Trainable Physical Variables as Determinants of Rock Climbing Performance
Kiehl, Shannon M.
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Rock climbing causes a variety of physiological changes over time, as observed in elite climbers. The purpose of this study was to determine which trainable physical variables were the strongest predictors of rock climbing performance. Male (n = 22) and female (n = 3) rock climbers (18-23 yrs) underwent assessments for sixteen variables: climbing volume, body fat percentage (BF%), handgrip and pincer strength and endurance, upper-body strength and endurance and power, lower-body strength and power, balance, hip flexibility, core endurance, and maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max). A scored performance climb was used to measure climbing ability. Upper-body endurance, BF%, climbing volume, core endurance, and VO2max all significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with climbing performance. A backward stepwise regression analysis explained 85.1% of the variance seen in climbing performance. From strongest to weakest, the following physical variables can predict rock climbing performance: upper-body power, handgrip strength, balance, pincer strength, BF%, and pincer enduranc