Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Health, Physical Education, and Recreation

Committee Chair(s)

Julianne Abendroth-Smith


Julianne Abendroth-Smith


Grace Huerta


Richard Gordin


This study compared differences in kinematically based performance success characteristics of elite sport rock climbers during competition both within and across the variable of gender. The purpose of this study was to identify kinematically based performance success and gender differences in elite sport rock climbers for the development of further studies and gender-specific training procedures. The dependent variables included the kinematics of the dynamic grasping hand (DGH) and the center of mass (CM) and the timing of these variables.

The participants included both the men and women competitors registered for the 1997 American Sport Climbing Federation's Fall National competition held at the Boulder Rock Club in Boulder, Colorado. Analysis was performed on the top five placing participants in each respective gender category (N = I 0). For comparison within gender, the first through third place finishers were classified as the top performers with a higher degree of performance success than the bottom performers who placed fourth and fifth (n = 5).

Adjusted R-squared values were computed by way of multiple regression for the kinematic variables; variables providing adjusted R-squared coefficients greater than .24 were selected for further analysis. A one-way repeated measures ANOV A was computed for the selected kinematic variables and finish place of the participants. Standardized mean difference effect sizes were computed to determine practical significance.

No statistical significance was found at or below the .05level of probability for finish place and any of the kinematic variables. Effect size differences were found for the DGH and CM kinematics with the top-performing men and women exhibiting more controlled horizontal movements, and more powerful but still controlled vertical movement. The control of the vertical CM motion indicated by the tops was evident from lesser distances the CM traveled. The kinematics of the CM show the top men and women with less vertical distances traveled, indicating a more efficient movement. Gender differences included the males performing the route segment with slower times but with faster DGH events. The top men provided greater event vertical velocities while the women provided greater horizontal velocities and accelerations. These differences provide considerations for the development of specific training protocols to address performance success based requirements that are gender-specific.