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Sports 2015, 3(3), 178-187;

A Comparison of Upper Body Strength between Rock Climbing and Resistance Trained Men

Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton, 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92831, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eling de Bruin
Received: 3 July 2015 / Revised: 23 July 2015 / Accepted: 28 July 2015 / Published: 30 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strength and Conditioning)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [116 KB, uploaded 30 July 2015]   |  


Studies have shown that advanced rock climbers have greater upper body strength than that of novice climbers or non-climbers. The purpose of this study was to compare upper body strength between rock climbing and resistance trained men. Fifteen resistance trained men (age 25.28 ± 2.26 yrs; height 177.45 ± 4.08 cm; mass 85.17 ± 10.23 kg; body fat 10.13 ± 5.40%) and 15 rock climbing men (age 23.25 ± 2.23 yrs; height 175.57 ± 8.03 cm; mass 66.66 ± 9.40 kg; body fat 6.86 ± 3.82%) volunteered to participate. Rock climbing (RC) men had been climbing for at least two years, 2–3 times a week, able to climb at least a boulder rating of V4–5 and had no current injuries. Resistance trained (RT) men had been total body strength training for at least two years, 2–3 times a week with no current injuries. Each participant performed pull-ups to failure, grip strength, and pinch strength. RT were significantly older and heavier than RC. RC performed significantly more pull-ups (19.31 ± 4.31) than RT (15.64 ± 4.82). RC had greater relative pinch strength (R 0.27 ± 0.10 kg/kg; L 0.24 ± 0.07 kg/kg) than RT (R 0.19 ± 0.04 kg/kg; L 0.16 ± 0.05 kg/kg) and greater relative grip strength (R 0.70 ± 0.10 kg/kg; L 0.65 ± 0.12 kg/kg) than RT (R 0.57 ± 0.14 kg/kg; L 0.56 ± 0.15 kg/kg). Overall, RC men demonstrated greater performance in tests involving relative strength when compared to RT men. Rock climbing can promote increased upper body strength even in the absence of traditional resistance training. View Full-Text
Keywords: grip; finger; pinch; pull-ups; push-ups; relative grip; finger; pinch; pull-ups; push-ups; relative

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Macias, K.M.; Brown, L.E.; Coburn, J.W.; Chen, D.D. A Comparison of Upper Body Strength between Rock Climbing and Resistance Trained Men. Sports 2015, 3, 178-187.

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