In a small town of 9,000 permanent residents and 80,000 hotel beds nestled in the conifer-forested Alps and towered over by the 15,777 ft. “White Mountain” or Mont Blanc, climbers from 29 countries came to nerd out, climb, and drink wine.  And the Beta Angel Project partook in all of the above.  I wish I could highlight all of the research, but this article is focused on the research that is the most practical for my needs as a climbing coach.  However, there are some pieces of research (notably RFD and hangboarding) I remain cautious about as a youth coach even as I note their utility for older athletes.  Additionally, the intent of this summary is not to point out flaws in any of the research – there were plenty of challenging questions to researchers at the conference, most of them warranted.  Rather, it’s to give you a taste of how I intend to be a little more creative in my approach to high-end athletes on both rock and in competition.

Science, and its application toward practice, builds.  I may get something wrong here, or I may go further than the researcher intended.  If you are a researcher or climber and have a question, comment, clarification, or … most important, a practical consideration associated with the research, please e-mail me at In September of 2018, I’ll be publishing any comments I get to my website’s spotlight section:  I’ll include responses in an attempt to be as transparent as possible.

Foresight into Training

Before we get into the research itself, let’s imagine for a moment, how a coach might see the practical implications of the work he viewed at a research conference.  Arabella is six clips up a sport route.  Through her earpiece, Arabella’s coach whispers an oxygen stat he’s monitoring from the ground which is being fed from a non-cumbersome cordless monitor on her forearm.  He presses a button and a hold lights up to her left which she transitions over to.  After a minute of recovery the hold switches colors and a new path up the wall is illuminated.  The route has changed to suit her physiological needs.  She finishes the route, and lowers off. Her coach sets a tablet in front of her transfers his eye tracking data to it from the glasses he’s wearing.  Arabella watches herself climb; a shrink-wrapped cone maneuvers around her while climbing fluency statistics pop up on the screen for hip jerk, geometric entropy, and stationary time on the route.  Her eyes flit back-and-forth in split-screen mode to a previous attempt where she’s able to compare measures of fluency.  Little clouds of green, orange, and red coalesce around certain parts of her body as she moves, indicating the eye tracking technology her coach uses to track what he’s looking at any given time.

The route Arabella is training on has been specially-crafted with both ergonomic holds and route-setting designed to avoid injury.  However, sometimes you push it just a little too hard.  Jennifer has her feet on a specially-designed platform and she monitors the amount of force being put into the hangboard through an app on her phone connected to the platform which is electronically adjusted for her weight.  She’s using a protocol that involves one arm hangs in order to shore up weaknesses in her non-dominant arm.  She finishes the set and steps off the platform, placing her forearms into a specially-modified cold water bucket that allows her fingers to stay above the water but helps her forearms recover between sub-maximal hangboarding which stresses her fatigue resistance.  Jennifer isn’t sure if she should continue her protocol due to a tweak in her finger.  The gym she’s at has a professional physio who’s there during major training periods to monitor athletes and take questions from gym members.  The physio tests Jennifer’s finger using a series of pinches, palpations, flexion/extension, and questions about pain developed by national level climbing team physios.  Jennifer is told to cease hangboarding for the night but that that the injury is minor and she’ll be able to get back to climbing shortly using the physio’s evidence-based rehab protocol.

Taylor (middle), Director of the Beta Angel Project, and two climbers: Darren Skolnik and Arabella Jariel of Team USA rocking the French colors in honor of the 2018 Research conference in France. Photo by Jennie Jariel.

The physio returns to monitoring Darren who is about to race up a speed wall.  Darren shouts encouragement to Jennifer: “You’ll come back stronger than ever!” Jennifer shouts back: “You’re going to break 6 seconds before I’m hangboarding again.  You’re so close!”  Darren’s coach flips two drones on which track Darren from the side and from the back.  Darren sails up the wall.  Each hold he touches measure split times and the drones tracking him provide three dimensional data relayed to his coach.  The coach checks the data against a model who uses the same beta to identify areas of improvement.

The preceding three paragraphs followed potential training ideas for the three disciplines of the Olympic combined format: lead climbing, bouldering, and speed climbing.  Every single idea within those paragraphs is technically possible at this point, and shouldn’t stress your imagination too much.  What they represent are areas coaches, athletes and normal gym members have been challenged by: getting finger diagnoses, more effective hangboard protocols, ways to measure climbing efficiency and technical effectiveness, and improving the accuracy and uptake of information.

Trends in Research

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The Beta Angel Project’s director with Shinji Mizumura, a coach with the Japanese climbing team.

The significance that the international community is placing on the Olympic combined format should have been obvious to anyone in attendance.  Marco Scolaris, President of the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC), opened the conference to discuss the history of how climbing was recognized as an Olympic sport, while Pierre-Henry Paillasson (French Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing – FFME) opened the training day to discuss training for the Olympics.  There was also a keynote by famed climber Marc Le Menestrel.  Yasui Hiroshi, the Japanese national team’s head coach, came out to discuss Japan’s “secret training” for all three disciplines.  In addition, there were three presentations on the Olympics, from the medical considerations to the performance structure to an analysis of the controversy in France.[i]  There was also at least one panel which touched on the Olympics.

Injury research: still ahead | Canada, Germany, and Switzerland

Pulley injuries make up a majority of finger injuries but they don’t represent all finger injuries. Researchers are both deepening our understanding of how to treat pulleys but also diving into other areas of finger pain.  Isabelle Schöffl introduced a new method for reducing potential loss in bone integrity after a pulley surgery.[ii]  “So what’s it called?” I asked.  “I haven’t named it!” she replied.  She laughed appreciatively when I reminded her that everything needs a name.

Lutter et al, Lumbrical tear Flow Chart – Four columns based on severity with rows for testing, imaging, diagnosis and therapy

So what are those other areas of injury that need some thought?  They inlude the lumbrical muscles.  Conservative therapy (see Figure) was shown to have success on tears to the lumbrical muscles, which occur usually after pocket pulling of the ring or middle fingers in isolation.  A Canadian presented a case study on the second surgical stimulation of an epiphyseal (growth plate) fracture after 9 months of pain in a 13 year old elite climber.[iii]  A Swiss team identified the cause of these fractures as coming from bone movement on either side of the PIP (second joint back from the tip of the finger) joint during crimping.[iv]  Additionally, a survey of 18 adolescents with 22 epiphyseal fractures showed that the adolescents had an average age of 14.1, that the injury was overwhelmingly in the middle finger during use of the crimp grip, and that all received their fractures during the period where they were growing the quickest, with bouldering being the most “remembered circumstance of the injury.”[v] The authors also suggested that smaller numbers of growth plate injuries in females may be due to different levels of a particular hormone (in addition to the fact that more males climb).

Schweizer and Bärtschi diagram of the loaded and unloaded crimp position and their impact on the bones at the PIP joint.

Field Medics | Austria, Canada, Germany and the United States

The doctors are concerned about the field!  With a medical doctor power team (Germany and Canada) recommending more careful, evidence-based, sports-specific medical supervision of elite sport climbers in their review of the new Olympic discipline, one librarian and two practitioners stepped up to provide some great information for medical practitioners. [vi]  The two physios, associated with their respective country’s national teams, provided practical ways of assessing climbing injuries, and the librarian looked at where climbers get their injury information from.  The librarian identified where we as climbers are looking for injury care and prevention.  Injury-care information came from: “a general health website (47.4%), general doctor (42.1%), a climbing-related website (39.5%), and a friend (39.5%).[vii]  Injury prevention on the other hand mostly came from climbing-related magazines and friends (56.7% each).  Of particular interest for me: “participants in this questionnaire did not consult a climbing coach.”  My key takeaway: coaches, gyms, and physios can do better to integrate their work.

Can you field diagnose the severity of an A2 injury?  Carrie Cooper from the USA provided a diagnosis guide for the A2 pulley involving four steps: (1) pain using a 0-10 scale, (2) active range of motion from extension to crimp and back, (3) resistance tests of the flexor muscles and the A2 using specific grip positions, and (4) palpation of the finger at the A2.[viii]  Klaus Isele from Austria developed a pilot protocol based on osteopathic (addressing the interrelationship of the body’s nerves, muscles, bones and organs)[ix] therapy when climbers present with finger pain. Klaus requires 48 hours of break from climbing and three optional treatment methods: increasing traction (or pulling) force of the joint, triggering the sensitive points on the finger (e.g. at muscle insertions), and engagement of the finger while under pressure.[x] Klaus has been on the World Cup competition circuit for years but is perhaps best known as the gentleman supporting Adam Ondra during his epic ascent of Silence (5.15d).

More Power, Please | Belgium, France, and Poland

One of the polish researchers, Artur Magiera, graciously offered to serve as translator for the main points of his dissertation – something I’ve been trying to track down for a year.

Who hasn’t heard a climber say: “I need more power”?  Please contact me and invite me to your island. I was pleased to see Polish researchers validate the use of “post-activation potentiation”, (sometimes known as complex training but not to be confused with coordinated-muscle resistance training) with climbing-related workouts.  By beginning a workout with hard resistance training, the climber gets a small window of time in which the muscle can take advantage of explosive training, such as the use of plyometric training.  The Polish researchers who did the study used 5 pull ups with weight at about 85% of their one repetition maximum followed by a 4 minute rest, then a campus-like exercise involving three maximal reaches (10 second rest between each) which saw average improvement of 3.11 cm.[xi]  We’ve known about these tools within the context of other explosive sports, such as sprinting and jumping, but this is the first time I’ve seen a study with a climbing protocol.

Power has a technical component, however.  A collaboration between Belgian and French researchers analyzed coordination between the lower body and the upper body during dynamic movement.[xii]  They compared the ankle, knee, and hip between a dynamic movement and a squat jump, and also compared the shoulder, elbow, and wrist between a dynamic movement and an explosive pull up.  They found the points at which joint angle changed in relation to the time of the dynamic move.  Their work has implications for the ankle and shoulder in generating more effective movement and power generation.

Contact Strength | Norway and France

Figure is from a presentation by Guillaume Levernier suggesting that (1) the speed of your force can be increased in a short period, and (2) the left curve represents a climber with faster RFD but less absolute force than the climber represented by the curve on the right.

In my review of 2017 research for Rock & Ice I mentioned a relatively new measure known as the rate of force production (RFD), which is more or less a way of measuring power in the fingers.  Think of power as strength combined with speed.  The Norwegians came in and demonstrated multiple measurements for RFD, and showed that the best correlation to climbing performance came in the later phases of force development (after 100 milliseconds, with increasing correlation up to and past 300 milliseconds), similar to jumping but distinct from sprinting. In other words, climbers require more time to generate force.[xiii]  The French, not to be one-upped, measured a protocol of RFD on the French national bouldering team.  Their four week protocol (which I described in my post on Rock & Ice) was sufficient to increase RFD for elite boulderers. One of their more interesting suggestions was that it may not be necessary to train in the full crimp grip to increase RFD in that position.[xiv]

Climbers love their hangboards | The Czech Republic and France

This figure is from Vigouroux et al., (2018), Journal of Sports Sciences (in revision) showing how force in the fingers changes as the upper arm engages in a pull-up.  Study is a part of the “Smart Board project” developed at Aix-Marseille University

While RFD is showing promise, researchers also looked more in-depth at traditional finger strength measurement.  For example, ever wondered about the effect of a hangboard on the fingers and pull-ups?  What is the difference between pull-ups on a large climbing hold and a gym bar?  The researchers found that combining hangboarding use with pull ups allows you to train finger force capacity even if the force applied through your fingers are inferior to their maximal capacities.  Additionally, pulling up on a smaller hold may provide less value for your pulling muscles due to a slow-down in pulling ability, potentially to compensate for body swing and movement.[xv]  This finding has implications for finding a balance between maximizing power with the upper arms and gaining finger and/or contact strength.  Positive effects include greater forearm fatigue resistance training as the hold size goes down. Finally, pulling up on a large climbing hold may be more specific than a gym bar because it requires compensation of body movement more similar to climbing.

Climbers are apparently good at cheating when it comes to measuring finger force.  Many of the climbers across multiple studies confounded researchers by being particularly good at increasing the amount of force they could generate into a force plate by manipulating their shoulder or elbow to increase torque.  As a result, there were a few side conversations regarding the relatability of finger strength data when not controlling the position of the arm.

Eva Lopez, arguably the most thoughtful human being on hangboard training, was in attendance.  She presented on a finding that showed lower strength climbers take more advantage of fingerboard training (both in endurance and strength) than higher strength climbers, and also that “the smaller strength gains obtained by [Higher Strength Climbers] were paired with a reduction in endurance.”[xvi]  The positive effect of cold water immersion on hangboarding may also be impacted by the strength of the climber.  Perhaps surprisingly, cold water on your forearms may increase your performance in hangboarding under some circumstances.  One study sought to clarify a previous finding on the effect of cold water (59°F) on hangboard training.  Hangboard protocols to exhaustion which use a cold water protocol may increase the time to exhaustion on the second, and to a lesser extent, third set.[xvii]  The effect did not apply to everyone, however, and the researchers hypothesize that it’s more likely that better climbers can take advantage of this protocol, likely due to adaptive structures in the forearm.

Recovery on the route | The United Kingdom and the USA

Adaptive structures in the climber’s forearm built around oxygenation are integral to climbing performance. This research conference showed just how important oxygenation is to climbing.  From Simon Fryer’s work in understanding oxidative capacity and the restoration of haemogloblin within the muscle tissue (for more on this, see my summary of 2017 research on Rock & Ice’s website), to Eric Hörst’s assertion to close out the symposium’s training day that the forearm’s role in our sport is unique in the sporting world given the size of the muscle, the use of isometric forces during sustained and repeating contractions, the closing down of the larger blood pathways (called “occlusion”) and the role of high capillarity and mitochondrial density.[xviii]  Eric moved to refer to sport climbing “as an intermittent near-maximal effort activity” which requires short bursts of explosive movement using the anaerobic alactic system punctuated by multiple-but-short and/or fewer-but-long periods of recovery which take advantage of the aerobic energy system.

Collaborative Speed Smarts | France

Figure of the eight phases of a speed route from Legreneur, et al.

Speed climbers may benefit from research more than other forms of climbing due to the fact that the route doesn’t change (at least for now).  This means researchers are learning a lot about movement and timing.  French work has been facilitated by excellent access to one of the top speed climbers; Anouck Jaubert, and her coach Sylvain Chapelle, who gave a presentation about his training methods.[xix]  These researchers identified 8 sections of the current speed climb, each with unique dynamics: the start, the turn, the first acceleration, the first dyno, the second acceleration, the second dyno, the last three holds, and the final move.[xx]  Then they identified how energy produced from each acceleration phase (start, first, and second acceleration) is removed due to the turn phase, the first dyno, and the second dyno, and believe this knowledge can be used to work on reducing the impact of these phases on acceleration. Relatedly, the Beta Angel Project did an analysis of a coach’s identification of speed “lag points” compared to a computer in order to help coach’s determine the extent to which they can “eyeball” these lag points.  Additionally, these speed researchers implied that using a hip marker was a valid approximation of the climber’s center of mass, important because it’s a lot easier to track a hip marker than to estimate the center of mass using 3D mesh modeling.  It is also an important aspect of climbing economy in sport routes and may alleviate future concerns about video analysis.[xxi]

Nutrition Up! | United States

The Beta-Angel Research Project’s inventory has only five articles on nutrition.  This conference alone had four more, including one survey that looked at the eating habits of female rock climbers and compared them to other sports to get a sense of the relationship of climbers and food.  In the survey of 604 climbers (116 of which were female) 17% of females appeared to have “disordered eating,” defined as abnormal eating behavior.[xxii]  When the researchers looked at just the most advanced female climbers, the number reporting disordered eating increased to 43% (9 of 21).  As a community, we have struggled with understanding how eating affects climbing.  While Mary, Cate, and Missy at Crux Crush posted an analysis of a survey on body image several years back, this is the first survey (to my knowledge) to quantify the prevalence of abnormal eating in climbing.

Build the brain, up and out | France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom

Expert coaches can help us understand the key inputs to climbing mental strength.  Researchers from Spain and the United Kingdom sought to identify these factors: basic processes to capture and process information, such as creativity and learning ability, motivational aspects such as self-realization and autonomy, and emotional mechanisms, including self-regulation and frustration tolerance.[xxiii]  Other measured factors include the idea of “vigilance”, defined as the ability to sustain attention and important in previous research which suggested that the reduction of cognitive resources may impact rock climbing performance. [xxiv]  Indeed, the researchers found an association between climbing ability and scoring highly on a test of the ability to “maintain attention over time and the ability to respond appropriately to relevant stimuli” when testing intermediate to elite climbers.

Moving to a level of analysis beyond the individual, a sport psychologist from France approached the athlete’s mental game holistically.  He is integrating the work of the athlete with the work of the coaches and the overarching federation by looking at factors which impact across all three levels.  These factors include coaching and organizational stressors which affect the athlete, and the interrelationship of goal setting between the three.[xxv]  This research has immense practical potential even at the local commercial gym’s team level, where a gym and team member may have very little direct communication but may impact and become impacted upon by one another.

Changing strategy in competition is a fine segue between the mental ability to understand the need to do something different and the physical ability to do it.  I am personally a big fan of video analysis and data (so I am very pleasantly including a plug to growing the data collection section on my website).  Researchers from Germany analyzed the rate of an athlete’s success on a boulder problem after either changing or not changing their strategy during a World Cup competition.  They found that the rate of success in changing strategy was five times higher, depending on the attempt.  Their advice?  Quit after the third attempt if you can’t figure out a new idea![xxvi]  While I may qualify this advice (especially in the case of a coordination move) from a practitioner’s standpoint to say consider spending more time thinking after your third attempt rather than quitting, I appreciated the creative categorization, use of video, and the quantification of attempts.

Measuring and Teaching Grace | Australia, France and the United Kingdom

Picture of the 14 measures of climbing efficiency as proposed by Taylor, et al.

Efficiency certainly has a mental component, but some researchers from the United Kingdom created a list of items which practitioners can use to help assess and teach the physical side of climbing fluency.  The list includes 14 measures divided into 5 categories and based on a 5 point scale.[xxvii]  These include “connection points” (2 measures; e.g. precision of feet), “transitioning” (4 measures; e.g. balance control), “coordination” (2 measures; e.g. movement initiation from lower or upper body), “technique” (2 measures; e.g. bent arms at inappropriate times), and “tactics” (4 measures; e.g. tempo or pace).  The list appears to be a very practical way of assessing the quality of climbing movement and providing feedback in a structured way.

Slightly less practical but no less interesting, researchers are measuring climbing fluency through the use of accelerometers, inertial measurement units, and code to determine the amount of jerk in the hips, the amount of excess movement as you move up a route, the amount of time spent stationary on a route, the amount of time on a route, the amount of ‘exploratory’ vs. ‘performance-related’ movements used on a route, and others.[xxviii]  While most of these measures are not new, researchers are looking at how these different examples of fluency are impacted by certain factors, like how they change across attempts on a route and ability level.[xxix]  These conclusions will impact our ability to better maximize a given measure of economy on a route for a given ability level.

Climbing fluency is about more than just one measurement.  A critical review of climbing economy measures found that a combination of measures (different combinations being helpful for each discipline) are necessary to measure fluency, and they must be paired with an attempt to understand a climber’s intentions, or in the words of Ludovic Seifert, the results “may be mistakenly concluded as dysfunctional.”[xxx] [xxxi]  Even just a basic understanding of many of these measures can help coaches and climbers learn how to better their own economy, and this represents an area ripe for translation to teaching.

Technology, growing | France, the Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom

Technology, like the aforementioned accelerometer or inertial measurement unit, is starting to get rather interesting and helping us measure.  Companies like Beast Fingers and Lattice Training had members in attendance showing off research, and one enterprising young Canadian had a particularly novel set-up for a hangboard you heard about earlier in the “Foresight into Training” section.  A website called “the Crag” is an online database with their own take on what goes into a “climber performance rating” system.  An important sponsor for the conference was Luxov® (, a leading hold manufacturer in Europe that had a tent set up for Chamonix’s lead and speed climbing World Cup.  In the tent, they had a small section of the climbing speed wall set up with holds which took down split times between each hold.

Slide 37
James Mitchell presentation on eye tracking technology use in coaches.  The left picture shows the view from an expert coach, while the right figure shows the view from a novice coach.

Technology is helping us measure, and also helping us find out what to measure.  We have known we can impact route preview and also climbing efficiency by focusing on certain strategies through the use of eye tracking technology, and now researchers from the UK are conducting an exploratory study of eye tracking technology use by coaches that when coupled with coaching interviews should help novice coaches see what expert coaches see.[xxxii] The speed climbing research I mentioned earlier is being facilitated by mesh suits and drones, and according to personal correspondence with Jan Gajdošík from the Czech Republic, a muscle oxygen monitor which uses an method called “infrared spectroscopy” is undergoing a validation study to see how we may better regulate our training through a real-time window of oxygenation in our forearms.

Find your try hard | France and the Netherlands

The Director of the Beta Angel Project with the legendary German movement coach: Udo Neumann.  His work can be found at: or search youtube for Udini.

The value of perception in climbing may be underrated: both in terms of our ability to “perceive” moves and our ability to train in different zones.  For example, researchers in the Netherlands found better climbers had more complex visual search strategies, possibly due to finger strength and/or because they are “sensitive” to the potential grabbing options and opportunities across holds and movement.[xxxiii]  This shows the interrelationship of strength, technical potential, and the ability to “see a move”.  Another area where we can better take advantage of, and influence, our perception is by using a scale called “rate of perceived pump” or RPP (also called rate of perceived exertion or “RPE”) which asks you to rate your pump on a 0 (no pump) to 10 (maximum pump – eminent failure) scale.[xxxiv]  A heart rate monitor coupled with RPP may provide us an even better indicator for how hard we’re trying.

Power Centers of Research | France, Germany, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States

Climbing has a small community of researchers.  For this reason, and because new researchers seek guidance from a small cadre of well-known figures, certain names are having an outsize effect on the climbing world.  This master research group includes those who put the conference on and run the International Rock Climbing Research Association: Nick Draper (New Zealand) and Pierre Legreneur (France).  The French are particularly interesting to me because of the work I do with some of our country’s elite youth athletes.  Several French researchers were able to get access to the French national bouldering and speed teams to do research (see the speed and contact strength sections). Nick and Pierre also understand the outsized importance of injury research in climbing, which makes up the lion’s share of research at almost a 6th of all articles within the Beta Angel research inventory.  The injury world is small but mighty: Volker and Isabelle Schöffl, Christoph Lutter, and Andreas Schweizer all collaborate and guide and are starting to increase the breadth of injury research even as they continue to deepen the work on pulley and growth plate injuries.

Andreas is our lead-in to the Swiss.  I had dinner with the Swiss contingent one night, a group of soft-spoken but powerful voices: the aforementioned Andreas, Peter Wolf, and Frieder Wittman.  Frieder collaborated with Peter on a study of a cost-effective climbing sensor which can measure forces in three dimensions.[xxxv]  Andreas and Peter, along with Ludovic Seifert, edited the 2017 scientific game changer: The Science of Rock Climbing and Mountaineering.  They also hosted the second Congress in Pontresina, Switzerland.  From a movement perspective, Ludovic (France) collaborated on five of the seven pieces of research categorized under motor control at the conference.

C-Hipper 3
A screenshot of video from the C-Hipper climbing project found at:

While climbing is often called a movement sport, finger and forearm dynamics represent an extensive piece of the equation.  A partnership between the UK’s Gloucestershire and Derby universities and Spain’s Cadiz University under the name of the C-Hipper (Climbing High Performance International Project) Climbing Project has the potential to cross multiple boundaries for our sport, but includes some of the world’s experts on the dynamics of fingers and forearms, and includes studies on everything from forearm oxygenation to nutrition to vigilance (mentioned above).  Finally, the team of Phil Watts from Northern Michigan University organized the Congress in Telluride, Colorado in 2016.  Northern Michigan University sent a strong contingent, including Scott Drum and Lanae Joubert.

Clusters and pockets of information

The practical implications of these power centers is that I expect more of the “building” on past research to be centered around these clusters, even while excellent isolated pockets of research continue to pop up.  The clusters will bounce ideas off of one another, and use one another to further the research.  If I ask a question of a researcher in the Czech Republic, and he doesn’t know the answer, he may be working with someone in the UK (note: this happened a few nights before submission) who we can bring into the conversation.  This has the potential to get me from what is an “interesting question” that may be just outside of the researcher’s scope to the holy grail of practitioner uptake – direct application to my students.

The next Congress will be in 2020, in either Tokyo, Japan or Cadiz, Spain.

Taylor Reed is a policy analyst who coaches on the weekends.  Taylor teaches Arabella “Belle” Jariel, Ashleigh “LEAF” Kazor, and Charlie “Skittles” Osborne, and consults with a small handful of elite kids from half a dozen states.  When not coaching he’s preparing to coach, collaborating with other coaches, and working on his website:  Taylor is married to a gorgeous soldier named Jennifer, lives in Maryland South Carolina, and is sponsored by Evolv sports.


[i] “Sport Climbing: Medical considerations for this new Olympic discipline” by Lutter, El-Sheikh, Schöffl and Schöffl; “Analysis of the performance structure of the Olympic combined climbing format” by Augste; “The Introduction of Sport Climbing at Tokyo 2020’s Olympic Games: analysis of the controversy in France” by Rogeaux and Rech

[ii] “Feasibility of a new pulley repair: a cadaver study” by Schöffl, Lutter, and Schöffl

[iii] “Surgical Management of pip joint repetitive stress epiphyseal fracture nonunion in elite sport climbers” by El-Sheikh, Lutter, Schöffl, Schöffl, and Flohe

[iv] “PIP joint contact incongruity in different grip positions as a trigger for epiphyseal fatigue fracture in adolescent climbers” by Schweizer and Bärtschi.

[v] “Epiphyseal stress fractures in the fingers of adolescents: biomechanics, pathomechanism, risk factors, and ultrasound” by Schöffl, Simon, Lutter, and Schöffl

[vi] “Sport Climbing: Medical Considerations for this New Olympic Discipline” by Lutter, El-Sheikh, Schöffl, and Schöffl

[vii] “An examination of climbers’ information-seeking behaviors for injury care and prevention” by Casucci

[viii] “A potential classification schema and management approach for individuals with A2 flexor pulley strain” by Cooper and LaStayo


[x] “Treatment of finger problems in climbers with the local-osteopathic Isele-method: a pilot study” by Isele, Hay, Schrank, and Schweikart

[xi] “The acute effects of weighted pull-ups on campus board power and power endurance exercises” by Sas-Nowosielski, Kandzia, and Magiera

[xii] “Role of lower and upper limbs in dyno maneuver” by Legreneur, Thevenet, and Bels

[xiii] “The association between different rate of force development-measurements and climbing performance” by Vereide, Saeterbakken, Kalland, Hermans, and Andersen.

[xiv] “The rate of force development: a new biomechanical key factor in climbing” by Levernier and Laffaye

[xv] “Effect of climbing hold depth on biomechanical arm action during pull-ups” by Vigouroux, Devise, Cartier, Aubert, and Berton

[xvi] “The effects of a weighted dead-hang training program on grip strength and endurance in expert climbers with different levels of strength” by Lopez-Rivera and González-Badillo

[xvii] “Individual responses to cold water immersion on handgrip performance” by Baláš, Kodejška, Gajdošík, Giles

[xviii] “Hemodynamic responses to rock climbing” by Fryer, and; “Qualitative analysis of two of 2017’s greatest ascents and a proposed conceptual model for maximum-difficulty sport climbing and energy system requirements” by Hörst

[xix] “IRCRA Speed Climbing” by Chapelle

[xx] “Interpretation of hip mechanical energy in official speed climbing route” by Legreneur, Quaine, Chapelle, and Reveret

[xxi] “3D motion analysis of speed climbing performance” by Reveret, Chapelle, Quaine, and Legreneur

[xxii] “Prevalence of disordered eating among international sport lead rock climbers” by Joubert, Larson, and Blunt-Gonzalez

[xxiii] “Psychological variables involved in climbing.  Operationalizing expert’s knowledge” by Santolaya, Rubio, and Ruiz-Barquin

[xxiv] “Is vigilance related to rock climbing performance?” by Garrido-Palomino, Fryer, Giles, and España-Romero

[xxv] “Applied sport psychology in elite climbing: working with athletes, coaching, and a federation” by Rouquette

[xxvi] “To change or not to change – that is the question” by Künzell, Thomiczek, Winkler, and Augste

[xxvii] “Establishing a global scale for assessing lead climbing performance” by Taylor, Giles, and Mitchell

[xxviii] “Perceptual-motor skills in climbing: expertise and learning” by Seifert

[xxix] “Climbers’ learning dynamics: an exploratory study” by Hacques, Komar, Bourbousson, and Seifert

[xxx] Seifert, et al. (2014b)

[xxxi] “Measuring fluidity in climbing” by Croft, Vial, Walsh, and Seifert

[xxxii] “The Visual search strategies underpinning effective observational analysis in the coaching of climbing movement” by Mitchell, Giles, and Taylor

[xxxiii] “Finger-tip strength constrains visual search during on-sight preview by experienced climbers: preliminary results” by van Bergen, Knobeldsdorff, van der Kamp, Seifert, and Orth

[xxxiv] “What is your rating of perceived pump? A novel, subjective rock climbing training tool” by Drum, Dary, Winkler, Hoeh, Watts, and Joubert

[xxxv] “Instrumentation to measure contact forces in climbing” by Wolf, Simpson, Herrmann, Gerig, and Wittmann

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