Influence of climbing style on physiological responses during indoor rock climbing on routes with the same difficulty
de Geus, B.; Villanueva O'Driscoll, Sán.; Meeusen, R.
European Journal of Applied Physiology 98(5): 489-496
The objectives of this study were to (1) continuously assess oxygen uptake and heart rate; (2) quantify the extent to which maximal whole-body cardiorespiratory capacity is utilized during climbing on four routes with the same difficulty but different steepness and/or displacement. Fifteen expert climbers underwent a maximal graded exercise test (MT), on a treadmill, in order to assess their maximal physiological capacity. After MT, four sport routes, equal in difficulty rating but different in steepness and/or displacement, were climbed. Oxygen uptake and heart rate were continuously measured. Respiratory exchange ratio (RER) was calculated. Blood lactate concentration and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were taken before and directly after climbing. Data were expressed as peak values (HRpeak, VO(2)peak and RERpeak) and as averages over the entire climb (HRavg, VO(2)avg and RERavg). During climbing, higher HRpeak and HRavg were found in routes with a vertical upward displacement in comparison to traversing routes with a horizontal displacement. The average absolute and relative oxygen uptake was significantly lower in the traversing route in comparison with the three other routes. The traverse is done at a lower percent of the running maximum. Comparing four routes with the same difficulty but different steepness and/or displacement shows that (1) routes with an upward displacement causes the highest peak and average heart rate; (2) routes with a vertical displacement on overhanging wall is physiologically the most demanding; (3) the traverse is physiologically the less demanding.