Acute Effect of High-Intensity Climbing on Performance and Muscle Oxygenation in Elite Climbers

Feldmann, Andri; Lehmann, Remo; Wittmann, Frieder; Wolf, Peter; Baláš, Jiří; Erlacher, Daniel (2022). Acute Effect of High-Intensity Climbing on Performance and Muscle Oxygenation in Elite Climbers. Journal of Science in Sport and Exercise, 4(2), pp. 145-155. Springer 10.1007/s42978-021-00139-9

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High-intensity training (HIT) is known to have deteriorating effects on performance which manifest in various physiological changes such as lowered force production and oxidative capacity. However, the effect of HIT in climbing on finger flexor performance has not been investigated yet. Twenty-one climbers partook in an intervention study with three assessment time points: pre-HIT, post-HIT, and 24-h post-HIT. The HIT involved four five-minute exhaustive climbing tasks. Eight climbers were assigned to a control group. Assessments consisted of three finger flexor tests: maximum voluntary contraction (MVC), sustained contraction (SCT), and intermittent contraction tests (ICT). During the SCT muscle oxygenation (SmO2) metrics were collected via NIRS sensors on the forearm. The HIT had significant deteriorating effects on all force production metrics (MVC − 18%, SCT − 55%, ICT − 59%). Post-24 h showed significant recovery, which was less pronounced for the endurance tests (MVC − 3%, SCT − 16%, ICT − 22%). SmO2 metrics provided similar results for the SCT with medium to large effect sizes. Minimally attainable SmO2 and resting SmO2 both showed moderate negative correlations with pre-HIT force production respectively; r = − 0.41, P = 0.102; r = − 0.361, P = 0.154. A strong association was found between a loss of force production and change in minimally attainable SmO2 (r = − 0.734, P = 0.016). This study presents novel findings on the deteriorating effects of HIT on finger flexor performance and their oxidative capacity. Specifically, the divergent results between strength and endurance tests should be of interest to coaches and athletes when assessing athlete readiness.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Movement and Exercise Science

UniBE Contributor:

Feldmann, Andri Matthias and Erlacher, Daniel


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment








Franziska Krebs

Date Deposited:

24 Oct 2022 12:07

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:26

Publisher DOI:





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