Int J Sports Med 2003; 24(6): 424-427
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-41174
Physiology & Biochemistry
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Finger Flexors Fatigue in Trained Rock Climbers and Untrained Sedentary Subjects

F.  Quaine1 , L.  Vigouroux1 , L.  Martin1
  • 1EA 597, UFR APS, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France
Further Information

Publication History

Accepted after revision: January 24, 2003

Publication Date:
07 August 2003 (online)


The present series of experiments were conducted to access the surface EMG frequency parameters during repeated fingertip isometric contractions to determine if they can be used as a fatigue index under specific grip used in rock climbing. Electromyograms of the finger flexors and extensors were characterised in ten elite climbers and ten non-climbers. The exercise consisted in reaching 80 % of maximal isometric finger force as quickly as possible intermittently with a 5-s contraction followed by 5-s of rest until exhaustion (i. e. when the subject was unable to maintain 80 - 70 % MVC force range for the 5 s). The results clearly indicate that expert climbers performed significantly greater fingertip force than sedentary subjects (420 ± 46 N vs. 342 ± 56 N). This force was maintained during twelve repetitions (12.88 ± 4.96) in sedentary subjects, whereas the climbers maintained the force during nineteen repetitions (19.33 ± 4.84). The median frequency of both the flexor and extensor EMG power spectra decreased during fatiguing isometric contractions, but at different rates in climbers and non-climbers. In non-climbers, the results replicated previous findings, whereas in climbers the results were novel.


F. Quaine


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