Full body joint kinematics of experienced climbers during a standardised traverse
|Briley, S., Mitchell, J., Taylor, N., Chidley, J., Divall, H and Outram, T.
The recent addition of climbing as an Olympic sport has emphasized the importance of comprehending the sport's techniques to aid coaching. However, technological and equipment constraints have limited detailed kinematic analyses of climbing tasks (Kozin . Acta of Bioengineering and Biomechanics, 22, 57-66). Fortunately, advances in wearable systems, such as inertial measurement units (IMUs), have enabled detailed kinematic analyses in real-world settings. The study purpose was to quantify whole-body kinematics of experienced climbers during a standardized traverse, a common technique where climbers move laterally across a wall or rock face. Following institutional ethical approval, nine male climbers (age: 27±11 years; body mass: 74±12 kg; 6±4 years of climbing experience) participated in this study. 10 Blue Trident IMUs (Vicon, Motion Systems Ltd. Oxford, United Kingdom) were placed on the upper back, pelvis, upper arms, forearms, thighs and shanks. Prior to the traverse participants held a calibration pose for two seconds. Participants completed two-mins of a standardised circuit on an adapted Lattice board (2440mm x 2440mm) angled at zero degrees. OpenSense workflow for OpenSim was used to calculate upper and lower body joint angles from IMU sensors. Lower limb range of motion (ROM) values were 150.8±29.8°, 80.0±0.1° and 78.0±0.1° and 145.1±0.1° for hip flexion/extension, add/abduction and int/external rotation, and knee flexion, respectively. All values of the trail leg exceeded the lead leg. Group upper body ROM values were 266.5.8±6.1°, 210.1±0.1° and 169.4±20.5° and 120.3±34.2° for shoulder flexion/extension, add/abduction and int/external rotation, and elbow flexion, respectively. All values of the lead arm exceeding the trail arm. These findings suggest that there may be differences in the demands placed on the lead and trail limbs during a standardized traverse. Climbers may rely more on their trail leg for support and stability while using the lead leg for pushing and propelling themselves forward. Similarly, climbers may rely more on their lead arm for reaching and grasping while using the trail arm for support and balance. Moreover, this study highlights the importance of individual differences in climbing styles and strategies, as evidenced by the large inter-subject variability in joint angles across the group. Coaches should consider differences in limb demands and individual variations in climbing styles when designing training programs for climbers to ensure that they are tailored to the specific needs of each athlete.
|Climbing; Biomechanics; Sports Science
|British Association of Sport and Exercise Science - Biomechanics and Motor control Interest group
|Web address (URL)
|Publication process dates
|22 Jun 2023
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