 33 and 25%, respectively). They were also
complementary to around 30% of the variance. The overall performance capacity of a sport rock climber (Max OS and
Max RP) was also evaluated in the study. The canonical weights of the dominant first canonical root were 0.554 and
0.512 for Max OS and Max RP, respectively. Despite the differences between the two styles of climbing, seven variables
– the maximal relative strength of the fingers (canonical weight = 0.490), mental endurance (one of scales : The Formal
Characteristics of Behaviour–Temperament Inventory (FCB–TI; Strelau and Zawadzki, 1995)) (-0.410), climbing
technique (0.370), isometric endurance of the fingers (0.340), the number of errors in the complex reaction time test (-
0.319), the ape index (-0.319) and oxygen uptake during arm work at the anaerobic threshold (0.254) were found to
explain 77% of performance capacity common to the two styles.
Key words: sport climbing, canonical analysis, structure of performance.
Introduction
Researchers have been attracted to rock
climbing since late 1970s, partly because of its
increasing popularity and also due to the rising
interest in making it one of the Olympic sport
disciplines. Recently, research has concentrated
on sport climbing where climbers are protected
against falling from a height by permanent
protection points installed along climbing routes.
At present, these precautions are typical of events
involving artificial climbing walls, as well as
being frequently used during outdoor climbing
events, mostly on rocks rising several tens of
meters high.
The performance of sport rock climbers is
judged by their ability to complete a route
presenting a certain level (grade) of technical
difficulty in one of three climbing styles. The most
popular styles are defined based on whether
climbers set out to complete a route without any
previous knowledge of it (on sight – OS), or
whether they successfully reach the endpoint
without falling off after gaining some experience
of the route during earlier trials (red point – RP).
108 The Structure of Performance of a Sport Rock Climber
Journal of Human Kinetics volume 36/2013 http://www.johk.pl
Although the number of studies dealing
with this sport has grown, the results are
conflicting (Espana-Romero, 2009; Giles et al.,
2006; Watts, 2004), probably because of the
complex and multifaceted nature of climbing.
These circumstances provided grounds for
attempting to identify the structure of climber’s
performance by means of canonical analysis, a
tool of multivariate statistics.
Previous studies on sport climbing
(Mermier et al., 2000; Giles et al., 2006) used
regression analysis to find correlations between
one dependent variable Y and a set of
independent variables {X1,…Xn}. This approach
has been found insufficient, though, when the
object of analysis is a set of dependent variables
{Y1,…Yn}. The canonical analysis is used in such
cases and it seeks correlations between two sets
(vectors) of variables. Basically, canonical analysis
aims:
to find uncorrelated canonical variables that
explain an increasingly large amount of
variance in two sets,
to calculate canonical weights describing each
variable’s „pure” contribution to the canonical
variable,
to calculate factor loadings that determine each
variable’s correlation with the canonical
variable,
to calculate the extracted variance and then
redundancy showing the average amount of
variance in one data set that the canonical
variable explains through the variables of the
second set.
Although used as a means of studying
other sport disciplines (Babić et al., 2007; Blažević,
2009; Malacko, 2010), canonical analysis has never
been applied to explore the structure of
performance in sport rock climbing. In this study,
it was chosen to answer the following research
questions:
which variables explain the climber’s
performance in sport rock climbing to the
highest degree, regardless of the climbing
style?
how do the sets of various mental, technical
and physical characteristics affect two
dependent variables: best performance in the
OS style and best performance in the RP style?
how are the vectors of the three sets of
characteristics correlated?
Material and Methods
Thirty Polish advanced male climbers
(average performance in the OS style: 7b+ (7a -
8a); average performance in the RP style: 8a (7b+ -
8b+/8c) volunteered to participate in this study.
This group was analysed previously in research of
Magiera and Rygula (2007). Their age was 27 ±
5.45 years, the climbing experience 8.4 ± 3.46 years
and the weekly training time 10 ± 3.59 hours. The
methods for data collection were direct
observation. Physiological, motor and
psychological tests were carried out under
standard conditions. Most of the tests were
dedicated to sport climbing, climber’s experience
and age.
The variables included 45 somatic and
mental characteristics, specific physical fitness,
coordination abilities, aerobic and anaerobic
power, technical and tactical skills. Self-reported
onsight (Max OS) and redpiont (Max RP) climbing
performance were determined as the most
difficult. To ensure that the route grading systems
were comparable and to make them useful for
mathematical analyses, a decimal scale
(Köstermeyer, 2000) and a conversion table were
used. The description of measuring instruments
has been omitted. Their detailed description can
be found in the study of Magiera (2006).
The first step in the subsequent statistical
analysis was the calculation of basic statistical
measures, such as an arithmetic average (X),
standard deviation (S), coefficient of variation (V),
coefficient of asymmetry (As), and coefficient of
kurtosis (Ku-3) (Table 1). Further mathematical
and statistical analysis utilised a multivariate
exploration technique – canonical analysis. The
statistically significant correlations between two
different sets of variables were sought using: λ
significance of the square of canonical correlation,
Rc – the canonical correlation value, Rc2 – the
values of the squares of canonical correlations, χ2-
chi-square values of Bartlett’s test, and p –
statistical significance at < 0.05 (Malacko, 2010).
Results
To be able to answer the question „Which
characteristics explain the climber’s performance
in sport rock climbing to the highest degree,
regardless of the climbing style?” two sets of
variables were compared:
by Magiera A. et al. 109
© Editorial Committee of Journal of Human Kinetics
dependent variables – Max OS and Max RP
independent variables – common
characteristics obtained from two regression
equations Max OS and Max RP.
The findings from the analysis of the two sets of
variables are shown in Table 2.
The next step of the research involved the
calculation of the values of the variables and their
canonical correlations and testing them for
significance. Two canonical variables were
calculated, whose correlations (Rc) for the first
and second variable were 0.94 and 0.54,
respectively. Both correlations were statistically
significant (p<0.05), thus showing that the model
described both data sets well. With the calculation
of the variance and redundancy values it was
possible to identify the amounts of variance
explained by particular canonical variables. The
first root extracted from the performance
indicators (Max OS and Max RP) around 88% of
the variance, while the second one only 12%. The
redundancy value for the first root indicated that
the independent variables (set II) explained 77%
of the variance in climbing performance (p<0.05).
Because the first canonical variable explained a
much larger amount of the variance (81%) than
the total redundancy value, it was concluded that
it described the analysed phenomenon well.
Hence further analysis concentrated on this
variable.
By looking at the factor structure of the
above sets of variables the correlations between
the canonical roots and the variables in the set
could be identified. The factor loadings of the first
root were very similar (Max OS: -0.94; Max RP: -
0.93), showing that both the results were
equivalent and that neither of the climbing styles
tended to dominate. The factor loadings of the
first root for the independent variables were the
following: Ape index: 0.303, CTR-errors: 0.445,
Finger strength: -0.554, E70%z10/10: -0.035,
VO2ATArm: -0.558, TEMP-ME: 0.256, Technique: -
0,622.
Therefore, the first canonical variable was
represented by two equations:
U1 = 0.554Max OS + 0.512Max RP
V1 = - 0.319Ape index – 0.319CTR-errors +
0.490Finger strength + 0.340E70%z10/10 +
0.254 VO2ATArm - 0.410TEMP-ME + 0.370
Technique
The canonical analysis was also useful in
determining how a set of different characteristics
(technical, physical and mental) affected two
dependent variables Max OS and Max RP used in
the study, thus giving the answer to the second
research question.
To make comparisons more efficient,
eight characteristics were selected from each of
the three sets of climbers’ mental, technical and
physical attributes (Table 3). The first and most
significant canonical correlations in the new sets
of mental characteristics (personality traits,
temperament, locus of control and tactics),
technical characteristics (coordination and
technique) and physical characteristics (somatic,
flexibility, physical fitness and efficiency) were
high, the canonical R being 0.82, 0.81 and 0.79,
respectively. All correlations were statistically
significant (p<0.001). The total redundancy values
for the three sets interpreted as average
percentages of the variance in one set of variables
that all canonical variables explained based on
another set were differentiated. This means that in
analysing climber’s performance (the Max OS and
Max RP set) eight mental characteristics explained
41% of the variance, eight technical characteristics
– 53%, and eight physical characteristics – 62%.
The canonical analysis helped answer the
third question too. The first to be analysed were
the sets of somatic and physical fitness
characteristics and that of coordination and
technique (Table 4, columns 2 and 3). The total
canonical R was high (0.82) and statistically
significant (p<0.001). The canonical roots in the
right set (the vectors of physical characteristics)
explained almost 32% of the variance in the left
set of variables (technical characteristics).
Reversely, the first set explained 29% of the
variance. The results obtained from comparing
the characteristics of personality, temperament,
locus of control and tactics with the somatic and
physical fitness characteristics (Table 4, columns 4
and 5) showed that the right set (mental
characteristics) explained almost 30% of the
variance in the left set (physical characteristics). In
the reverse situation, the rate of the explained
variance declined to 25%. The total canonical R
was both high (0.83) and statistically very
significant (p<0.001). The sets of mental and
technical characteristics were compared last
(Tables 4, columns 6 and 7). The total canonical R
was similar to its values determined from the
110 The Structure of Performance of a Sport Rock Climber
Journal of Human Kinetics volume 36/2013 http://www.johk.pl
previous analyses (0.82) and also statistically very
significant (p<0.001). The canonical roots of both
the right set and the left set explained a similar
amount of the variance – 38%.
Table 1
Descriptive statistics
N Variables X S V AS K
u-3
1. Max OS Best performance in OS style n 8,68 0,53 6,08 -0,05 -1,39
2. Max RP Best performance in RP style n 9,55 0,55 5,80 0,22 -1,12
3. Mass Body mass kg 68,85 5,02 7,30 -0,73 1,22
4. Height Height cm
177,90 5,59 3,14 0,04 -0,94
5. Arm span Arm span cm 180,09 7,02 3,90 -0,10 -1,15
6. Ape index Ape index: arm span/height cm/cm 1,01 0,02 2,33 0,63 0,38
7. FM% % of fat tissue % 10,42 3,28 31,47 0,27 -0,50
8. MM% % of muscle tissue % 63,77 8,30 13,01 0,31 0,40
9. BMI Body Mass Index kg/m2 21,82 1,70 7,78 -0,03 -0,30
10. BCMI Body Cell Mass Index kg/m2 11,35 2,03 17,86 0,19 -0,24
11. Hip flexion Range of motion of hip flexion st. 118,67 9,95 8,38 0,09 -1,42
12. Hip abduct Range of motion of hip abduction st. 51,30 6,95 13,55 -0,19 0,29
13. Froggies Flexibility of hips in “froggies” cm 6,11 5,10 83,41 0,23 -0,24
14. CRT- errors Complex reaction time – number of errors n 5,87 2,79 47,54 -0,11 -0,78
15. Stereometry Stereometry mm
14,33 10,09 70,36 1,05 0,08
16. Balance-inst State of balance – instability st./s 260,98 54,45 20,86 -1,64 2,95
17. Balance-lc State of balance – locus of control n 81,80 8,80 10,76 0,13 -0,84
18. Adapt-error Motor adaptation – error S*T 168,13 55,77 33,17 0,83 -0,14
19. Adapt-rate Motor adaptation – adaptation rate s 0,84 0,25 30,09 1,53 2,74
20. Different Differentiation %
87,50 11,53 13,18 -1,08 0,93
21. Finger strength Maximal finger strength kg/kg 0,55 0,06 11,39 -0,33 -0,37
22. E70%z10/10 Finger endurance 10/10s 70%Fmax s 358,80 198,67 55,37 1,57 2,02
23. Arm strength Arm strength kg/kg 1,64 0,12 7,44 0,16 -0,63
24. Arm endurance Arm endurance s 67,43 13,68 20,28 0,03 -0,97
25. W30s-Wtotal Total work of the upper body - W30s J/kg 157,37 11,50 7,31 -0,93 1,16
26. W30s-Pmax Maximal power of the upper body - W30s W/kg 6,43 0,38 5,92 -0,46 0,41
27. W30s-Fatigue Fatigue index - W30s % 17,90 3,10 17,29 -0,11 -0,56
28. W30s-T attain Time of maximum power attainment - W30s s 7,46 0,91 12,24 0,94 0,83
29. W30s-T maint Time of maximum power maintenance - W30s s 4,48 0,92 20,47 -0,15 -0,50
30. VO2maxArm Maximal oxygen uptake –arm work ml/kg/min 36,32 6,64 18,29 -0,32 -0,16
31. VO2ATArm Oxygen uptake at anaerobic threshold – arm work ml/kg/min 24,37 5,52 22,66 -0,26 -0,69
32. SI Spatial intelligence n 36,17 9,48 26,22 -1,18 0,50
33. LC Locus of control n 10,53 4,32 40,97 0,35 0,16
34. OSB-N Neuroticism – raw values n 6,13 3,90 63,64 0,45 -0,43
35. OSB-E Extroversion – raw values n 14,60 5,03 34,47 -0,46 -0,44
36. OSB-P Psychotism – raw values n 10,70 4,18 39,09 -0,28 -0,15
37. OSB-L Lying – raw values n 8,87 3,31 37,35 0,65 0,40
38. TEMP-BR Briskness – raw values n 16,43 2,76 16,82 -0,50 -0,44
39. TEMP-PE Perseverance – raw values n 10,33 4,40 42,56 -0,09 -0,46
40. TEMP-SS Sensory sensitivity – raw values n 13,27 4,39 33,07 -0,61 -0,06
41. TEMP-ER Emotional reactivity – raw values n 6,93 4,37 63,06 0,20 -1,01
42. TEMP-ME Mental endurance – raw values n 12,57 4,99 39,68 -0,83 -0,39
43. TEMP-AC Activity – raw values n 11,83 3,85 32,49 -0,21 -0,95
44. Tactics Climbing tactics % 88,37 7,47 8,45 -0,31 -0,54
45. Technique Climbing technique n 51,07 3,01 5,90 0,22 -0,12
by Magiera A. et al. 111
© Editorial Committee of Journal of Human Kinetics
Table 2
The results of canonical analysis and the chi-square test (30n)
Canonical R: 0.93546 χ2 (14)=131.19 p=0.0000
Table 3
The results of canonical analysis for selected mental, technical and physical
characteristics with respect to the dependent variables Max OS and Max RP
Left Right
Number of variables 2 7
Extracted variance 100.00% 32.03%
Total redundancy 80,.57% 20.76%
Variables: 1 Max OS Ape index
2 Max RP CRT - errors
3 Finger strength
4 E70%z10/10
5 VO2ATArm
6 TEMP-ME
7 Technique
Rc Rc2 χ2 df p λ
0 0.935 0.875 131.186 14 0.000 0.088
1 0.542 0.294 18.863 6 0.004 0.705
Mental characteristics Technical characteristics Physical characteristics
Canonical R: 0.815
Chi2(16)=73.130
p=0.000
Canonical R: 0.812
Chi2(16)=82.033 p=0.000
Canonical R: 0.815
Chi2(16)=73.130 p=0.000
Left Right Left Right Left Right
Variance 100.00% 27.84% 100.00% 26.15% 100.00% 37.55%
C. redund. 40.77% 10.85% 52.89% 11.98% 61.81% 20.37%
1 Max OS LC Max OS CRT-errors Max OS Mass
2 Max RP OSB-N Max RP Stereometry Max RP Ape index
3 OSB-P Balance-inst FM%
4 TEMP-BR Balance-lc Hip flexion
5 TEMP-PE Adapt-error Finger strength
6 TEMP-SS Adapt-rate E70%z10/10
7 TEMP-ME Different Arm strength
8 Tactics Technique VO2ATArm
112 The Structure of Performance of a Sport Rock Climber
Journal of Human Kinetics volume 36/2013 http://www.johk.pl
Table 4
The results of canonical analysis showing correlations between the vectors
of the sets of mental, technical and physical characteristics.
Discussion
The available studies determine climber’s
performance from questionnaire surveys (where
the respondents are asked to state the most
difficult route they have completed in the OS or
RP style) (Booth et al., 1999; Espana-Romero et al.,
2009; Ferguson and Brown, 1997; Grant et al.,
2003; Müller and Held, 1992; Sheel et al., 2003),
based on the score in a climbing test carried out in
a setting made to resemble a lead climbing event
(Mermier et al., 2000), or by calculating an Athlete
Development Indicator (ADI) by means of the
Hellwig’s algorithm (Magiera and Ryguła, 2007).
Whatever the approach, the test batteries
invariably address one, special type of
performance achievable in different climbing
styles or in different climbing settings (indoor or
outdoor).
The approach taken in this study allowed
to look at climbing performance from a somewhat
broader perspective. Canonical analysis provided
Max OS and Max RP performances which were
taken to represent the overall performance
capacity of a sport rock climber. The analysis
found the following variables to be significant in
the equation of the dominant first root: maximal
relative strength of the fingers (Finger strength:
0.490), mental endurance (TEMP-ME: -0.410) and
technique (Technique: 0.370), followed by isometric
endurance of the fingers (E70%z10/10: 0,340), the
number of errors in the complex reaction time test
(CRT-errors: -0,319), ape index (-0,319) and oxygen
uptake during arm work at the anaerobic
threshold (VO2ATArm: 0,254). These seven
characteristics described the climber’s overall
performance capacity well, explaining 77% of its
variance. This may mean that despite their
distinctive requirements, climbing styles are of
little effect on performance unlike climber’s
general abilities. Other available studies only deal
with some of the model variables.
Notwithstanding the aforementioned
disagreement over what determines sport
climber’s performance, many studies treat finger
strength as a prerequisite for its high level
(Espana-Romero et al., 2009; Giles et al., 2006;
MacLeod et al., 2006; Quaine and Vigouroux,
2004; Watts, 2004). This study confirmed this
view. According to the canonical values, this
variable (Finger strength) was the most significant.
The greater maximal strength of the four fingers
(without the thumb), particularly in relation to
Technical and physical
characteristics
Mental and physical
characteristics
Mental and technical
characteristics
Canonical R: 0.815
Chi2(64)=170.42
p=0.000
Canonical R: 0.829
Chi2(64)=146.44
p=0.000
Canonical R: 0.815
Chi2(64)=193.27 p=0.000
Left Right Left Right Left Right
Variance 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%
C. redund. 31.80% 29.18% 30.33% 25.28% 37.80% 38,18%
1 CRT-errors Mass LC Mass LC CRT-errors
2 Stereometry Ape index OSB-N Ape index OSB-N Stereometry
3 Balance-inst FM% OSB-P FM% OSB-P Balance-inst
4 Balance-lc Hip flexion TEMP-BR Hip flexion TEMP-BR Balance-lc
5 Adapt-error Finger strength TEMP-PE Finger strength TEMP-PE Adapt-error
6 Adapt-rate E70%z10/10 TEMP-SS E70%z10/10 TEMP-SS Adapt-rate
7 Different Arm strength TEMP-ME Arm strength TEMP-ME Different
8 Technique VO2ATArm Tactics VO2ATArm Tactics Technique
by Magiera A. et al. 113
© Editorial Committee of Journal of Human Kinetics
climber’s body mass, the better performance in
climbing.
Earlier studies tended to give more
attention to climber’s endurance. This ability has
been assessed with many different tools, but
recently tests evaluating the isometric endurance
of the finger flexors have come to the fore
(Ferguson and Brown, 1997; MacLeod et al., 2006;
Quaine et al., 2003), as well as tests utilising
climbing ergometers (Espana-Romero et al., 2009;
Köstermeyer, 2000). The results of the first type of
tests have showed that better forearm vascular
capacity increases climber’s performance during
the workload-relaxation sequence by allowing
more blood to be supplied to muscles between
contractions. In the second case, the climbing time
(Espana-Romero et al., 2009) or the distance
completed in a test with a climbing ergometer
(Köstermeyer, 2000) have been strongly correlated
with performance, particularly in experienced
climbers. Maximal oxygen uptake in the
incremental test to exhaustion did not
differentiate the subjects (Espana-Romero et al.,
2009), but the distance completed in a state of
functional equilibrium has been found to
significantly affect the endurance test results
(Köstermeyer, 2000). These findings are confirmed
by variables E70%z10/10 and VO2ATArm used in
this study.
The role that the ‘ape index’ variable (the
arm span to height ratio) plays in the model has
not been fully explained. Inversely proportional
effect of this variable on performance may be
controversial. The authors assume that the arm
span which does not differentiate most climbers
in most cases (Espana-Romero et al., 2009) is less
important than having a slimmer body (i.e. a
smaller shoulder width). This opinion requires
further investigations.
Canonical analysis was used in this study
also to identify the structure of performance of
sport rock climbers with respect to their various
technical, physical and mental characteristics.
Previous studies sought relationships between
performance and particular somatic, physical
fitness, physiological or mental characteristics.
Interdisciplinary papers analysing climbers from
many angles are not available. An exception is the
studies carried out by Mermier et al. (2000) and
Magiera and Ryguła (2007).
In the Mermier et al.’s study (2000) the
principal component analysis (PCA) allowed
extracting three components which were called „a
training component” (the strength of the arms and
legs and of the full-hand grip, the anaerobic
power of the upper and lower body, arm
endurance, % fat, climbing performance), „an
anthropometric component” (body mass and
height, the length of the lower extremities, arm
span, ape index), and „a flexibility component”
(the hip-joint range of motion). The authors have
proven that being successful in climbing depends
on the interaction of many factors rather than on a
single factor, as suggested before. Multiple
regression of the relationships between the three
components and the subjects’ overall scores in
two climbing trials showed that the components
explained 58.9% (training), 0.3% (anthropometric)
and 1.8% (flexibility) of the total variance in
performance. The authors themselves suggested
that more in-depth studies allowing also for
mental and technical characteristics and technical
and tactical skills were necessary to explain the
remaining 34% of the variance in climbing
performance.
The primary research purpose of the
Magiera and Ryguła study (2007) was to build a
biometric model describing the best performance
of male climbers in the OS style based on an
Athlete Development Indicator (ADI). It was
almost completely (R2=0.93) explained by 9
variables providing the best description of this
phenomenon: technical skills, oxygen uptake
during arm work at the anaerobic threshold,
maximal relative strength of the fingers, locus of
control, psychotism, strength endurance, ape
index, the number of errors in the complex
reaction time test and the range of motion during
hip flexion.
Scientists studying this sport discipline
have also made attempts to assess how particular
attributes of climbers contribute to their
performance. Hörst (2003), who is an author of
many popular climbing handbooks, views rock
climbing as a unique sport where the athlete is
required to demonstrate almost a complete
balance of mental characteristics, technical skills
and physical abilities. He contrasts it with sports
where performance is mainly determined by
physical characteristics (100m sprint) or technical
skills (golf) (Figure 1). Unfortunately, it is only a
subjective opinion of the author, without any
114 The Structure of Performance of a Sport Rock Climber
Journal of Human Kinetics volume 36/2013 http://www.johk.pl
scientific background.
Guidi has a different opinion in regard to
this topic. In his report published on the official
website of the FFME (Fédération Française de la
Montagne et de l'Escalade) Guidi presented the
findings of an expert commission consisting of the
FFME coaches (Guidi, 2002). Among other things,
he analysed the structure of climbers’
performance in the lead and bouldering events
(Figure 2). According to Guidi, the key factors
determining performance in the first event were
mental characteristics (50%), then physical (27%),
tactical (15%) and technical (8%) ones.
Figure 1
The relative requirements of different sports (Hörst, 2003)
Figure 2
The structure of sport climber’s performance in the lead
and bouldering events (Guidi, 2002)
by Magiera A. et al. 115
© Editorial Committee of Journal of Human Kinetics
Figure 3
Percentage contributions and the complementarity of different sets
of characteristics explaining climber’s
overall performance capacity (Max OS and Max RP)
The findings of this study where the issue
of climber’s performance has been given
comprehensive treatment allowed empirical
verification of the above opinions. According to
the results of the canonical analysis (Table 3) and
their totals (Figure 3), three sets of characteristics,
each having 8 selected variables, explained
climbers’ overall performance capacity in 96%
(Max OS and Max RP). The chart below tends to
support the Hörst’s opinion (2003) that rock
climbing requires harmoniously developed
physical fitness, technical and tactical skills, as
well as mental preparation. The percentage
contributions of particular sets of variables to
explaining performance were similar, but not
equal. The characteristics of physical fitness
(Finger strength, E70%z10/10, Arm strenght), body
efficiency (VO2ATArm) and anthropometric (Body
mass, Ape index, FM%, Hip flexion) explained the
most – 38%, while mental characteristics were
found to be the least significant in this respect
(25%). The present-day sport climbing is safer for
contestants (owing to permanent protection
points, strong ropes, etc.). Climbers are viewed
today as gymnasts exercising on the rock rather
than people risking their lives en route to the top.
This safety and the outstanding experience of the
examined climbers not only seem to explain the
relatively low share of mental attributes in the
structure of their performance, but also highlight
the prominence of the physical aspects of their
training.
This study has shown that sport climbing
performance is determined by different sets of
morphofunctional characteristics. Keeping the sets
apart has only a theoretical advantage, because
they are in fact complementary and overlap
(Figure 3). Climbers, particularly the less trained
ones, frequently utilise this interaction to
compensate for their deficiencies with better
developed skills and abilities. The canonical
analysis may be a measure to find out whether
variables in one set may serve as predictors of the
values of the variables in another. All three sets of
characteristics (physical, mental and technical)
used in this study explained the variance similarly
(in around 30%), but the strongest relationship
was found between the set containing selected
116 The Structure of Performance of a Sport Rock Climber
Journal of Human Kinetics volume 36/2013 http://www.johk.pl
characteristics of personality, temperament, locus
of control and tactics, and the set with
coordination abilities and technique (38 %). This
seems to explain why the two groups of
characteristics have a similar informative value.
The climbers’ physical characteristics were
explained least effectively by their mental
attributes (25%), which reveals a relatively weaker
relationship between the results of selected
mental tests and the somatic, physical fitness,
aerobic and anaerobic power of the climbers
This study focused on advanced male
climbers taking part in rock climbing events. For
different sex and experience of the subjects, type
and setting of the events (indoor or outdoor), the
results may be different.
Conclusions
A thorough study of training efficiency of
advanced sport climbers involves testing of their
physical, technical and mental characteristics. The
three sets of characteristics used in this study
explained the structure of climbing performance
to a similar, but unequal degree, i.e. in 38, 33 and
25%, respectively. The sets were also found to be
complementary to around 30% of the variance.
The study determined also the overall
performance capacity of outdoor climbers.
Although the OS and RP climbing styles pose
different requirements, seven variables explained
77% of climber’s overall performance capacity
common to the two styles. An insight into its
structure was enabled by the canonical analysis, a
tool of multivariate statistics.
References
Babić V, Harasin D, Dizdar D. Relation of the variables of power and morphological characteristic to the
kinematic indicators of maximal speed running. Kinesiology, 2007; 39 (1): 28-39
Blažević S. Some relations between boxer`s cognitive abilities and morphological characteristics. Acta
Kinesiologica, 2009; 3 (1): 7-11
Booth J, Marino F, Hill Ch, Gwinn T. Energy cost of sport climbing in elite performers. Br J Sports Med, 1999;
33: 14 – 18
España-Romero V, Artero EG, Ortega FB, Jiménez-Pavón D, Gutiérrez A, Castilllo MJ, Ruiz JR. Physiology of
sport climbing. Available. Revista Internacional de Medicina y Ciencias de la Actividad Física y el
Deporte, 2009; 9(35): 264 – 298 http://cdeporte.rediris.es/revista/revista35/artescalada129.htm.
España-Romero V, Ortega Porcel FB, Artero EG, Jiménez-Pavón D, Gutiérrez Sainz A, Castillo Garzón MJ,
Ruiz JR. Climbing time to exhaustion is a determinant of climbing performance in high-level sport
climbers. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2009; 107 (5): 517-25
Ferguson RA, Brown MD. Arterial blood pressure and forearm vascular conductance responses to sustained
and rhythmic isometric exercise and arterial occlusion in trained rock climbers and untrained
sedentary subjects. Eur J Appl Physiol, 1997; 76: 174-180
Giles LV, Rhodes EC, Taunton JE. The physiology of rock climbing. Sports Med 2006; 36 (6): 529-545
Grant S, Shields C, Fitzpatrick V, Ming Loh W, Whitaker A, Watt I, Kay JW. Climbing-specific finger
endurance: a comparative study of intermediate rock climbers, rowers and aerobically trained
individuals. J of Sports Science, 2003; 21: 621-630
Guidi O. Coaching and structure of sport preparation. Available: www.ffme.fr/France.escalade, accessed in
06.2002
Hörst EJ. Training for climbing: the definitive guide to improving your climbing performance. A Falcon guide.
Guilford; 2003
Köstermeyer G. Determination, importance and practise the local muscular endurance of the finger flexors in
sport climbing. Ars Ulna. Neuried, 2000
MacLeod D, Sutherland DL, Buntin L, Whitaker A, Aitchison T, Watt I, Bradley J, Grant S. Physiological
by Magiera A. et al. 117
© Editorial Committee of Journal of Human Kinetics
determinants of climbing-specic nger endurance and sport rock climbing performance. J Sports
Sciences, 2007; 25(12): 1433 – 144
Magiera A, Ryguła I. Biometric Model and Classification Functions in Sport Climbing. J of Human Kinetics,
2007; 18: 87-98
Malacko J. The canonical relations between the systems of variables of basic motor and cognitive abilities of
top footballers. Kinesiologia Slovenica, 2010; 16 (1-2): 61–67
Mermier Ch, Janot J, Parker D, Swan J. Physiological and anthropometric determinants of sport climbing
performance. Br J Sports Med, 2000; 34: 359-366
Müller E, Held Ch. Training the strength endurance of the finger flexors in sport climbing. Leistungssport
1992; 5: 45- 49
Quaine F, Vigouroux L, Martin L. Finger flexors fatigue in trained rock climbers and untrained sedentary
subjects. Int J Sports Med, 2003; 24: 424–7
Quaine F, Vigouroux L. Maximal resultant four fingertip force and fatigue of the extrinsic muscles of the
hand in different sport climbing finger grips. Int J Sports Med, 2004; 25: 634–37
Sheel WA, Seddon N, Knight A, Mckenzie DC, Warburton DE. Physiological responses to indoor rock-
climbing and their relationship to maximal cycle ergometry. Med. Sciences Sports Exerc, 2003; 35:
1225-1231
Watts P. Physiology of difficult rock climbing. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2004; 91: 361 – 372
Corresponding author:
Artur Magiera
Academy of Physical Education, 40-065 Katowice, Mikołowska 72A, Poland
Phone: 32 207-51-56,
E-mail: a.magiera@awf.katowice.pl
... Climbing offers a wide variety of subdisciplines, with rock climbing, indoor sports climbing, speed climbing, bouldering and ice climbing being the fundamental ones [1]. Throughout literature, advanced climbers are well studied, but there is still a lack of focus on the recreational climber [1,[5][6][7]. Mental aspects as well as the Medicine and Rehabilitation (2022) 14:94 relationship between physical and mental aspects of climbing is likewise scarcely covered within the literature. It is well established that in climbing, psychology plays a major role in performance, however there is a strong disproportion between research focusing on the physical against the mental aspect of sports climbing [1]. ...
... In summary, the conjunction of sports und personality continues to arouse interest, however specific research for sports climbing and personality in the recreational climber has not been conducted extensively so far. The climber's personality in general is largely studied on at least advanced climbers: The advanced climber is described as being high in vigor and mental endurance as well as low in tension, depression, anger, confusion and mood disturbance [1,6], which is also known as the "Iceberg"-profile [14]. While there is ample research displaying the differences in personality traits between genders, there is hardly any description of the gender differences in recreational athletes [15,16]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Physiological characteristics of climbers have been extensively studied, while the personality of climbers remains poorly understood. Personality research in sports is an established field, predicting long-term success as well as short-term behavior. The goal of our study was to examine recreational climbers’ personality and gain a better understanding of what makes them reach new heights. Methods We analyzed a cohort of 50 recreational climbers and 50 non-climbing athletes (control) regarding their personality characteristics. We assessed the BMI, the self-reported climbing grade, and the years of climbing experience. To evaluate the personality of recreational climbers and athletes, we used the German version of the Big Five Inventory (BFI-2), which summarizes the personality in five main categories. Results Recreational climbers scored significantly higher in conscientiousness than non-climbing athletes (p = 0.04), there was no significant difference between the other four main personality traits. Female climbers scored significantly higher in conscientiousness than male climbers (p = 0.02), while female athletes scored higher in openness than male athletes (p < 0.01). The climbing group displayed a small but significant negative correlation between conscientiousness and BMI (r = -0.39; p < 0.01). Conclusion In conclusion, the personality of recreational climbers and recreational athletes differs in conscientiousness, with the climbers showing higher scores. Regarding gender, we found higher levels of conscientiousness in female climbers and higher openness in female athletes in comparison to their male counterparts. A negative correlation between BMI and conscientiousness of the climbers was detected.
... ape index). Magiera et al. (42) also pointed to the potentially high importance of the ape index in lead climbing. In the research by Ozimek et al. (43), conducted among bouldering competitors, it was found that a high level of arm length and the upper limb length index correlate with sports results achieved in competitions. ...
... These results allow to suggest that in speed climbing, the result of a run may be related to length proportions of body build. This corresponds with the results obtained in previous studies on body proportions and their potential significance in sport climbing (41)(42)(43). It should be emphasized, however, that the correlations of the above-mentioned indices were irrelevant. ...
Article
Full-text available
Study aim. The main aim of research was to verify which of the countermovement jumps (CMJ) provides the most accurate information on the possibility of obtaining the best result in a climbing run and to assess the coexistence (correlation) of the running result as well as the reaction time to an auditory signal. Material and methods. The study was conducted among a group of male climbers at the average age of 20.5 years (n=6). At the time of the measurements, the competitors presented the highest sports level and were members of the Polish National Team in the speed climbing competition. Somatic measurements were carried out successively, followed by measurements of simple reaction time and various jumps. Results. Correlations between the studied variables characteristic of somatic features as well as motor skills with climbing time were, in most cases, not significant. Statistically significant correlations at the level of p<0.05 were found between running time and the following trials: CMJb (cm) (rx,y: -0.88); PmaxCMJb (W/kg) (rx,y: -0.88) and PmaxCMJb (W/LBMkg) (rx,y: -0.86). Conclusions. CMJ without arm swing is a valuable tool in assessing the motor potential of a sprinting climber and is a test of great informative value in the context of the possibility to obtain high results in a speed climbing competition. The applied test to assess the level of response time to the auditory signal was a trial, which to a moderate extent, allows to diagnose the possibility of achieving high results in a speed climbing sprint.
... To date, scientific and common literature has focused on the physical, mental, tactical, and technical aspects of sport climbing [2,3,[6][7][8][9][10][11][12]. Additionally, injury prevention has been the focus of increasing attention, since the number of climbing-specific injuries have surged [13]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: For high performance in sport climbing, various factors must be taken into account, however, social interactions during climbing sessions have not yet been considered. Methods: For this study, four assumptions were made: (1) elite climbers share similar patterns of behaviour; (2) these behaviour patterns influence the climbing performance in a positive way; (3) the behaviour patterns had to be formed over time, and the process of changing behaviour was catalysed by formative experiences; and, (4) the social behaviour of elite climbers shows a tendency to be on their own rather than in the centre of social events, while their behavioural roots date back to their school life. Six male higher-elite-level climbers participated in semi-structured in-depth interviews. Results: In school, all participants perceived themselves as not being at the centre of social interactions. Moreover, all participants described a development from egoistic behaviour towards more supportive behaviour. Two participants were able to outline specific, formative experiences (crucibles), that drastically shaped their behaviour. Conclusion: All participants performed best in the absence of social tensions and when the atmosphere between the climbing partners was positive. Positive atmosphere was achieved by finding the optimal personal balance between supportive and egoistic behaviour.
... The popularity of sport climbing is growing rapidly; according to the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC), 35 million people worldwide participate in sport climbing (International Federation of Sport Climbing, 2015). Sport climbing is a polystructural acyclic activity that requires specific psycho-tactical, physiologic-anthropometrical, and coordination-technical aspects for successful performance (Magiera et al., 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
Sport climbers should possess specific anthropometric characteristics and conditioning capacities to reach a top level in this sport. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine gender differences in the fitness status of the top-level youth sport climbers. METHODS: The study was conducted on 20 elite Croatian youth sport climbers (all members of the national team, ten females; 13-18 years of age). The variables included anthropometric status (mass, height, arm span, and body fat percentage), generic-(countermovement-and squat-jump, grip strength), and specific-fitness tests (power slap test and Draga foot lift). RESULTS: Boys were taller than girls (t-test=2.51, p=0.02, moderate effect size (ES)), and had lower body fat percentage (t=-5.66, p=0.001, very large ES). Boys achieved better results in countermovement-(t=5.39, p=0.001, very large ES) and squat-jump (t=2.19, p=0.04, moderate ES), while there were no gender differences in the specific fitness tests. CONCLUSION: Gender differences were observed in generic but not in specific fitness, which may indicate that climbing is a specific sport that requires and develops specific abilities in a similar way in boys and girls.
... Wir zeigen am Beispiel eines Forschungsprojekts 1 , in dem wir die Leistungsstruktur der verschiedenen Kletter-Wettkampfdisziplinen Lead, Bouldern, Speed und Olympic-Combined analysiert haben, die methodischen Schritte auf und diskutieren die Herausforderungen, die sich in der Praxis bei der Umsetzung der von Hohmann et al. (2020) empfohlenen Arbeitsschritte ergeben. Magiera et al., 2013). Diese Quellen waren in Bezug auf Klettern als Wettkampfsport nicht hinreichend, so dass qualitative Interviews mit Nationaltrainern sowie einer Landestrainerin über die potenziellen Leistungskomponenten des Wettkampfkletterns geführt wurden, um das Expertenwissen zu erheben (Augste & Künzell, 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Es ist eine zentrale Aufgabe trainingswissenschaftlicher Forschung, Leistungsstrukturmodelle zu erstellen. Durch die Leistungsstrukturanalyse werden Eigenschaften identifiziert und hierarchisiert, welche die Leistung in einer spezifischen Sportart bedingen. In der Literatur gibt es Vorschläge für die dazu notwendigen Arbeitsschritte. Beispiele aus der Sportpraxis zeigen jedoch, dass diese nicht immer wie geplant umgesetzt werden können. In dem vorliegenden Diskussionsbeitrag beschreiben wir unser Vorgehen bei der Entwicklung eines Leistungsstruk-turmodells im Sportklettern. An diesem Beispiel diskutieren wir Möglichkeiten und Grenzen des theoretisch pro-klamierten Vorgehens. Wir verdeutlichen die verschiedenen Entscheidungsoptionen und unterbreiten Vorschläge für ein allgemeines, praktikables Vorgehen zur zukünftigen Entwicklung von Leistungsstrukturmodellen.
... The authors, however, found that elite climbers exhibited greater climbingspecific strength (ie, individual finger pincer strength) compared with nonclimbers. Furthermore, although factors, including maximal relative finger pinch strength, 14 absolute and relative handgrip strength, and climbing frequency, 15 are primary areas of focus for training regimens, their relative contributions to performance remain unknown. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to determine the relative contributions of handgrip and individual finger strength for the prediction of climbing performance in a bouldering competition. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: To determine the relative contributions of handgrip and individual finger strength for the prediction of climbing performance in a bouldering competition. A secondary aim was to examine the influence of body size, bouldering experience, and training habits. Methods: Sixty-seven boulderers (mean [SD], age = 21.1 [4.0] y; body mass = 69.5 [9.8] kg) volunteered for this study. Data collection occurred immediately before an indoor bouldering competition and involved the assessment of handgrip and individual finger maximal force production using an electronic handheld dynamometer. The bouldering competition consisted of 70 routes graded V0 to V8, with higher point values awarded for completing more difficult routes. Stepwise multiple regression analysis was used to examine the relative contributions of handgrip and individual finger strengths, body mass, height, bouldering experience, and bouldering frequency to the prediction of performance scores in the competition. Results: Ring finger pinch strength, bouldering experience, and bouldering frequency significantly (P < .05) contributed to the model (R2 = .373), whereas body mass; height; full handgrip strength, as well as index, middle, and little finger pinch strengths did not. The β weights showed that ring finger pinch strength (β = .430) was the most significant contributor, followed by bouldering experience (β = .331) and bouldering frequency (β = .244). Conclusions: The current findings indicated that trainable factors contributed to the prediction of bouldering performance. These results suggest greater bouldering frequency and experience likely contribute to greater isolated individual finger strength, thereby optimizing preparation for the diverse handholds in competitive rock climbing.
... The physical variables, which largely explain the variance in climbing performance, are trainable factors such as finger-arm strength and endurance, whereas anthropometric characteristics and flexibility have comparably small effects (Mermier et al., 2000;Baláš et al., 2012;Laffaye et al., 2016). Physical, technical, and mental characteristics explain the structure of climbing performance in a similar way, which may serve as evidence that climbers need to conduct harmonious development training (Magiera et al., 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
PurposeThe aim of the study was to evaluate distinct performance indicators and energy system contributions in 3 different, new sport-specific finger flexor muscle exercise tests.Methods The tests included the maximal strength test, the all-out test (30 s) as well as the continuous and intermittent muscle endurance test at an intensity equaling 60% of maximal force, which were performed until target force could not be maintained. Gas exchange and blood lactate were measured in 13 experienced climbers during, as well as pre and post the test. The energy contribution (anaerobic alactic, anaerobic lactic, and aerobic) was determined for each test.ResultsThe contribution of aerobic metabolism was highest during the intermittent test (59.9 ± 12.0%). During continuous exercise, this was 28.1 ± 15.6%, and in the all-out test, this was 19.4 ± 8.1%. The contribution of anaerobic alactic energy was 27.2 ± 10.0% (intermittent), 54.2 ± 18.3% (continuous), and 62.4 ± 11.3% (all-out), while anaerobic lactic contribution equaled 12.9 ± 6.4, 17.7 ± 8.9, and 18.2 ± 9.9%, respectively.Conclusion The combined analysis of performance predictors and metabolic profiles of the climbing test battery indicated that not only maximal grip force, but also all-out isometric contractions are equally decisive physical performance indices of climbing performance. Maximal grip force reflects maximal anaerobic power, while all-out average force and force time integral of constant isometric contraction at 60% of maximal force are functional measures of anaerobic capacity. Aerobic energy demand for the intermittent exercise is dominated aerobic re-phosphorylation of high-energy phosphates. The force-time integral from the intermittent test was not decisive for climbing performance.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction: Aged people experience considerable physical changes in their body such as decrease of physical activity, muscular atrophy and decrease of physiological factors. These changes result in decrease of physical performance and sarchopina. In addition, given the decrease of body mass and muscular power, blood flow restriction may prevent sachropina. The effects of concentric isokenetic activity with blood flow restication on VEDF serum on aged men were examined. Methods: For this purpose, 10 healthy men at age range 60-80 year were selected through convenience sampling in a Tehran-based park (average age: 65/2±3/73.year, height: 175.9±2.92.cm, BMI: 25.15±2.85kg/m2). Medical record of the participants was checked to ensure no cardiovascular diseases, smoking habits and or any other medicine through a general information questionnaire. The participants filled out the questionnaire after a brief introduction to the test procedure and probable risks of the study. The participants performed concentric isokinetic (knee extension and flexion) without blood flow restriction. The second practice session was held one week later and this time with blood flow restriction. Study protocol consisted of 3 sets of 30 repetitions and 3 sets of 15 repetition of con/con contraction (60s rest time, 60̊/s; 20%1RM). Blood samples were collected before initiation of the protocol, immediately after, and 2hrs after the protocol; and VEGF serum was measured through ELAISA kit. Results: The results indicated that VEGF serum level significantly increased in response to concentric isokinetic practice with blood flow restriction (P = 0.014). Discussion: Thereby, acute of concentric isokinetic, even mildly (20%1RM) with blood flow restriction was effective on enhancement of angiogenesis factor in aged men.
Article
Full-text available
The aim of the research was, to apply system of 15 variables (3 cognitive ability variables and 12 morphological characteristic variables) on the sample of 92 boxers from Croatian boxing clubs in different weight categories and determine statistically significant relations between cognitive ability variable system and morphological characteristics variable system. Determining this relation is significant so we could form rational procedures for better sports orientation and selection, planning, programming and controlling transformational process of sportsman. Relation determination of two different multidimensional anthropologic manifest variable systems was carried out through appliance of canonical correlation analysis method. Based on gained results included in canonical structure matrix where we identify statistically significant correlations between first canonical factor and all applied cognitive variables in 88 to 89 spans which can be identified as general canonical factor of cognitive abilities. Span of correlation coefficients between first canonical factor and morphological characteristic variables moves from .21 to .77, so it can be identified as general canonical factor of growth and development. Relations between general canonical factor of cognitive abilities and general canonical factor of growth and development indicates that boxers of such sample with such statistically significant coefficients between two different sets can successfully achieve much better sport results in boxing.
Article
Full-text available
Scientists have finally taken a greater interest in sport climbing and are trying to define the specific nature and structure of this sport discipline. Previously, studies concentrated on individual factors which affect sport climbing performance. In connection with the diversity and complex structure of this activity, there is a deficiency of studies attempting to de- scribe a given phenomenon in a multidimensional way, which would form the grounds for further training optimization activities. The main re- search problem of this study was to present a biometric model, describing the best result in "On Sight" (OS) style men's climbing, represented by Contestant Development Index (CDI). Studies were carried out on a group of thirty Polish sport climbing contestants of advanced level, who had an average sport level of VI.4/4+ in OS style. The analysis included 44 variables obtained by means of tests assessing the level of condition- ing, coordination, somatic and psychological properties of the examined subjects. This helped in the successful (R2=0.93) explanation of climbing performance with the help of 9 features which best describe this phe- nomenon. Technique, VO2AT, Fmax., OSB-P, Contr., RR strength, Ape index, Com. r.r, Flex. Analysed during the study was the structure of Contestant Development Performance, also through discriminate analysis and 3 classification functions calculated with its help. Their role here consisted in the detailed selection of contestants for groups of different climbing advancement. Ten variables: Technique, VO2AT, Fmax. , Contr., RR strength, Ape index, Com. r.r allowed to make a very good qualification of the subjects to particular groups, with special distinction of the first group (first advancement level) from the rest.
Article
Full-text available
The aim of the present research was to investigate the relations of 7 variables of power and 12 variables of morphological characteristics with the kinematic indicators (stride frequency, stride length, foot-ground contact duration, flight duration) of maximal running speed. The research was conducted on a sample of 133 physical education male students, 19 to 24 years (age 21.7 ± 1.08; body height 180.8 ± 6.98; body weight 76.6 ± 7.62), freshmen at the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb. By means of the component model of factor analysis under the GK criterion and non-orthogonal rotation under the promax criterion the following factors were obtained: three morphological factors (skeleton dimensionality, in which the longitudinal component prevailed, body voluminosity and subcutaneous fatty tissue) and two factors of power (power of a jumping type and ballistic power). Canonical analysis of the morphological factors and power factors with kinematic parameters resulted in two pairs of canonical factors with statistically significant canonical correlations (Rc1=0.76; p<0.01, and Rc2=0.57; p<0.01). On the basis of the first pair structure of canonical factors it was concluded that the Faculty of Kinesiology students who had pronounced dimensionality of skeleton, a smaller amount of subcutaneous fatty tissue and better developed relative power, performed longer strides in maximal speed running. The structure of the second canonical factor pair indicated that the students with the greater skeleton dimensionality had a smaller frequency of strides and their foot-ground contact lasted longer. It was also determined that stride length and stride frequency were negatively correlated in maximal speed running which was the result of positive correlation between skeleton dimensionality and stride length, on the one hand, and of negative correlation between skeleton dimensionality and stride frequency on the other. The findings may contribute to a better understanding of the factors responsible for sprint performance in the population of athletes who are not top-level sprinters, i.e. they may be useful to PE teachers, coaches who work with novices in athletics and physical conditioning coaches who work in sports other than athletics, to get a more thorough insight into the sprinting efficiency mechanisms.
Article
Full-text available
We studied which physiological and kinanthropometric characteristics determine climbing performance in 16 high-level sports climbers aged 29.9 +/- 4.9 years. Body composition parameters were measured with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scanner. We also measured kinanthropometric and physical fitness parameters. The sex-specific 75th percentile value of onsight climbing ability was used to divide the sample into expert (<75th) and elite (> or =75th) climbers. All the analyses were adjusted by sex. 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 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). These results suggest that, among climbers with a high level of performance, as those analysed in this study, climbing time to exhaustion is a major determinant of climbing performance.
Article
Full-text available
To assess oxygen uptake (VO2), blood lactate concentration ([La(b)]), and heart rate (HR) response during indoor and outdoor sport climbing. Seven climbers aged 25 (SE 1) years, with a personal best ascent without preview or fall (on sight) ranging from 6b to 7a were assessed using an indoor vertical treadmill with artificial rock hand/foot holds and a discontinuous protocol with climbing velocity incremented until voluntary fatigue. On a separate occasion the subjects performed a 23.4 m outdoor rock climb graded 5c and taking 7 min 36 s (SE 33 s) to complete. Cardiorespiratory parameters were measured using a telemetry system and [La(b)] collected at rest and after climbing. Indoor climbing elicited a peak oxygen uptake (VO2climb-peak) and peak HR (HRpeak) of 43.8 (SE 2.2) ml/kg/min and 190 (SE 4) bpm, respectively and increased blood lactate concentration [La(b)] from 1.4 (0.1) to 10.2 (0.6) mmol/l (p < 0.05). During outdoor climbing VO2 and HR increased to about 75% and 83% of VO2climb-peak and HRpeak, respectively. [La(b)] increased from 1.3 (0.1) at rest to 4.5 mmol/l (p < 0.05) at 2 min 32 s (8 s) after completion of the climb. The results suggest that for elite climbers outdoor sport rock climbs of five to 10 minutes' duration and moderate difficulty require a significant portion of the VO2climb-peak. The higher HR and VO2 for outdoor climbing and the increased [La(b)] could be the result of repeated isometric contractions, particularly from the arm and forearm muscles.
Article
Full-text available
To identify the physiological and anthropometric determinants of sport climbing performance. Forty four climbers (24 men, 20 women) of various skill levels (self reported rating 5.6-5.13c on the Yosemite decimal scale) and years of experience (0.10-44 years) served as subjects. They climbed two routes on separate days to assess climbing performance. The routes (11 and 30 m in distance) were set on two artificial climbing walls and were designed to become progressively more difficult from start to finish. Performance was scored according to the system used in sport climbing competitions where each successive handhold increases by one in point value. Results from each route were combined for a total climbing performance score. Measured variables for each subject included anthropometric (height, weight, leg length, arm span, % body fat), demographic (self reported climbing rating, years of climbing experience, weekly hours of training), and physiological (knee and shoulder extension, knee flexion, grip, and finger pincer strength, bent arm hang, grip endurance, hip and shoulder flexibility, and upper and lower body anaerobic power). These variables were combined into components using a principal components analysis procedure. These components were then used in a simultaneous multiple regression procedure to determine which components best explain the variance in sport rock climbing performance. The principal components analysis procedure extracted three components. These were labelled training, anthropometric, and flexibility on the basis of the measured variables that were the most influential in forming each component. The results of the multiple regression procedure indicated that the training component uniquely explained 58.9% of the total variance in climbing performance. The anthropometric and flexibility components explained 0.3% and 1.8% of the total variance in climbing performance respectively. The variance in climbing performance can be explained by a component consisting of trainable variables. More importantly, the findings do not support the belief that a climber must necessarily possess specific anthropometric characteristics to excel in sport rock climbing.
Article
The purpose of the present paper is to review the existing research on anthropometric and physiological characteristics of sport climbers as well as the physiological responses during the sport climbing. The literature suggests that the sport climbers are characterised by both a low percentage body fat and body mass. A high handgrip strength and high endurance strength also are specific characteristics of sport climbers. In contrast, it is not clear whether maximal oxygen consumption is a determinant of sport climbing performance. Several physiological parameters have been analysed during and after sport climbing such as heart rate, blood lactate and maximal strength. We have observed many differences in the assessment methodology between the studies, suggesting that a standardization of the evaluation protocols is needed in this sport discipline. This review provides a wide knowledge of the characteristics of this sport, as well as identifies particular areas that require further attention.
Cardiovascular responses to sustained and rhythmic (5 s on, 2 s off) forearm isometric exercise to fatigue at 40% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) and to a period of arterial occlusion were investigated in elite rock climbers (CLIMB) as a trained population compared to non-climbing sedentary subjects (SED). Blood pressure (BP), monitored continuously by Finapres, and forearm blood flow, by venous occlusion plethysmography, were measured and used to calculate vascular conductance. During sustained exercise, times to fatigue were not different between CLIMB and SED. However, peak increases in systolic (S) BP were significantly lower in CLIMB [25 (13) mmHg; (3.3 (1.7) kPa] than in SED [48 (17) mmHg; (6.4 (2.3) kPa] (P < 0.05), with a similar trend for increases in diastolic (D) BP. Immediately after sustained exercise, forearm conductance was higher in CLIMB than SED (P < 0.05) for up to 2 min. During rhythmic exercise, times to fatigue were two fold longer in CLIMB than SED [853 (76) vs 420 (69) s, P < 0.05]. Increases in SBP were not different between groups except during the last quarter of exercise when they fell in CLIMB. Conductance both during and after rhythmic exercise was higher in CLIMB than in SED. Following a 10-min arterial occlusion, peak vascular conductance was significantly greater in CLIMB than SED [0.597 (0.084) vs 0.431 (0.035) ml x min(-1) x 100 ml(-1) x mmHg(-1); P < 0.05]. The attenuated BP response to sustained isometric exercise could be due in part to enhanced forearm vasodilatory capacity, which also supports greater endurance during rhythmic exercise by permitting greater functional hyperaemia in between contraction phases. Such adaptations would all facilitate the ability of rock climbers to perform their task of making repetitive sustained contractions.
Article
To quantify the cardiorespiratory responses to indoor climbing during two increasingly difficult climbs and relate them to whole-body dynamic exercise. It was hypothesized that as climbing difficulty increased, oxygen consumption ([V02] and heart rate would increase, and that climbing would require utilization of a significant fraction of maximal cycling values. Elite competitive sport rock climbers (6 male, 3 female) completed two data collection sessions. The first session was completed at an indoor climbing facility, and the second session was an incremental cycle test to exhaustion. During indoor climbing subjects were randomly assigned to climb two routes designated as "harder" or "easier" based on their previous best climb. Subjects wore a portable metabolic system, which allowed measurement of oxygen consumption [V02], minute ventilation ([V02]E), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and heart rate. During the second session, maximal values for [V02], [V02]E, RER, and heart rate were determined during an incremental cycle test to exhaustion. Heart rate and [VO2], expressed as percent of cycling maximum, were significantly higher during harder climbing compared with easier climbing. During harder climbing, %HR(max) was significantly higher than %[V02] (2max) (89.6% vs 51.2%), and during easier climbing, %HR(max) was significantly higher than %[V02] (2max) (66.9% vs 45.3%). With increasing levels of climbing difficulty, there is a rise in both heart rate and [V02]. However, there is a disproportional rise in heart rate compared with [V02], which we attribute to the fact that climbing requires the use of intermittent isometric contractions of the arm musculature and the reliance of both anaerobic and aerobic metabolism.