A comparison of training methods for enhancing climbing performance
Davis, Colin Matthew
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Enhanced climbing performance may be achieved by applying systematic and documented principles to training for climbing. The purposes of this study were (a) to determine if improvements in climbing performance and related physiological variables would result from systematic training on a motorized climbing treadmill, and (b) to compare the effectiveness of two types of prescribed cardiovascular training programs on a motorized climbing treadmill: high-intensity interval training (HIT) and endurance training (ET). Climbing-related anthropometric variables, climbing performance, climbing-specific cardiorespiratory fitness, and climbing-related muscular strength and endurance were measured on 27 volunteers (13 males, 14 females) between the ages of 18 and 37 years, prior to and following six weeks of systematic physical training using a motorized climbing treadmill. Subjects were randomly assigned to training groups, which were similar with regard to gender and climbing experience. The ET program consisted of a single 20-minute bout of climbing at 65-80% of measured pre-test 2peak O for each workout session,; the HIT program consisted of three 6-minute bouts of climbing at 80-95% of measured pre-test 2peak O V & , separated by three minutes of standing rest, for each workout session. Following training, climbing performance tended to be higher as a result of the HIT program compared to the ET program (p = 0.069), while climbing performance was significantly improved following training as a result of either program. Climbing-specific cardiorespiratory fitness did not differ between groups following training. With the exception of hand-grip strength, climbing-related muscular strength and endurance were significantly higher following training, with no differences observed between groups. Small yet significant improvements in climbing-related anthropometric variables were observed following training in both groups with no differences between groups. The results of this study show that six weeks of systematic physical training using a motorized climbing treadmill is capable of improving climbing performance, climbing-related strength and endurance, and climbing-related anthropometric variables. It was concluded that systematic training on a motorized climbing treadmill can be an effective method of increasing climbing-specific fitness and improving climbing performance.