Research > Research Inventory > Biomechanics: Trunk

Spinal range of motion and plantar pressure in sport climbers

Author: Hawrylak A, Chromik K, Ratajczak B, Barczyk-Pawelec K, Demczuk-Włodarczyk E | Year: 2017
Summary/Results: Researchers tested both (1) lumbar (lower back) and thoracic (upper back) range of motion, and (2) differences in pressure between the front and rear of the foot in 30 sport climbers and 30 physical education students.  The lower back was tested in terms of bending forward and backward, rotating, and lateral- or side-bending.  Researchers found that compared to the 30 students, sport climbers had (in general) better range of motion.  Additionally, sport climbers showed greater average pressure toward the front of the foot. Beta-Angel note: the authors suggest that ROM was worse in sport climbers for “extension, rotation, and lateral thoracic flexion” – however, this leaves only flexion (bending forward) across both the upper and lower back, and lateral lumbar flexion (bending sideways through the lower back), which suggests a more nuanced picture regarding the overall range of motion.  Clarification may be helpful.
Reference: Acta Bioeng Biomech. 2017;19(2):169-173.

Environmental design shapes perceptual-motor exploration, learning, and transfer in climbing

AUTHORS: Ludovic Seifert,1,* Jérémie Boulanger,1,2 Dominic Orth,1,3 and Keith Davids4  |  Year: 2015
SUMMARY/RESULTS: 20 handhold standardized routes were used for 9 male participants whereby the changed variable was the hold orientation (horizontal orientation, vertical, and mixed). Hip and trunk movement is exhibited more on vertical and mixed hold routes than on horizontal hold routes. Additionally, more practice on these types of routes contributes to “exploratory” (defined as more trunk and hip movement) movement. Additionally, more time is spent route finding on these types of climbs, assuming a sub-maximal grade for the route. Double-edged holds may offer a safe environment for hold exploration.
REFERENCE: Front Psychol. 2015; 6: 1819.

Effects of climbing-wall inclination on trunk muscle activation during various static climbing positions: implications for therapeutic climbing

AUTHORS: L. Donath, C. Grzybowski, H. Wagner  |  Year: 2014
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers measured the activation of the trunk muscles on 13 non-climbers in various climbing positions using different handholds and wall angles. Training on an inclined wall will at over 12 degrees will help activate the trunk musculature, but lifting a hand seems to be further required to increase activation of the oblique muscles.
REFERENCE: 2nd International Rock Climbing Research Congress, Sep 2014.

Postural adaptations in female elite rock climbers: the “climber‘s back”

AUTHORS: L. Rolland, L. Allet, C.Linhart, J-L. Ziltener  |  Year: 2014
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers measured the extent of mobility in climbers by measuring the shape of the back, and the lengths of muscles in the chest, legs and pelvis, in 39 women grouped into elite climber and non-climber categories. Climbers did not appear to have a curvature of the back typical of male climbers, but may have less mobility (compared to non-climbers) in the back, in addition to shorter muscle lengths in the pelvis and hamstrings.
REFERENCE: 2nd International Rock Climbing Research Congress, Sep 2014.