International Journal of Exercise Science 15(4): 834-845, 2022. Indoor sport rock climbing has been increasing in popularity both recreationally and competitively. Despite this increase in popularity, the physiological responses to sport climbing as an exercise to specific muscle groups are not well defined. The purpose of this study was to quantify the change in handgrip strength over a 30-minute bout of continuous climbing, specifically in intermediate-level sport climbers. Ten intermediate rock climbers (age = 27 ± 2 years; climbing experience: 7.3 ± 1.5 years) completed baseline handgrip strength and forearm girth measurements. Each participant ascended one of two 5.9 difficulty routes as many times as possible in 30 minutes. After each ascent, heart rate was obtained, and handgrip strength and forearm girth were measured. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA with significance set at a < 0.05. Dominant arm handgrip strength decreased by 22%, and non-dominant handgrip strength reduced by 23%. Dominant and non-dominant forearm girth increased by 4.5% and 4.4%, respectively. Weak but significant negative correlations were observed between handgrip strength and forearm girth in dominant (r = -0.311, p = 0.001) and non-dominant limbs (r = -.491, p = 0.001). These results indicate a relationship between increased forearm girth and decreases in muscular strength. Since handgrip strength decreases substantially during a 30-min climb in intermediate rock climbers, this population would be advised to carefully monitor recovery time between bouts.
Macdonald, Grace Antoinette; Manning, Jacob W.; Bodell, Nathaniel; Young, John C.; Schilling, Brian K.; Lee, Szu-Ping; and Navalta, James W.
"Acute Handgrip Fatigue and Forearm Girth in Recreational Sport Rock Climbers,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 15
4, Pages 834 - 845.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol15/iss4/21