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. 2017 Apr;31(4):963-970.
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001673.

Somatic Profile of the Elite Boulderers in Poland


Somatic Profile of the Elite Boulderers in Poland

Mariusz Ozimek et al. J Strength Cond Res. .


Ozimek, M, Krawczyk, M, Zadarko, E, Barabasz, Z, Ambroży, T, Stanula, A, Mucha, DK, Jurczak, A, and Mucha, D. Somatic profile of the elite boulderers in Poland. J Strength Cond Res 31(4): 963-970, 2017-The study was designed to determine the values of selected somatic characteristics, body proportions, and the somatotype of elite bouldering climbers in Poland and to establish the relationships between the values of the somatic characteristics and climber's performance in bouldering. The study was conducted in a group of elite sport climbers (n = 10) who were ranked by the Polish Mountaineering Association in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The anthropometric measurements were made according to the relevant rules and standards. The results were used to calculate the values of somatic variables and body proportion indices for the climbers and to establish their somatotype. The results were compared with the data on untrained students (n = 165). The boulderers were found to differ significantly from the controls regarding body height (p < 0.01), body mass (p ≤ 0.05), body density (p < 0.01), fat mass percentage (FM%) (p < 0.01), fat mass (FMkg) (p < 0.01), lean body mass (p ≤ 0.05), arm span (p ≤ 0.05), and leg length (p < 0.01). Body proportions in the groups significantly differed in the arm length index (p < 0.01), arm-to-leg length ratio (p < 0.01), and in the indices of the forearm (p < 0.01), thigh (p < 0.01), and lower leg (p ≤ 0.05) muscles. With regard to the somatotypes of the analyzed groups, the biggest differences were observed for the levels of mesomorphy (NS) and endomorphy, the latter being statistically significant (p < 0.01). The strongest and significant correlations between the competitive level of the climbers and the values of their somatic characteristics were established for FM% (r = -0.81), fat mass (in kilograms) (r = -0.82), body density (r = 0.81), endomorphy (r = -0.74), arm length (r = 0.77), and the arm length index (r = 0.80). The results of linear regression showed that the competitive level of a bouldering climber was significantly explained (p < 0.01) by fat mass (in kilograms) and the value of the arm length index. A high level of performance in bouldering is related to small stature (an ecto-mesomorph somatotype) and a low body fat percentage (low endomorphy). Regarding body proportions, greater than average arm length to body height ratio and well-developed musculature of the limbs are required for a boulderer to perform on a competitive level. High arm length index and low body fat percentage represent the strongest determinants of performance in bouldering. It can be assumed that arm length index has a high diagnostic value for recruitment and selection of climbers.

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