Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Sports Biomechanics


Taylor & Francis


Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research / School of Medical and Health Sciences




Walsh, A., Seifert, L., Button, C., Vial, S., & Croft, J. (2023). The effect of fatigue on climbing fluidity and hand movements. Sports Biomechanics. Advance online publication.


In rock climbing, climbers use their arms to regulate their posture on the wall, which can lead to localised muscle fatigue. Evidence shows fatigue is the primary cause of falls, but little is known about how fatigue specifically affects climbing rhythm and hand movements. The present study examined climbing fluidity and hand movements on an indoor climbing wall before and after a specific fatiguing protocol. Seventeen climbers completed three repetitions of a challenging climbing route (21 on Ewbank scale) with different levels of localised arm fatigue. Climbers’ movements were tracked using 3D motion capture, and their hand actions assessed using notational analysis. Seventy markers were used to create 15 rigid body segments and the participants' centre of mass. The global entropy index was calculated on the path of the participants' centre of mass. Climbers fell more often when fatigued, but there were no significant differences in hip jerk or global entropy index when fatigued. No significant differences were found between the number of exploratory or performatory hand movements with different amounts of fatigue. The results suggest that localised arm fatigue affects a climber’s ability to prevent themselves from falling, but it does not specifically affect their fluidity.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.