Award Date

August 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences

First Committee Member

James Navalta

Second Committee Member

Brian Schilling

Third Committee Member

Jack Young

Fourth Committee Member

Szu-Ping Lee

Number of Pages



Background: Rock climbing has been increasing in popularity both recreationally and competitively. Indoor sport rock climbing is a type of climbing where the climber ascends a wall using artificial rocks (hand and foot holds) and is attached to a safety rope. Despite this increase in popularity of the sport, the physiological responses to sport climbing as an exercise to specific muscle groups are not well defined in literature. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to quantify the change in handgrip strength over a 30-minute bout of continuous climbing, specifically in intermediate sport climbers. An additional aim of this study was to quantify any change in forearm girth over a bout of climbing and compare it to the change in strength and to identify if there is a relationship between the two. Methods: Ten intermediate rock climbers [Age: 26.7±6.7 years; Height: 174.5±6.12 cm; Mass: 68.14±8.21 kg; Body Fat %: 15.75± .63 %; Years Climbing: 7.3±4.69 years;] consented to participate and completed baseline handgrip strength (via handgrip dynamometer) and forearm girth (via tape measure) measurements. A climbing questionnaire indicated their rock climbing ability and defined them as intermediate climbers. Each participant ascended one of two 5.9 routes as many times as possible in 30 minutes. After each ascent, heart rate was taken via 15 second radial palpation and handgrip strength and forearm girth was measured. Data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA and correlation at the p < .05 level. Results: Dominant handgrip strength decreased by 22% and non-dominant handgrip strength decreased by 23%. Dominant and non-dominant forearm girth increased by 4.4%. The average heart rate reached while climbing was 71±4.2 % of age-predicted HRmax. Conclusion: Our results show that over a 30 minute bout of climbing, intermediate sport climbers’ handgrip strength decreases and forearm girth increases.


Forearm girth; Handgrip strength; Intermediate; Rock climbing; Sport climbing


Kinesiology | Medicine and Health Sciences

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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