Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Health Professions

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Steven Leigh, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Suzanne M. Konz

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Powell


Rock climbing is a total body sport testing the mental and physical capabilities of athletes. Efficiency of movement can improve the ability of climbers to perform at a higher capacity and reduce the risk of injury. Data on the relationship between the continuous relative phase (CRP) of contralateral joint rotations and time to completion of a bouldering move are ways to assess rock climbing. This study aimed to assess this relationship, as well as the geometric entropy (GE) of the center of mass displacement when completing the bouldering move, and the metabolic efficiency over 4 min of bouldering. The study hypothesized that CRP of the contralateral shoulder-to-hip and elbow-to-knee would correlate negatively with time to completion and geometric entropy (GE) of the center of mass displacement during a bouldering move. Also, the coefficient of variation (COV) of the averaged CRP between contralateral hip and shoulder would correlate positively with the change in blood lactate concentration (BLC) from before to after climbing.

Twenty rock climbers participated in the study (29 ± 7, 7 ± 7 years of experience. Eight inertial mass measurement units (IMU) were placed on the right hand, right forearm, right shoulder, C7, T12-L1, left femur, left shank, left foot, and used to measure joint angular position and velocity. All participants complete two mental memory tests, a battery of joint strength and anthropometric measurements, and a pre and post blood lactate test. Relative phase angles for shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee were used to calculate the CRP between contralateral limbs. GE was recorded from an IMU placed at T12-L1 and was used to measure the deviation from a straight line from start to finish based on the convex hull perimeter. A bivariate Pearson product moment correlation was used to assess for statistical significance between CRP of shoulder-to-hip and elbow-to-knee with time to completion, and GE of center of mass displacement. Also, bivariate Pearson’s correlation was computed for COV of the averaged CRP between shoulder-to-hip and change in BLC.

No association was found between CRP of shoulder-to-hip and elbow-to-knee with time to completion (r = -0.079, p = 0.749, r = -0.301, p = 0.211). Similarly, no association was detected between CRP of shoulder-to-hip and elbow-to-knee with geometric entropy (r = 0.309, p = 0.197, r = -0.064, p = 0.794). Finally, COV of average CRP of right shoulder and left hip with change in BLC was not statistically significant (r = 0.141, p = 0.632). However, best time to completion showed a positive trend with CRP of shoulder-to-hip and elbow-to-knee, as well as a positive trend between an increase in BLC and COV. Finally, shoulder-to-hip CRP showed a negative trend while elbow-to-knee CRP showed a positive trend.

Rock climbing research has predominantly focused on identifying and applying determinants of success to an athletic profile to assess and predict athletic performance and possibility of injuries. This study contributed to the understand of the coordination of limbs during the reaching phase of a rock climbing move and efficiency over multiple attempts. To our knowledge, this study is the first to identify how limbs work together while in transition between two holds allowing for climbers to independently predict, interpret, execute, and adapt in a sport specific scenario. Based on our research, there was no significant association between contralateral limbs CRP with time to complete GE and COV of CRP of contralateral joints with change in BLC. There were no significant associations but there were trends for TtC, GE and CRP of shoulder-to-hip and elbow-to-knee, as well as BLC and COV shoulder-to-hip. Joint coordination may be important when learning a new skill and allowing for exploratory coordination, and while it may cost more energy, it could be beneficial for completion of a discrete climbing task.


Rock climbing -- Mathematics.


Exercise -- Health.