Comparison of Grip Strength in Recreational Climbers and Non-Climbing Athletes-A Cross-Sectional Study.


In recent years, climbing sports is on the rise making its Olympic debut in 2021. Physiological traits of professional rock climbers have been intensively studied, while recreational indoor climbers are less investigated, especially regarding grip strength and upper extremity proportions. In this cross-sectional study, we aimed to understand what discerns the recreational climber from disparate recreational athletes. Therefore, we analyzed 50 recreational climbing (30.3 +/- 12.7 years, 1.76 +/- 0.09 m and 67.0 +/- 14.0 kg) and 50 non-climbing athletes (26.4 +/- 9.1 years, 1.78 +/- 0.09 m and 73.2 +/- 12.6 kg) to detect differences in their finger grip strength of seven different pinches. In addition, the upper extremity proportions were measured. Even in recreational climbers, almost all analyzed grips were stronger compared to other athletes (p < 0.05 in all but non-dominant fist, small to moderate effect sizes). Only the grip strength of the whole non-dominant hand was not significantly different (p = 0.17). Interestingly, differences between the dominant and non-dominant hand appeared to be larger in the non-climbing (all p < 0.05, all but one with small effect size) compared to the climbing cohort (pinch I/IV and pinch I/II+III+IV not different and mostly trivial). Circumference measurements showed that 10 cm below the lateral epicondyle, climbers exhibited significantly greater perimeter compared to non-climbing athletes (p < 0.05, small effect size). Our results show that recreational climbers have higher measured grip strength, but less profound differences between the dominant and non-dominant hand.

Further information:

Author: Assmann M, Steinmetz G, Schilling AF, Saul D

Organization: Department of Trauma, Orthopedics and Reconstructive Surgery, Georg-August-University of Goettingen, 37075 Goettingen, Germany.

Year: 2020

GID: 5830

Created on: 10.11.2022

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