Document Detail

The physiology of rock climbing.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16737345     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In general, elite climbers have been characterised as small in stature, with low percentage body fat and body mass. Currently, there are mixed conclusions surrounding body mass and composition, potentially because of variable subject ability, method of assessment and calculation. Muscular strength and endurance in rock climbers have been primarily measured on the forearm, hand and fingers via dynamometry. When absolute hand strength was assessed, there was little difference between climbers and the general population. When expressed in relation to body mass, elite-level climbers scored significantly higher, highlighting the potential importance of low body mass. Rock climbing is characterised by repeated bouts of isometric contractions. Hand grip endurance has been measured by both repeated isometric contractions and sustained contractions, at a percentage of maximum voluntary contraction. Exercise times to fatigue during repeated isometric contractions have been found to be significantly better in climbers when compared with sedentary individuals. However, during sustained contractions until exhaustion, climbers did not differ from the normal population, emphasising the importance of the ability to perform repeated isometric forearm contractions without fatigue becoming detrimental to performance. A decrease in handgrip strength and endurance has been related to an increase in blood lactate, with lactate levels increasing with the angle of climbing. Active recovery has been shown to provide a better rate of recovery and allows the body to return to its pre-exercised state quicker. It could be suggested that an increased ability to tolerate and remove lactic acid during climbing may be beneficial. Because of increased demand placed upon the upper body during climbing of increased difficulty, possessing greater strength and endurance in the arms and shoulders could be advantageous. Flexibility has not been identified as a necessary determinant of climbing success, although climbing-specific flexibility could be valuable to climbing performance. As the difficulty of climbing increases, so does oxygen uptake (VO(2)), energy expenditure and heart rate per metre of climb, with a disproportionate rise in heart rate compared with VO(2). It was suggested that these may be due to a metaboreflex causing a sympathetically mediated pressor response. In addition, climbers had an attenuated blood pressure response to isometric handgrip exercises when compared with non-climbers, potentially because of reduced metabolite build-up causing less stimulation of the muscle metaboreflex. Training has been emphasised as an important component in climbing success, although there is little literature reviewing the influence of specific training components upon climbing performance. In summary, it appears that success in climbing is not related to individual physiological variables but is the result of a complex interaction of physiological and psychological factors.
Luisa V Giles; Edward C Rhodes; Jack E Taunton
Related Documents :
25426465 - Effects of communal exercise with visual and auditory feedback provided by a smart appl...
16214495 - Adaptive system identification applied to the biomechanical response of the human trunk...
25275765 - Impact of the 2012 london olympic and paralympic games on physical activity of rheumato...
8815395 - Effects of thiamine supplementation on exercise-induced fatigue.
7722125 - Adenosine combined with dynamic exercise for myocardial perfusion imaging.
985275 - Measurement of change in plasma volume during heat exposure and exercise.
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.)     Volume:  36     ISSN:  0112-1642     ISO Abbreviation:  Sports Med     Publication Date:  2006  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-06-01     Completed Date:  2006-11-02     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8412297     Medline TA:  Sports Med     Country:  New Zealand    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  529-45     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Human Kinetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Export Citation:
APA/MLA Format     Download EndNote     Download BibTex
MeSH Terms
Blood Pressure / physiology
Fingers / physiology
Forearm / physiology
Hand Strength / physiology
Heart Rate / physiology
Lactates / blood
Mountaineering / physiology*
Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
Oxygen Consumption / physiology
Physical Endurance / physiology
Reg. No./Substance:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Previous Document:  Airway response during exercise and hyperpnoea in non-asthmatic and asthmatic individuals.
Next Document:  Rational prescribing in primary care (RaPP): a cluster randomized trial of a tailored intervention.