Isokinetic profile of elbow flexor and extensor muscles in climbers and non-climbers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Sport climbing places high mechanical demand on the elbow, which is the third most common
region to be injured in climbing. It has been suggested that overuse injuries are associated with disrupted muscle
balance. However, little is known about the muscle balance around the elbow.
Aim: To investigate moment and work profile of the elbow flexors and extensors in climbers and non-climbers.
Methods: Climbers (n=16) and non-climbers (n=18) volunteered to participate in the study. Each participant was
examined bilaterally for concentric elbow flexion and extension muscle forces. Experimental equipment included the
isokinetic dynamometer at speeds of 60°/sec and 180°/sec. Outcome measures included peak moment, average
moment, total work and average work. Flexion/extension ratio was calculated for all measures.
Results: Elbow extensor muscles were significantly stronger than the elbow flexors in both groups (p<0.001),
with a flexor/extensor total work ratio ranging from 0.76-0.86. Surprisingly, no significant group differences were
found for any measure between climbers and non-climbers.
Conclusion: This study did not demonstrate a difference in elbow muscle work and moment between climbers
and non-climbers, but did show elbow extensors were stronger than flexors. It may be that isokinetic testing is not
sensitive to the functional strength developed in climbing and further research is needed to integrate additional
functional strength evaluations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJ. Nov. Physiother
StatePublished - 2019


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