Purpose. Previous studies have broadened the knowledge about the general characteristics of rock climbing. However, there is a lack of research on rock climbers who are at a similar performance level but have different climbing preferences. The purpose of this study was to focus on what similarities and differences are present in the anthropometric, physiological, and training characteristics of advanced rock climbers. Methods. A group of 31 advanced Polish rock climbers volunteered to participate in the study. A questionnaire was administered to determine their climbing preferences. The participants’ anthropometric characteristics, physical fitness, and aerobic power were measured using standard methods. Results. Similarities were found among the climbers in terms of the training exercises they used, their preference for certain types of rock faces and rock handholds, and their participation in different types of climbing and other sports disciplines. Differences were found among various anthropometrical characteristics, physical fitness, and training exercise frequency between climbers who preferred different climbing styles (on-sight vs. redpoint) or climbing routes (“crux” vs. “endurance”). Conclusions. During the off-season, various training exercises were used, with the majority employing specialized forms of training (bouldering, repeating previously climbed routes, and leading routes in different styles). They practised on average 10 hours a week and preferred climbing overhanging walls with edge handholds. The best results the climbers achieved in on-sight climbing were in foreign countries and by individuals with high aerobic power measured by an arm ergometer test. Climbers who achieved better results in redpointing used the Campus board more frequently when training and completed their most difficult climbs in Poland. Additional differences were noted between climbers who preferred endurance routes and those who preferred shorter climbing efforts (crux routes), with the former presenting better finger flexor muscle endurance and greater muscle mass.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.