Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2018 Feb;118(2):371-379. doi: 10.1007/s00421-017-3779-6. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Cardiovascular and metabolic responses during indoor climbing and laboratory cycling exercise in advanced and élite climbers.

Author information

Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Via Colombo 71, 20133, Milan, Italy.
Centre of Sport Health and Mountain (CeRiSM), University of Verona, Rovereto, Italy.
Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Via Colombo 71, 20133, Milan, Italy.
Department of Neurosciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.
IRCCS, Don C. Gnocchi Foundation, Milan, Italy.



To validate heart rate (f H) as an effective indicator of the aerobic demands of climbing, the f H vs oxygen uptake ([Formula: see text]) relationship determined during cycling exercise and climbing on a circular climbing treadwall was compared. Possible differences in maximum aerobic characteristics between advanced and élite climbers were also assessed.


Seven advanced and six élite climbers performed a discontinuous incremental test on a cycle ergometer and a similar test on a climbing treadwall. Cardiorespiratory and gas exchange parameters were collected at rest and during exercise.


The f H vs [Formula: see text] relationship was steeper during cycling than climbing at submaximal exercise for both groups and during climbing in the élite climbers as compared to the advanced. At peak exercise, [Formula: see text] was similar during both cycling and climbing (3332 ± 115 and 3193 ± 129 ml/min, respectively). Despite similar [Formula: see text], the élite climbers had a higher peak workload during climbing (11.8 ± 0.8 vs 9.2 ± 0.3 m/min in élite and advanced climbers, respectively; P = .024) but not during cycling (291 ± 13 and 270 ± 12 W in élite and advanced climbers, respectively).


Our findings indicate that care should be taken when energy expenditure during climbing is estimated from the f H vs [Formula: see text] relationship determined in the laboratory. The level of climbing experience significantly affects the energy cost of exercise. Last, the similar aerobic demands of cycling and climbing at peak exercise, suggest that maximum [Formula: see text]may play an important role in climbing performance. Specific training methodologies should be implemented to improve aerobic power in climbers.


Heart rate; Indoor climbing; Lactate; Oxygen uptake; RPE; Treadwall

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center