Prior to the 1990s climbing boom there was little research extant other that a handful of studies that mainly focused on climbing injuries and demographics. Fortunately, an increasing number of academics now view rock climbing as a worthy subject of research.

In recent years there have been numerous studies published by British, French, German, and American researchers. In the U.S., Dr. Phil Watts of Northern Michigan University has been leading the push, while others like the U.K.'s Dave Binney have likewise added much to the body of knowledge. Several graduate students, both in the US and abroad, are now jumping in with excellent Thesis projects involving climbing. Following are links to abstracts and papers published by dedicated researchers who share our passion for rock climbing!

As the clearinghouse for information on climbing performance, TFC invites other researchers to submit papers or links for dissemination to a our global audience. Feel free to contact me at Research"at"TrainingForClimbing"dot"com

Photos: Research in motion at the Department of Health, Physical Education & Recreation, Northern Michigan University. Courtesy: Dr. Phil Watts

  • Effects of Active Recovery on Lactate Concentration, Heart Rate, and RPE in Climbing Draper, Bird, Coleman and Hodgson (2006) UK
  • Measuring the Effectiveness of the "Dangling Arm" Shakeout versus the "G-Tox" Technique Luke Roberts (2005) UK
  • The Physiology of Difficult Rock Climbing (PDF) Phillip B. Watts (2004) USA
  • Anthropometry of Young Competitive Sport Rock Climbers (PDF) Watts, Joubert, Lish, Mast, Wilkins (2003) USA
  • Differences in Strength Between Male and Female Competative Rock Climbers D.M.Binney, T.Cochrane (2003) UK
  • Competative Rock Climbers: Phyliological & Anthropometric Attributes D.M.Binney, T.Cochrane (2003) UK
  • Blood Lactate Response to Forearm Specific Exercise in Rock Climbers D.M.Binney, C.G. Rolf (2003) UK
  • Rock Climbing Trajectory: A Global Variable of Rock Climbing Performance D.M.Binney, T.Cochrane (2003) UK

  • Energy specificity of rock climbing and aerobic capacity in competitive sport rock climbers Billat V., Palleja P., Charlaix T., Rizzardo P., Janel N. (1995) France
  • Anthropometric, strength, endurance and flexibility characteristics of elite and recreational climbers Grant S., Hynes V., Whittaker A., Aitchison T. (1996) UK
  • Elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand injuries among sport rock climbers Holtzhausen L.M., Noakes T.D. (1996) South Africa
  • An electromyographic study of arm muscles during climbing Koukoubis T.D., Cooper L,W., Glisson R.R., Seaber A.V., Feagin J.A. Jr. (1995) USA
  • Energy expenditure and physiological responses during indoor rock climbing Mermier C.M., Robergs R.A., McMinn S.M., Heyward V.H. (1997) USA
  • Anthropometric profiles of elite male and female competitive sport rock climbers Watts P.B., Martin D.T., Durtschi S. (1993) USA
  • Acute changes in handgrip strength, endurance, and blood lactate with sustained sport rock climbing Watts P., Newbury V., Sulentic J., (1996) USA
  • Metabolic response during sport rock climbing and the effects of active versus passive recovery Watts P., Daggett M., Gallagher P., Wilkins B. (2000) USA
  • Energy cost of sport climbing in elite performers (pdf file) Booth J., Marino F., Hill C., Gwinn T. (1999) Australia
  • Postural constraints modify the organization of grasping movements (pdf file) Bourdin C., Teasdale N., Nougier V., Bard C., Fleury M. (1999) France
  • Effect of a leg movement on the organization of the forces at the holds in a climbing position in 3-D kinetic analysis (pdf file) Quaine F., Martin L., Blanchio T.P. (1997) France
  • Overuse injuries in the elite rock climber (pdf file) Rohrbough J., Mudge M.K., Schilling R. (2000) USA
  • Indoor rock climbing: who gets injured? (pdf file) Wright D.M., Royle T.J., Marshall T., (2000) UK


  • 1999 International Conference on Science and Technology in Climbing and Mountaineering (University of Leeds, UK)
  • 2nd International Conference on Science and Technology in Climbing and Mountaineering (2002)

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