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J Sports Sci. 2003 Aug;21(8):621-30.

Climbing-specific finger endurance: a comparative study of intermediate rock climbers, rowers and aerobically trained individuals.

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lnstitute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.


The aim of this study was to compare the climbing-specific finger endurance of climbers, rowers and aerobically leg trained athletes. Twenty-seven males aged 21.2 +/- 2.2 years (mean +/- s) volunteered for the study. The participants were intermediate rock climbers (n = 9), rowers (n = 9) and leg trained athletes (n = 9). Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) was determined on climbing-specific finger apparatus. Endurance isometric exercise was performed at 40% MVC in three tests performed in a random order: (1) sustained exercise; (2) 6 s exercise, 4 s rest; and (3) 18 s exercise, 12 s rest. Pre- and post-exercise blood pressure and blood lactate concentration, together with post-exercise pain perception, were measured. The climbers had a significantly greater MVC (383 +/- 35.6 N) than the rowers (321 +/- 49.5 N, P = 0.007) and aerobically leg trained athletes (288 +/- 60.6 N, P = 0.001). There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of endurance times for any of the tests. In the test with 18 s exercise and 12 s rest, the climbers showed a significantly higher increase in blood lactate concentration, on average, than the rowers by 0.01-0.89 mmol x l(-1) (P = 0.006); there were no significant differences, on average, in the comparisons of climbers and the leg trained athletes and rowers and the leg trained athletes. There were no significant differences in the average changes in blood pressure from rest to post-exercise between any of the groups. Although the climbers had greater MVC on average than the other two groups, there were no significant differences in average endurance times amongthe groups. These findings suggest that training for rock climbing and participation in rock climbing may result in some specific adaptations. However, we acknowledge that this study is descriptive and there is the possibility that differences between groups could be attributed to self-selection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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