ArticlePDF Available

Anthropometrical and Physiological Profile of Chinese Elite Sport Climbers

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Introduction: Significant ethnic differences exist in anthropometrical characteristics and body composition between normative Chinese and western populations. Elite climbers relative to age-matched general populations in Europe and North America are generally characterized smaller body size and a low percentage of body fat (%BF) compared to normative data. The variable of a positive arm span to height ratio (ie Ape Index) is often suggested to be advantageous for climbing performance, but has never been reported in Chinese climbers. Aim: To thoroughly examine anthropometrical and physiological characteristics of adult Chinese competition sport climbers, eleven male (30.2±6.3 yrs) and ten female (32.2±5.5 yrs) competition sport climbers from Hong Kong, China, were examined. The mean self-reported on-sight climbing ability was Fr.7a+ (6c to 7c+) and Fr.7a (6b to 7c) respectively. Methods: Anthropometrical characteristics examined were: height, mass, body mass index (BMI), %BF, Ape Index, biiliocristal and biacromial breadths. Physiological variables gathered were: resting heart rate and blood pressure, leg span, handgrip strength, bone mineral density and aerobic capacity. Selected variables were compared with age- and sex-matched Chinese population and western elite climbers previously reported. Conclusion: In comparison to national Chinese statistics, these Chinese climbers had a lower body mass, BMI, %BF, and resting heart rate; similar stature, handgrip strength and resting blood pressure; and a higher bone mineral density and aerobic capacity. Relative to studies on western elite climbers, the Chinese climbers had a smaller body size and lower aerobic capacity; while BMI, %BF, handgrip strength/body mass ratio, and leg span were similar. In addition, both genders possessed an Ape Index >1
Content may be subject to copyright.
Medicina Sportiva
Med Sport 15 (1): 23-29, 2011
DOI: 10.2478/v10036-011-0007-z
Copyright © 2011 Medicina Sportiva
ORIGINAL RESEARCH
23
ANTHROPOMETRICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL PROFILE
OF CHINESE ELITE SPORT CLIMBERS
Wilson W. Cheung1(A,B,C,D,E,F), Tom K. Tong1(C,D,E), Audry B. Morrison2(D,E,F), Raymond W. Leung3(E), Yuk-Luen
Kwo k1(B,E), Shing Wu1(E)
1Department of Physical Education, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China
2Medical commission of Union Internationale des Associations dAlpinisme (UIAA), Bern, Switzerland
3Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science, Brooklyn College of the City University of New
York, Brooklyn NY, USA
Abstract
Introduction: Significant ethnic differences exist in anthropometrical characteristics and body composition between
normative Chinese and western populations. Elite climbers relative to age-matched general populations in Europe and North
America are generally characterized smaller body size and a low percentage of body fat (%BF) compared to normative
data. The variable of a positive arm span to height ratio (ie Ape Index) is often suggested to be advantageous for climbing
performance, but has never been reported in Chinese climbers.
Aim: To thoroughly examine anthropometrical and physiological characteristics of adult Chinese competition sport
climbers, eleven male (30.2±6.3 yrs) and ten female (32.2±5.5 yrs) competition sport climbers from Hong Kong, China,
were examined. The mean self-reported on-sight climbing ability was Fr.7a+ (6c to 7c+) and Fr.7a (6b to 7c) respectively.
Methods: Anthropometrical characteristics examined were: height, mass, body mass index (BMI), %BF, Ape Index,
biiliocristal and biacromial breadths. Physiological variables gathered were: resting heart rate and blood pressure, leg span,
handgrip strength, bone mineral density and aerobic capacity. Selected variables were compared with age- and sex-matched
Chinese population and western elite climbers previously reported.
Conclusion: In comparison to national Chinese statistics, these Chinese climbers had a lower body mass, BMI, %BF,
and resting heart rate; similar stature, handgrip strength and resting blood pressure; and a higher bone mineral density and
aerobic capacity. Relative to studies on western elite climbers, the Chinese climbers had a smaller body size and lower
aerobic capacity; while BMI, %BF, handgrip strength/body mass ratio, and leg span were similar. In addition, both genders
possessed an Ape Index >1.
Keywords: anthropometry, chinese, climbing, ape index, somatotyping, competition climbing
Introduction
Sport climbing participation has grown signifi-
cantly since the 1980’s as its popularity spread globally.
A wealth of scientific studies on climbers exists
and are primarily focused on climbing injuries, fol-
lowed by studies on the physiological responses dur-
ing climbing and anthropometrical data [1-7]. Such
studies are generally authored by Europeans or North
Americans, and report data mostly on adult male
climbers. There is a dearth of research specifically
on Chinese climbers of any ability level or gender.
Most climbers participate in a few types of climbing
styles. Goddard and Neumann [8] suggested that spe-
cific anthropometrical characteristics of rock climbers
are prerequisite to optimal performance, though these
were not clearly stated for each climbing subdiscipline.
More recent climbing studies suggest slightly differ-
ent anthropometrical variables for these styles [3-5];
and have found age, experience and height correlated
positively to elite bouldering performance [4]. Also,
strength endurance correlates strongly with red point
performance in sport climbing [9]. Sheel [10] further
suggested that optimisation of bodily physiological
function including aerobic and anaerobic capacity may
be more, or at least equally, important when assessing
performance variables for competition sport climbers,
including anthropometric characteristics.
In 1989, first annual international world cup climb-
ing competition was held in China. The event sparked
national interest in the sport that then resulted in many
new climbing walls being erected throughout China to
meet the growing demand of novice and competition
climbers. As climbing was a new competition sport to
China, sport science analysis of variables needed by
Chinese climbers to improve performance was desir-
able. It is known that there are significant ethnic dif-
ferences in anthropometrical characteristics and body
composition between Chinese and western popula-
tions. Chinese tend to be smaller in body size and have
less body fat compared to their western counterparts.
The well-described specific physical and physiological
characteristics of western climbers, which provided
directional information for the attainment of a high
standard of the sport, may not be an appropriate refer-
ence for Chinese climbers. Moreover, these variables
may have changed for all climbers since the 1980’s
as climbing grades have increased, and competition
routes have changed.
24
Cheung W.W., Tong T.K., Morrison A.B., Leung R.W., Kwok Y-L., Wu S. / Medicina Sportiva 15 (1): 23-29, 2011
Materials and methods
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the an-
thropometric and physiological characteristics of elite
Chinese male and female sport climbers in order to
provide evidence-based references for competition climb-
ing. Anthropometrical characteristics examined were:
height, mass, body mass index (BMI), percentage body
fat (%BF), arm span, biiliocristal and biacromial breadths.
Physiological variables included resting heart rate and
blood pressure, leg span, handgrip strength, bone min-
eral density and aerobic capacity. Selected variables were
compared with age- and sex-matched norms of Chinese
population published in the Report of National Physical
Fitness Surveillance (RNPFS) [11] and in previous study
of Wong et al. [12]. Selected previous data of western elite
climbers were also used as references.
Participants
Eleven adult male and ten female climbers in Hong
Kong, China, who had trained for a mean period of
9.7±2.9 years and 10.5±4.7 years respectively, volun-
teered to participate in this study. They all performed
at a national competition level. Their physical char-
acteristics are stated in Table 1. The self-reported pre-
season climbing training volume of male participants
was recorded as 3.6±3.5 hr·d-1 and 3.6±2.1 d·wk-1, and
the females trained 3.6±2.5 hr·d-1 and 3.2±1.1 d·wk-1.
The respective ranges of self-reported on-sight and
redpoint climbing ability of the male participants were
Fr.6c to 7c+ (mean = 7a+) and Fr.7b to 8c (mean = 8a),
and Fr.6b to 7c (mean = 7a) and Fr.6c+ to 8a+ (mean =
7c) for the females. Informed written consent was ob-
tained from all participants. The study protocols were
performed in accordance with the 1961 Declaration of
Helsinki and were approved by the Committee on the
Use of Human and Animal Subjects in Teaching and
Research of Hong Kong Baptist University.
Measurements
Anthropometrical and physiological assessments
were performed in controlled laboratory conditions
with a temperature of 22oC and relative humidity of
70%. The participants were requested to refrain from
eating at least two hours prior to testing, and from
participation in strenuous physical activity for at least
one day before physical testing. All anthropometrical
measurements were performed in compliance with
established procedures and were taken by the same
investigator. Standing height was measured to the
nearest 0.5 cm with the participant barefoot and with
their back against a wall-mounted stadiometer. Body
weight was measured to the nearest 0.1 kg using a
TANITA electronic BIA scale (TBF410, Tokyo, Japan).
Arm span was measured in a standing position against
a wall with the arms abducted horizontally at the
height of the shoulders. The distance measured by an
anthropometric tape to the nearest 0.5 cm was from
the tip of one middle finger to that of another [13].
Ape index was defined as the ratio of arm span to body
height [14]. Leg span was determined with the climber,
who was laid flat in a supine position, with the two feet
placed as far apart as possible while the knees remained
straight. The distance between the medial calcaneus
of both legs was measured to the nearest 0.5 cm [15].
Biiliocristal breadth was the distance between the most
lateral points on the iliac tubercles. Biacromial breadth
was the distance between the most lateral points on the
acromion processes. The two breadths were measured
in a standing position with arms relax at both sides.
Lafayette anthropometer was used to measure to the
nearest 2 mm [16].
Skinfold thickness was measured using Harpenden
Skinfold Caliper (Lafayette Instrument, US) to the
nearest 0.2 mm. The four sites measured on the right
side of the participant were triceps, biceps, subscapular
and iliac crest according to Durnin and Womersley
[17]. The average value of three trials was then applied
to the body density (Db) prediction equations [17]
which were age and gender specific. The estimation
of %BF from the predicted body density was accord-
ing to the equation of %BF = (4.97/Db)-4.52 for male
participants and %BF= (4.76/Db)-4.28 for female
participants [18].
Calcaneal bone mineral density (BMD) was
measured using the LUNAR Achilles-plus Solo bone
Densitometer (WI, US), according to the manufac-
tures protocol. Both a Z-score and a T-score were
determined for each measurement [19], and compared
to age and gender specific normative values. A low Z-
score indicated an etiology other than age-related bone
loss. The T-score was used to compare the BMD of the
participant with the mean value for young adults of
the same gender and race; it is used for the diagnosis
of low bone mass or osteoporosis.
Grip strength was measured using an adjustable
handgrip dynamometer (Takei Scientific Instruments,
Japan), with the subject standing, elbow flexed to 90°,
and upper arm in a vertical position. Participant was
given three trials for maximum isometric grip strength.
The highest reading to the nearest 0.5 kg was the result.
Resting heart rate and blood pressure were mea-
sured by an arm-type oscillometric TM-2655 device
(A&D Company Ltd, Tokyo, Japan) after sitting on a
chair quietly for at least five minutes. Aerobic fitness
was assessed using Astrand-Ryhming 6-min sub-
maximal cycle ergometer test. The testing protocol was
described previously [20]. All tests were performed
on a Monark cycle ergometer (828E, Sweden). Heart
rates were monitored using Polar heart rate monitor
(S625, Polar Electro, Finland). The predicted ¦O2max
was determined using Astrand and Ryhming (1954)
protocol [21].
25
Cheung W.W., Tong T.K., Morrison A.B., Leung R.W., Kwok Y-L., Wu S. / Medicina Sportiva 15 (1): 23-29, 2011
Table 2. Anthropometric characteristics of the Chinese male and female climbers
Male climbers (n=11) Female climbers (n=10)
Arm span (cm) 181.1±8.0 (170 – 195) 166.5±11.7 (152 – 196)
Ape index 1.05±0.03 (0.99 – 1.08) 1.05±0.06 (1.00 – 1.22)
Biiliocristal breadth (cm) 26.5±1.1 (24.8 – 28.2) 26.2±1.7 (24.0 – 28.6)
Biacromial breadth (cm) 35.1±1.9 (32.2 – 38.6) 29.1±1.7 (26.4 – 31.8)
Biiliocristal / biacromial ratio 0.76±0.03 (0.71 – 0.80) 0.90±0.04 (0.84 – 0.96)
Leg span (cm) 142 ±11 (118 – 161) 135 ±13 (107 – 148)
Values are Mean± SD (Range)
Table 3. Physiological characteristics of the Chinese male and female climbers
Male climbers
(n=11) Norms Female climbers
(n=10) Norms
Resting heart rate (b
min-1)
67.4±9.4
(49 – 77)
78 b*
(n=10,278)
69.6±7.5
(56 – 83)
78*
(n= 10,387)
Resting blood pressure
(mmHg) Systolic 120.3±21.3
(105 – 137)
118*
(n=10,251)
107.5±12.3
(92 – 126)
106*
(n=10,345)
Diastolic 70.6±9.8
(59-87)
78*
(n=10,246)
64.8±8.4
(53 – 77)
70*
(n=10,342)
Handgrip strength (kg) Right 48.1±9.5
(35.0 – 68.0)
47.6*
(n=10,314)
23.4±4.1
(17.0 – 31.0)
28.1*
(n=10,420)
Left 46.3±8.6
(37.0 – 61.0)
24.1±5.3
(16.0 – 34.0)
Handgrip strength / body
mass ratio
0.81±0.17
(0.63 – 1.19)
0.49±0.09
(0.35 – 0.59)
Bone mineral density T-score 0.1±1.25
(-1.80 – 2.50)
1.7±2.21
(-0.90 – 5.60)
Z-score 0.7±1.19
(-1.80 – 2.90)
2.1±2.23
(-0.50 – 6.10)
¦O2max (ml·kg-1·min-1)44.1±3.8
(38.9 – 50.4)
38.4±7.3 ^
(n=47)
37.1±6.5
(27.5 – 49.4)
27.3±5.1^
(n=47)
Values are Mean±SD (Range)*Median value reported in the RNPFS, 2007 [11]^Mean value reported in the study of Wong et al. [12]
Table 1. Physical characteristics of the Chinese male and female climbers
Male climbers
(n=11) Norms Female climbers
(n=10) Norms
Age (years) 30.2±6.3
(21.0 – 40.0)
32.2±5.5
(25.0 – 41.0)
Weight (kg) 58.4±5.6
(50.6 – 70.2)
66.7*
(n=10,313)
48.7±3.5
(43.2 – 55.5)
53.9*
(n= 10,421)
Height (cm) 172.7±6.2
(162 – 181)
169.3*
(n=10,316)
158.6±4.6
(147.5 – 163.5)
157.8*
(n=10,422)
Body mass index
(BMI)
19.6±0.9
(17.7 – 21.4)
23.3*
(n=10,313)
19.4±1.0
(18.3 – 20.8)
21.6*
(n= 10,421)
Percent body fat (%) 11.0±3.2
(5.8 – 17.2)
20.0%±7.3 ^
(n=47)
27.3±3.4
(22.9 – 33.5)
25.5%±6.0^
(n=47)
Values are Mean±SD (Range)* Median value reported in the RNPFS, 2007 [11]^ Mean value reported in the study of Wong et al. [12]
26
Cheung W.W., Tong T.K., Morrison A.B., Leung R.W., Kwok Y-L., Wu S. / Medicina Sportiva 15 (1): 23-29, 2011
Data analysis
Standard descriptive statistics (means, standard de-
viation, range) were used to present the characteristics
of the participants for all variables. The descriptive
statistics for male and female participants were re-
ported separately. After the data were tested to fulfil the
criteria of normal distribution, One sample t-test was
applied to examine the difference in selected variables
between the mean values of the present study and: (i)
that of the age group of 30-39 yrs from the local Chi-
nese population [12] and; (ii) the median values of the
age group of 30-35 yrs of Chinese population published
in the RNPFS [11]. All tests for statistical significance
were standardized at an alpha level of P<0.05.
Results
Physical characteristics of the Chinese male and
female climbers are shown in Table 1. It was noted that
the body height of the male and female climbers were
close to the median values in the RNPFS while their
body weight and body mass index were lower than the
corresponding median values. In comparison to the
%BF of local population, the value of the male climb-
ers was lower (P<0.05) while the difference in female
climbers was not significant (P >0.05).
Table 2 shows the anthropometric characteristics
of the Chinese climbers. Selected physiological data
of the climbers are in Table 3. In comparison to the
median values of resting heart rate in the RNPFS,
lower values were found in both the male and female
climbers. Systolic blood pressure of the male and fe-
male climbers were close to the median values while
diastolic pressure were lower than median values with
statistical significant difference found in the male
climbers. For the handgrip strength, the values of the
male and female climbers were close to and lower
than the corresponding median values, respectively.
In comparison to the ¦O2max of local population,
the values of both the male and female climbers were
higher (P<0.05).
Discussion
Western elite adult sport climbers are gener-
ally characterized by a small stature and low BMI
compared to normative values [1,3,13,22]. Similar
characteristics were found in Chinese climbers as
well. According to the norms of corresponding age
groups in the RNPFS [11], the body height and weight
of both male and female climbers in the present study
were at the 75th and 25th percentile, respectively. The
BMIs of male and female climbers were at 10th and 25th
percentile, respectively, and were close to the category
of under-weight. The lower body weight and BMI of
the climbers maybe partly attributed to the lower fat
content in body. In comparison to the corresponding
age groups of the local population [12], %BF was lower
in the Chinese male climbers. The attribution of low
fat content of the climbers was further supported by
lean skinfold meansurements of the triceps and sub-
scapular of both male and female climbers with which
the skinfold thicknesses were only at 25th percentile
of related norms in RNPFS [11]. These findings were
in agreement with previous notion that western elite
climbers were characterized by small body size and
low %BF [1,3]. However a lean body mass alone will
not improve any climbing performance and is no
substitute for an appropriate programme of sport
specific training and diet. Eating disorders and an-
orexia are reported among elite climbers [5]; such
excessive leanness may additionally have possible
implications in the fairness of competition as found
in similar lean sports [23], and obviously on health.
There are currently no weight or BMI restrictions in
climbing competitions internationally though this is
being reviewed by the UIAA [Schöffl 2010, personal
communication].
Comparing the physical characteristics of the Chi-
nese climbers with those of western climbers reported
previously in corresponding age groups, the body
weight and height were less in both the Chinese male
and female climbers while the difference in BMI, ap-
proximately 20, and %BF were not apparent [1]. Watts
[24] further suggested that taller climbers may benefit
from an obvious advantage in being able to reach hand-
holds more readily than shorter climbers. However, he
also suggested these taller climbers would likely weigh
more and the longer moment in their arms would drive
their torsos centre of gravity relatively far from the wall
thereby creating biomechanical disadvantages during
climbing. Michailov et al. [4] discovered that taller
climbers had disadvantage in a bouldering world cup
held in 2007 probably due to the competition routes’
properties. However, this theory has not been tested
and competition walls have changed over the decades
and may favour slightly different body types.
Amongst the climbing community, it is believed
that a positive Ape Index is an advantageous variable
for climbing performance, though such evidence is
seldom reported [5]. Giles et al. [2] suggested that a
positive Ape Index (arm span / body height) greater
than 1 was usually found in elite western climbers
and this facilitated an obvious reach advantage during
climbing activity. This view was further endorsed by
Magiera and Ryguła [25]. Rimoin et al. [26] reported
that black people tended to have longer limbs com-
pared with Asians, and that Asians with a short stature
tended to have arm span less than their body height
[27]. However, the Ape Index of Chinese elite climbers
had never been reported. In this study, the Ape Index
of both male and female participants was greater than
1, suggesting this is an advantageous variable in elite
competition climbing.
27
Cheung W.W., Tong T.K., Morrison A.B., Leung R.W., Kwok Y-L., Wu S. / Medicina Sportiva 15 (1): 23-29, 2011
Climber’s back” is a term used to describe an in-
wardly placed shoulder girdle hump that results from
an increased thoracic kyphosis and lumbar lordosis,
and shortened pectoralis muscles. This postural adap-
tation was strongly correlated to male elite climbers
who climbed > UIAA grade 10 [28], and it may also
contribute to a finding of a positive Ape index. In
the present study, we observed several cases of this
postural adaptation in males. The attribution of Ape
Index of > 1 to the postural adaptation from the climb-
ing training in Chinese climbers awaits further study.
Watts [14] found that biiliocristal/biacromial ratio
in young climbers (n=90 aged 13.5±3.0 years) was
generally higher compared to both normative and ath-
letic controls (0.86 vs 0.74) and the climbers also had
a narrower biacromial breadth relative to biiliocristal
breadth. The narrow shoulder structure in combina-
tion with an enhanced Ape Index inferred the longer
absolute arm length (ie longer ‘levers’) in the climbers
compared to controls. This ectomorph somatotype
finding combined with long arms may have implica-
tions for reaching distance that is more important than
variable of Ape Index alone for elite performance. To
our knowledge, the biiliocristal/biacromial ratio of
elite adult climbers has not been reported. Successful
adolescent athletes aged 12 to 18 years normally ex-
hibit a similar somatotype to sport specific adult elites
[5]. Therefore, the data on our Chinese climbers was
respectively compared with those of Watts [14]; the
biiliocristal/biacromial ratio of the Chinese climbers
appeared to be lower in the male (0.76 vs 0.87) and
similar in female (0.9 vs 0.86) while the Ape index of
both male and female Chinese climbers (Male: 1.05
vs 1.02, Female: 1.05 vs 1.01) tended to be higher. It is
possible the differences in the biiliocristal/biacromial
ratio and Ape Index between the two studies could be
attributable to the discrepancies in maturity level and/
or in ethnicity of climbers. Nevertheless, the Chinese
elite climbers possessed an enhanced Ape Index,
and this is very likely a favourable variable for elite
performance of climbing [25] especially as Asians
with a short stature tend to have arm span less than
their body height [27]. However, the anthropometric
characteristic of climbers and physiological responses
under condition is different in each study [5,7].
Climbers must transfer and support their body
mass during complex horizontal and vertical move-
ments primarily by their fingertip grip strength,
engagement of the upper limb muscle groups, and
forces exerted through lower extremities. The variable
of a repeatedly high hand/fingertip strength to fatigue
(notably isometric strength, especially when support-
ing ones body mass) is a key performance variable in
climbing [29,30]. However, elite climbers in previ-
ous reports did not show significant higher absolute
handgrip strength in comparison to the sex- and age-
matched population norms, but they possessed higher
handgrip strength relative to body weight [22,31].
Similar characteristics in handgrip strength were also
observed in the present study. By comparing with the
norms in RNPFS [11], male and female climbers were
at 75th and 25th percentile, respectively. Moreover, the
handgrip strength of both gender in Chinese appeared
to be lower than those reported in western elite climb-
ers (Male: >50 kg, Female: >32 kg) [2,30]. However,
when the handgrip strength was expressed relative to
body weight, the ratio in the Chinese male and female
climbers appeared to be similar to that of their west-
ern counterparts (Male: 0.79, Female: 0.49) [2,13,30].
Such findings indicated that the low body mass of the
Chinese climbers may help compensate for their lower
handgrip muscular strength in comparison to those of
western climbers, in performing the movement against
body mass vertically during climbing.
Leg span is a climbing-specific flexibility test. This
measures hip abduction which is essential for the
bridging movement performed in climbing [15]. In
comparison to the limited previous data, the leg span
of the Chinese male elite climbers (142±11 cm) was
similar to that of western with varied abilities climb-
ers (139±4 cm) [15]. Previous female data was not
available for comparison. All this data reflected the
better flexibility of Chinese climbers in hip abduction,
perhaps because Chinese may have proportionally
shorter legs compared to Western climbers and may
therefore share a similar leg span with them.
Regarding to the calcaneal bone mineral density
(BMD), the Z- and T-score in the present study dem-
onstrated the healthy BMD profiles of Chinese elite
climbers with marked higher scores found in the fe-
male climbers. A study using mice by Mori et al. [32]
indicated that voluntary climbing exercise increased
bone volume and transient osteogenic potential of
their bone marrow. Vicente-Rodriguez et al. [33]
also reported the effort of muscles development and
greater force would increase BMD. During climbing,
the body’s mass acts as the resistance that is lifted and
supported. The healthy profiles in BMD in the Chinese
climbers were in agreement with the previous studies
on climbers [1,3] and resistance-trained counterparts
[34]. It was suggested the mechanical stimulation to
the bones secondary to the intense muscular contrac-
tions enhanced osteogenesis.
In comparison to the norms in RNPFS [11], the
resting heart rate of both Chinese male and female
elite climbers was at 25th percentile. The systolic and
diastolic blood pressures of both genders were at the
75th and 50th percentile, respectively. The healthy rest-
ing heart rate and blood pressure profile of the Chinese
climbers was concomitant with higher ¦O2max in
comparison to that of local populations [12]. How-
ever, the predicted ¦O2max of the Chinese climbers
28
Cheung W.W., Tong T.K., Morrison A.B., Leung R.W., Kwok Y-L., Wu S. / Medicina Sportiva 15 (1): 23-29, 2011
were lower in comparison to that of western high-
level sports climbers reported recently (Male: 53.6±3.7
ml·kg-1·min-1; Female = 49.2±3.5 ml·kg-1·min-1) [1].
The lower values might be partly attributed to the var-
ied testing mode as a sub-maximal cycling exercise test
was used in the present study while the ¦O2max of the
western climbers were directly measured on a vertical
climbing ergometer, where arms and legs were actively
climbing until fatigue, and this testing increased in
velocity during a sport climbing specific test. This
latter test may have resulted in untypically high climb-
ing ¦O2max values. In normal case, the ¦O2max of
climbing (averaged 24.9-27.4 ml·kg-1·min-1) was lower
than cycling or running treadmill exercises (averaged
50.5-54.8 ml·kg-1·min-1) [35,36]. Nevertheless, meta-
bolic data on adults climbing non-stop ‘to climbing
fatigue’ averaged 32-37 ml·kg-1·min-1 suggesting the
Chinese climbers have a sufficient cardiovascular
fitness for climbing [29], and aerobic adaptations to
regular climbing training less.
In conclusion, Chinese elite sport climbers pre-
sented general anthropometric and physiological
characteristics similar to western elite climbers. This
included lower values for: body mass, body mass in-
dex, percent body fat, and resting heart rate; similar
stature, hand grip strength and resting blood pressure;
and higher bone mineral density and aerobic capac-
ity in comparison to the corresponding age group of
general population. Relative to western elite climbers,
the Chinese climbers were shorter in stature and pos-
sessed a lower aerobic capacity while BMI, %BF, ratio
of handgrip strength and body mass, and leg span
were similar. Similar to western counterparts, they also
possessed of the long-arm body figure with marked
high biiliocristal / biacromial ratio and Ape index of
> 1 found in female and in both genders, respectively.
Limitations
There is limited number of subjects and no an-
aerobic capacity was investigated due to limitation
of equipments in this study. Moreover, the relation-
ship between Ape Index and Biiliocristal/Biacromial
Breadths for climbing is worth for future investiga-
tions. Youth and female climbers are still seldom to be
explored in the field. Measurement and analysis the
case of “climber back” maybe determine the relation-
ship on climbing ability.
References
1. España-Romero V, Ortega Porcel FB, Artero EG, et al.
Climbing time to exhaustion is a determinant of climbing
performance in high-level sport climbers. Eur J Appl Physiol
2009; 107: 517-25.
2. Giles LV, Rhodes EC, Taunton JE. The physiology of rock
climbing. Sports Med 2006; 36: 529-45.
3. Kemmler W, Roloff I, Baumann H, et al. Effect of Exercise, Body
Composition, and Nutritional intake on Bone Parameters in
Male Elite Rock Climbers. Int J Sports Med 2006; 27: 653-9.
4. Michailov ML, Mladenov LV, Schoffl VR. Anthropometric
and Strength Characteristics of World-Class Boulderers. Med
Sport 2009; 13: 231-8.
5. Morrison AB, Schöffl VR. Physiological responses to rock
climbing in young climbers. Br J Sports Med 2007; 41: 852-
61.
6. Sanchez X, Boschker MS, Llewellyn DJ. Pre-performance
psychological states and performance in an elite climbing
competition. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2010; 20: 356-63.
7. Schöffl V, Morrison A, Schwarz U, et al. Evaluation of Injury
and Fatality Risk in rock and Ice Climbing. Sports Med 2010;
40:1-23.
8. Go ddard D, Neumann U. Performance rock climbing. Me cha-
nicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1993.
9. Michailov ML. Evolvement and experimentation of a new
interval method for strength endurance development. In:
Moritz FE, Haake S, ed. The Engineering of Sport 6, Volume
2. Development for disciplines. New York: Springer Science
and Business Media, 2006: 291-6.
10. Sheel AW. Physiology of sport rock climbing. Br J Sports Med
2004; 38: 355-9.
11. General administration of Sport of China. Report on the
National Physical Fitness Surveillance. Beijing: Beijing Sport
University Press, 2007.
12. Wong SYS, Chan FWK, Lee CK, et al. Maximum oxygen
uptake and body composition of healthy Hong Kong Chinese
adult men and women aged 20 – 64 years. J Sports Sc 2008;
26: 295–302.
13. Mermier CM, Janot JM, Parker DL, et al. Physiological and
anthropometric determinants of sport climbing performance.
Br J Sports Med 2000; 34: 359–66.
14. Watts PB, Joubert LM, Lish AK, et al. Anthropometry of
young competitive sport rock climbers. Br J Sports Med 2003;
37:420–4.
15. Grant S, Hynes V, Whittaker A, et al. Anthropometric,
strength, endurance and flexibility characteristics of elite and
recreational climbers. J Sports Sci 1996; 14: 301-9.
16. Schell J, Leelarthaepin B. Physical fitness assessment in exercise
and sport science. Sydney: Leelar Biomedical Services, 1994.
17. Durnin JV, Womersley J. Body fat assessed from total body
density and its estimation from skinfold thickness: Measure-
ments on 481 men and women aged from 16 to 72 years. Br
J Nutr 1974; 32: 77–97.
18. Heyward VH. Advanced fitness assessment and exercise pre-
scription (4th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2002.
19. Mirsky EC, Einhorn TA. Current Concepts Review - Bone
Densitometry in Orthopaedic Practice. J Bone Joint Surg 1998;
80: 1687-98.
20. Adams GM, Beam WC. Exercise physiology laboratory manual
(5th ed.). NY: McGraw-Hill, 2007.
21. Astrand PO, Ryhming I. A nomogram for calculation of
aerobic capacity from pulse rates during submaximal work.
J Appl Physiol 1954; 7: 218-21.
22. Watts PB, Newbury V, Sulentic J. Acute changes in handgrip
strength, endurance, and blood lactate with sustained sport
rock climbing. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 1996; 36: 255–60.
23. Muller W. A Scientific Approach to Address the Problem of
Underweight Athletes A Case Study of Ski Jumping. Med Sci
Sports Exerc 2002; 34: 124.
24. Watts PB. Physiology of difficult rock climbing. Eur J Appl
Physiol 2004; 91: 361-72.
25. Magiera A, Ryguła I. Biometric model and classification
functions in sport climbing. J Hum Kinet 2007; 18: 87‐98.
26. Rimoin DL, Borochowitz Z, Horton WA. Short stature – phy-
siology and pathology [medical progress]. West J Med 1986;
144: 710–21.
27. Yun DJ, Yun DK, Chang YY, et al. Correlations among height,
leg length and arm span in growing Korean children. Ann
Hum Biol 1995; 22: 443–38.
28. Förster R, Penka G, Bösl T, et al. Climber’s back - form and
mobility of the thoracolumbar spine leading to postural ada-
ptations in male high ability rock climbers. Int J Sports Med
2009; 30: 53-9.
29
Cheung W.W., Tong T.K., Morrison A.B., Leung R.W., Kwok Y-L., Wu S. / Medicina Sportiva 15 (1): 23-29, 2011
29, Kupper T, Morrison A, Gieseler U, et al. Sport climbing with
pre-existing cardio-pulmonary medical conditions. Int J
Sports Med 2009; 30: 395–402.
30. Watts PB, Jensen RL, Gannon E. et al. Forearm EMG during
rock climbing differs from EMG during handgrip dynamo-
me tr y. Int J Exerc Sci 2008; 1: 4-13.
31. Watts PB, Martin DT, Durtschi S. Anthropometric profiles
of elite male and female competitive sport rock climbers. J
Sports Sci 1993; 11: 113-7.
32. Mori T, Okimoto N, Sakai A, et al. Climbing exercise increases
bone mass and trabecular bone turnover through transient
regulation of marrow osteogenic and osteoclastogenic poten-
tials in mice. J Bone Miner Res 2003; 18(11): 2002-9.
33. Vicente-Rodriguez G, Ara I, Perez-Gomez J, et al. Muscular
development and physical activity as major determinants of
femoral bone mass acquisition during growth. Br J Sports Med
2005; 39: 611-6.
34. Sherk VD, Bemben MG, Bemben DA. Comparisons of bone
mineral density and bone quality in adult rock climbers,
resistance-trained men, and untrained men. J Strength Cond
Res 2010; 24: 2468-74.
35. Billat V, Palleja P, Charlaix T, et al. Energy specificity of rock
climbing and aerobic capacity in competitive sport rock
climbers. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 1995; 35: 20–4.
36. Wilkins B, Watts PB, Wilcox A. Metabolic responses during
rock climbing in expert sport rock climbers (abstract). Med
Sci Sports Exerc 1996; 28: 159.
Received: December 12, 2010
Accepted: February 28, 2011
Published: March 01, 2011
Address for correspondence:
Wilson W. Cheung
Dr. Stephen Hui Research Center for Physical Recreation and Wellness,
NAB110, L1, David C. Lam Bldg. Shaw Campus,
Hong Kong Baptist University,
Renfrew Rd.,
Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China
Tel: (852) 34117770
E-mail: cwywilson@gmail.com
Tong TK: tongkk@hkbu.edu.hk
Morrison AB : audrym@gmail.com
Leung RW: rleung brooklyn.cuny.edu
Yuk-Luen Kwok: 07014163@hkbu.edu.hk
Shing Wu: 09466932@hkbu.edu.hk
Authors’ contribution
A – Study Design
B – Data Collection
C – Statistical Analysis
D – Data Interpretation
E – Manuscript Preparation
F – Literature Search
G – Funds Collection
... This tendency is the main reason for more and more interest of researchers. The focus of researchers has been on speed climbing, bouldering, and lead climbing, which are the main types of climbing competition (4,7,9,16,18,28,29,(35)(36)(37). In 2006, bouldering was included into the structure of sport climbing by the decision of the International Federation of Sport Climbing. ...
... In most studies, the number of somatic variables analyzed by authors is relatively small compared with the number of motor ability tests. Among the most frequently determined somatic variables are body height and body mass (4,7,9,16,18,28,29,36,37), body fat mass (4,7,9,16,18,36,37), muscular mass (7,16,37), arm length (7,9,18), leg length (9,18), arm's reach (4,16,18), leg span (4,9), and shoulder width and pelvis width (4). The description of the lead climbers that Watts (36) compiled from a review of climbing studies presented them in relation to nonathletes as short individuals with low body fat percentage and lower body mass. ...
... In most studies, the number of somatic variables analyzed by authors is relatively small compared with the number of motor ability tests. Among the most frequently determined somatic variables are body height and body mass (4,7,9,16,18,28,29,36,37), body fat mass (4,7,9,16,18,36,37), muscular mass (7,16,37), arm length (7,9,18), leg length (9,18), arm's reach (4,16,18), leg span (4,9), and shoulder width and pelvis width (4). The description of the lead climbers that Watts (36) compiled from a review of climbing studies presented them in relation to nonathletes as short individuals with low body fat percentage and lower body mass. ...
Article
The study was designed to determine the values of selected somatic characteristics, body proportions and the somatotype of elite bouldering climbers in Poland and to establish the relationships between the values of the somatic characteristics and climber's performance in bouldering. The study was conducted in a group of elite sport climbers (n=10) who were ranked by the Polish Mountaineering Association (PMA) in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The anthropometric measurements were made according to the relevant rules and standards. The results were used to calculate the values of somatic variables and body proportion indices for the climbers and to establish their somatotype. The results were compared to the data on untrained students (n=165). The boulderers were found to differ significantly from the controls regarding body height (p<0.01), body mass (p <0.05), body density (p<0.01), fat mass percentage (FM%) (p<0.01), fat mass (FMkg) (p<0.01), lean body mass (LBM) (p<0.05), arm span (p<0.05) and leg length (p<0.01). Body proportions in the groups significantly differed in the arm length index (p<0.01), arm-to-leg length ratio (p<0.01), as well as in the indices of the forearm (p<0.01), thigh (p<0.01) and lower leg (p<0.05) muscles. With regard to the somatotypes of the analysed groups, the biggest differences were observed for the levels of mesomorphy (NS) and endomorphy, the latter being statistically significant (p<0.01). The strongest and significant correlations between the competitive level of the climbers and the values of their somatic characteristics were established for fat mass percentage (r= -0.81), fat mass (in kg) (r= -0.82), body density (r= 0.81), endomorphy (r= -0.74), arm length (r= 0.77) and the arm length index (r= 0.80). The results of linear regression showed that the competitive level of a bouldering climber was significantly explained (p<0.01) by fat mass (in kg) and the value of the arm length index. A high level of performance in bouldering is related to small stature (an ecto-mesomorph somatotype) and a low body fat percentage (low endomorphy). As regards body proportions, greater than average arm length to body height ratio and well-developed musculature of the limbs are required for a boulderer to perform on a competitive level. High arm length index and low body fat percentage represent the strongest determinants of performance in bouldering. It can be assumed that arm length index has a high diagnostic value for recruitment and selection of climbers.
... Training programs must therefore be planned regarding such variables. Lack of attention to required attributes of sport may lead to a waste of time and funding (Cheung et al., 2011;Gualdi-Russo & Zaccagni, 2001). Surely, such attributes may have role in athletic success. ...
... Тренажни програми се стога морају планирати у односу на те варијабле. Недостатак пажње посвећене неопходним особинама спорта може довести до губљења времена и средстава (Cheung, et al., 2011;Gualdi--Russo & Zaccagni, 2001). Наравно, такве особине могу имати улогу у спортском успеху. ...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to examine the anthropometric, physiological and physical traits of elite mountain climbers and relationship of these traits to success in mountain climbing. Thirty-eight elite male Iranian mountain climbers (height of 178.68 ± 5.77 cm, body mass index of 23.4 ± 2.78 kg/m 2 and age of 31.26 ± 6.93 years) were assessed for some anthropometric, physiological and physical variables. So that, height, weight, and also length and circumference of limbs were measured. Percent body fat was determined by 3 sites measurements of skin-folds thickness. Aerobic power was assessed via a 12-minute run, anaerobic power was determined using anaerobic step test, Vertical and horizontal jump performance were evaluated with Sargent jump and standing long jump tests respectively, 40 yard dash was used to assess speed, and muscular endurance of torso and upper body were evaluated using sit-ups and push-ups tests. The sum of scores related to sport achievements was considered as the criterion evaluating success of mountain climbers. Anthropometric traits (only age and percent body fat) showed a poor positive relationship (p<0.05) with success. Whilst there were relatively strong relationship between physiological and physical traits including aerobic power (p<0.01), an-aerobic power (p<0.01), vertical jump (p<0.05), lower body strength (p<0.01) and muscular endurance of torso (p<0.05) and upper body (p<0.01) with success of mountain climbers. Results indicate the importance of physiological and physical traits compared to anthropometric traits of mountain climbers and successful climbing depends largely on aforementioned characteristics.
... Climbers, in general, believe that smaller body weight positively affects their climbing. According to previous studies on the morphological characteristics and somatotypisation of sport climbers, these athletes are characterized by a relatively small body height, weight and BMI compared to other athletes and non-athletes (Watts, Martin & Durtschi, 1993;Watts, Joubert, Lish, Mast & Wilkins, 2003;Cheung, 2009;Tomaszewski, Gajewski & Lewandowska, 2011;Cheung, Tong, Morrison, Leung, Kwok et al., 2011). Their somatotype is ectomorphic mesomorph (Alvero-Cruz, 2011) and mesomorphic ectomorph (Viviani & Calderan, 1991) with a small body fat percentage (Viviani et al., 1991;Watts et al., 1993;Watts et al., 2003;Cheung 2009;Tomaszewski et al., 2011;Cheung et al., 2011). ...
... According to previous studies on the morphological characteristics and somatotypisation of sport climbers, these athletes are characterized by a relatively small body height, weight and BMI compared to other athletes and non-athletes (Watts, Martin & Durtschi, 1993;Watts, Joubert, Lish, Mast & Wilkins, 2003;Cheung, 2009;Tomaszewski, Gajewski & Lewandowska, 2011;Cheung, Tong, Morrison, Leung, Kwok et al., 2011). Their somatotype is ectomorphic mesomorph (Alvero-Cruz, 2011) and mesomorphic ectomorph (Viviani & Calderan, 1991) with a small body fat percentage (Viviani et al., 1991;Watts et al., 1993;Watts et al., 2003;Cheung 2009;Tomaszewski et al., 2011;Cheung et al., 2011). Watts et al. (2003) believe that decreased endomorphy represents an advantage in climbing. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this research was to determine if there is any influence of somatotype components on success in sport climbing on natural rock. The research was conducted on 31 male, Serbian sport climbers (mean age: 28.1 ± 5.5 years, body height 181.2 ± 6.5cm, weight 72 ± 6.2kg) with a climbing experience of 6.7 ± 4.1 years. Ten measurements were used for calculating somatotype components and regression analysis was used to determine the influence of somatotype components on competition results. The results showed that there is a statistically significant influence of somatotype components on competition results. The endomorphic component showed a statistically significant influence on success, while the mesomorphic and the ectomorphic component did not influence success in sport climbing. We can conclude that sport climbers can benefit from low body fat, which can improve their climbing results.
... Furthermore, differences among male and female elite climbers (24-37 years old) were not found in general fitness tests (sit & reach relative handgrip strength) (Espana-Romero et al., 2009). However, Wu et al. (2011) show the results from Chinese elite climbers (23-38 years old), where gender differences in handgrip strength are found (males have better results). Regarding anthropometric characteristics, male climbers had lower body fat percentage, longer arm length, and higher BMI compared to females (Espana-Romero et al., 2009). ...
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.
... Upper body anaerobic strength and endurance are two of the most important components that determine sport climbing performance [6]. With this in mind, there are some physical and physiological differences between elite and non-elite climbers such as anthropometry features, finger strength, flexibility, handgrip force, aerobic and work capacity [7,8]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction. Sport climbing, which is included in 2020 Olympic Games, is a new sport that is both recreational and performance-focused while being the subject of scientific research all around the world. The aim of this study was to analyze the changes in lactate concentration, heart rate and handgrip forces all at once in the actual sport climbing competition. Material and Methods. Thirteen male climbers volunteered for this study. The climbers climbed three different routes prepared according to the International Federation of Sport Climbing standards that are classified as easy, medium and difficult. Lactate, heart rate, dominant and non-dominant handgrip forces were measured for each route before climbing, immediately after, and during the third and fifth minutes after climbing. Climbing performance was determined using the number of holds that the competitor reached. Results. We observed significantly higher post-lactate concentration in comparison to the pre-climbing values for all climbing routes (p < 0.05). Statistical observation shows that post-climbing heart rate values were considerably higher than the pre-climbing values for all three climbing trials (p < 0.05). There were also statistically significant differences in climbing performance and handgrip force between the three routes (p < 0.05). Conclusions. According to the results of this study, significant increases were noted in all three climbing routes relative to the pre-climb in lactate, heart rate and climbing performance data between the routes.
... The highest value (kg) was recorded as grip strength. The subjects in a standing position held the manual muscle tester with arm flexed 90 degrees at the elbow, upper arm in a vertical position, with palm facing down(Cheung, Tong, Morrison, Leung, Kwok & Wu, 2011). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction: Indoor rock climbing is an activity that may be considered an alternative to the competitive sport skill related physical education classes that not all students find appealing. This activity has been found to provide health and fitness benefits to its participants. The purpose of this study is to determine if a four-week climbing program will affect the physical and performances indices of its participants and determine whether gender has an influence on these indices. Methods: 32 college physical education students, 16 female (age, SD = 18.1, 1.16 years; height, SD = 157, 7.27 cm) and 16 male (age, SD = 19.0, 1.32 years; height, SD = 166, 4.96 cm) who had no previous climbing experience participated in the study. They were measured for anthropometric, power and strength characteristics, before and after the four-week climbing program. Results: Results from two-way repeated measures ANOVA revealed that males posted greater pull up performance than females, F(1, 15) = 13.2, partial η 2 = .468, p < 0.01. Also, improved post scores compared to pretest scores for fat%, waist circumference, waist to hip ratio, pushups, pull ups, plank test, flexibility and traverse tests were found for both males and females. Conclusion: In conclusion, a four week climbing program has positive effects on the physical and performance indices of the male and female participants. However, only pull up performance differentiated gender comparison effects which favored males. Keywords: Indoor rock climbing, physical education, college students, gender difference
... Another trend in the community is that the ratio of height to arm length, or ape index, has an effect on performance. Ape index has been measured in several studies including, Magiera and Roczniok (13), Magiera et al. (14), Michailov (16), and Cheung et al., (5). Though Magiera et al. (14) found ape index to be one of seven characteristics that described overall performance capacity, most other studies are inconclusive on the matter. ...
Article
Full-text available
This review seeks to centralize research on contemporary training techniques and their purpose in the development of training programs for elite level climbing. A needs analysis determined that elite level rock climbing demonstrates a need for muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility (namely in the hip joint) to be enhanced in order to improve performance in rock climbing. Current research into sport specific exercises for rock climbers focuses on maximal strength in the finger flexor and forearm muscles with respect to body weight. Additional attributes that contributed to performance are the shoulder girdle and core muscles, flexibility in the hip joints, and enhanced anaerobic energy pathways. The sport specific exercises identified for development of sport specific attributes are: hang board, campus board, system training, and hyper gravity training. Through an informal movement analysis, three phases of climbing were determined: stabilization, preparation, and displacement. Potential application of the sport specific exercises can be derived from these phases of movement. Exercises that closely replicate certain phases of movement present greater likelihood of improving performance. Future research in performance enhancement of rock climbers needs to evaluate the efficacy of hang board, campus board, system training, and hyper gravity training in order to reliably demonstrate the value of these exercises. Furthermore, little research has been conducted evaluating the effect of leg and core strength on elite level rock climbing. In order for coaches and athletes to apply these findings, close evaluation of climbing movement must be 1 / 10 Analysis of Contemporary Anaerobic Sport Specific Training Techniques for Rock Climbing - 06-24-2016 by U.S. Sports Academy - The Sport Journal - http://thesportjournal.org conducted in order to best match training apparatus to weaknesses in the athlete’s training. All of the exercises will improve maximal voluntary contractile strength in the finger flexor and forearm muscles. Improving this attribute alone will only assist in the stabilization phase of climbing movement, while each exercise can serve to improve aspects of the other phases of movement.
... In fact, volleyball athletes have high fat free mass and low body fat percentage (Duncan, Woodfield & Al-Nakeeb 2006). A similar trend in terms of physical characteristics were also seen in track and field (Claessens et al. 1994), sport climbing (Cheung et al. 2011). Although there were studies that investigated anthropometric profiles of badminton players (Campos et al. 2009, Ooi et al. 2009), studies about Filipino players are limited (Cardenas 2006, Castro 2010. ...
Article
The objective of this study was to analyze the anthropometric measurements of Filipino collegiate players. Fifty badminton collegiate players (Female n = 27, mean (SD) age 17.07 (1.35); Male n = 23, mean age 18.43 (2.00) years) were assessed on anthropometric variables: stature, body mass and skinfold thickness. Results showed that female players had lower BMI (Body Mass Index) and higher sum of skinfolds compared to males. Waist-to hip ratio (WHR) scores of males and females were similar, but WHR score of females was 0.83, which is a measure of abdominal adiposity. It is a concern that female players appear to have more fat than normally found in badminton players. Aside from additional aerobic workout in the female players' conditioning program, proper nutritional assistance is suggested.
Article
Full-text available
Alpinism is climbing to high mountains every season by hardly accessible and steep walls due to the discovery of the beauty of the natural environment, as well as the strengthening of physical strength, endurance and will. To ensure that alpinists are able to successfully and safely perform their ascents and achieve top sporting results, well-developed motor skills, as well as balanced morphological characteristics are necessary. Motor skills are the result of complex man's ability to manifest motor structures in certain activities, which integrate psychic characteristics, biochemical processes and functional changes. The aim of the research is to examine the differences in the morphological characteristics and motor skills of alpinists and other athletes, ages 16-26, both sexes. The sample of the respondents is 30 athletes, 15 alpinists (6 women and 9 men) and 15 other athletes (8 women and 7 men). It has been found that male alpinists are different from other athletes to the extent of BMI body composition. Women alpinists differ from other athletes in the capacity of the explosive muscle strength of the leg armpit. Alpinists, both sexes have better results than other athletes, both sexes in the relative strength and stamina of the upper body. Between alpinists and other athletes, both sexes have no difference in motor skills, agility and speed of movement, and ability to maintain balance on the front of the foot. The paper presents a good starting point for trainers to learn morphological characteristics and motor skills, as well as to plan the training process in the future.
Article
Full-text available
Sports climbing was included in the sports program of the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, which opened the first Olympic training cycle for climbers claiming to participate in the XXXII Olympic Games. The coaching team is required a thought-out plan for athletic training of the national team and the nearest reserve, an part of which is the testing complex of the scientific support, which need general and specific athletic and physiological targets. This task can not be solved without a preliminary analysis of scientific literature on this issue, which will identify the key physical and physiological characteristics and their target (model) values that affect the athletic performance of climbers. This review is focused at the issue of aerobic power and cardiorespiratory fitness of sport climbers.
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.
Chapter
Method: Six climbers age 19 to 42, with experience of 3 to 27 years and self-reported red-point best achievement 8+ to 10-UIAA, have trained for 7 weeks, 3 times a week. The new method is represented by alternating in difficulty doing repetitions (8–10): of easy (20–30 hand moves) and “difficult” routes (15–20 moves) and breaks of 30–60 s (depending on the climbers’ self-confidence). The number of the sets was 2–3, with 20–30 min breaks in-between. Tests: In order to establish the climbers initial and final level of performance, a cycling ergometry and two climbing tests where made. Results: The mean maximum oxygen consumption estimated by cycling was 51.08 (ml/min/kg). No relation has been established between VO2 max and climbing performance in the two tests. The climbing tests registered improvement of 43% in the one-minute test and of 32% in the five-minute test. There have been statistically significant differences between the initial and final results. Conclusion: The new method develops the specific strength endurance. A further research is needed to compare the new method with other types of training.
Article
In elite climbers, the development of "climber's back" has often been subjectively referred to. However no scientific proof is present. In a cross-sectional cohort study, the spines of 80 healthy asymptomatic male sport climbers were examined. The performance-oriented sport climbers (SC) trained regularly (9.8 +/- 4.3 hr/wk) and had a mean climbing ability of 9.7 +/- 0.6; the 34 recreational climbers (control group) (RC) climbed less frequently (3.4 +/- 2.0 hr/wk) and had a mean climbing ability of 6.0 +/- 0.9. Measurement of the sagittal thoracolumbar spine was performed using the "SpinalMouse". The kyphosis angle in the erect posture was significantly greater in SC verses the RC. The lordosis angle was also greater in SC versus RC but did not reach significance. No significant differences were found in flexion and extension. Further evaluation of the SC group was carried out by subdividing them to a moderate group (SC-moderate) (n = 17) and top-level group SC-top level) (n = 29). Here the kyphosis angle was significantly greater in SC-top-level than in SC-moderate. The results demonstrated that "climber's back" was characterized by an increased thoracic kyphosis, increased lumbar lordosis, and was probably influenced by shortened pectoralis muscles. The climbing ability level was strongly correlated to the postural adaptations.
Article
The nature of muscular contractions and episodes of impact loading during technical rock climbing are often varied and complex, and the resulting effects on bone health are unclear. The purpose of this study was to compare total body, lumbar spine, proximal femur, and forearm areal bone mineral density (aBMD) and tibia and forearm bone quality in male rock climbers (RC) (n = 15), resistance trained men (RT) (n = 16), and untrained male controls (CTR) (n = 16). Total body, anteroposterior (AP) lumbar spine, proximal femur, and forearm aBMD and body composition were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) (Lunar Prodigy, v. 10.50.086; GE Healthcare, Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S.A.). Volumetric BMD (vBMD), bone content, bone area, and muscle cross-sectional area (MCSA) of the tibia and forearm were measured using pQCT (peripheral quantitative computed tomography; Stratec XCT 3000, Pforzheim, Germany). No significant group differences were seen in bone-free lean body mass. CTR had significantly (p < 0.05) greater body fat % than RC and RT and significantly (p < 0.05) greater fat mass than RC. Lumbar spine and femoral neck aBMD were significantly (p < 0.05) greater in RT compared to both RC and CTR. RC had significantly (p < 0.05) lower aBMD at the 33% radius site than CTR. Forearm MCSA was significantly (p < 0.05) lower in CTR than in the other groups. No significant differences were seen between groups for vBMD or bone area of the tibia and forearm. In conclusion, resistance-trained men had higher bone density at the central skeletal sites than rock climbers; however, bone quality variables of the peripheral limbs were similar in rock climber and resistance-trained groups.