and physiological responses during indoor rock climbing
Source: British Journal
of Sports Medicine. 31(3):224-8, 1997 Sep.
Authors: Mermier CM. Robergs RA. McMinn SM. Heyward VH.
Institution: Center for Exercise and Applied Human Physiology, University of
New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131, USA.
OBJECTIVES: To report the
physiological responses of indoor rock climbing.
METHODS: Fourteen experienced
climbers (nine men, five women) performed three climbing trials on an indoor
climbing wall. Subjects performed three trials of increasing difficulty: (a)
an easy 90 degrees vertical wall, (b) a moderately difficult negatively angled
wall (106 degrees), and (c) a difficult horizontal overhang (151 degrees).
At least 15 minutes separated
each trial. Expired air was collected in a Douglas bag after four minutes of
climbing and heart rate (HR) was recorded continuously using a telemetry unit.
Arterialised blood samples were obtained from a hyperaemised ear lobe at rest
and one or two minutes after each trial for measurement of blood lactate.
RESULTS: Significant differences
were found between trials for HR, lactate, oxygen consumption (VO2), and energy
expenditure, but not for respiratory exchange ratio. Analysis of the HR and
VO2 responses indicated that rock climbing does not elicit the traditional linear
HR-VO2 relationship characteristic of treadmill and cycle ergometry exercise.
During the three trials,
HR increased to 74-85% of predicted maximal values and energy expenditure was
similar to that reported for running at a moderate pace (8-11 minutes per mile).
CONCLUSIONS: These data
indicate that indoor rock climbing is a good activity to increase cardiorespiratory
fitness and muscular endurance. In addition, the traditional HR-VO2 relationship
should not be used in the analysis of this sport, or for prescribing exercise
intensity for climbing.