How to fight Gravity – Learn more about Rock climbing biomechanics

During the 4th Congress of the International Rock Climbing Researchers Association (IRCRA) this summer, Franck Quaine of Grenoble University, France, reported on rock climbing biomechanical adjustments. And how to fight gravity.

Fight gravity : a way of life for every climber ! The 4th International Rock Climbing Research Association Congress was held in Chamonix, France, from 9th to 14th July 2018. The conferences highlighted the latest results from world leading researchers in the field of rock climbing. A nice opportunity to bridge the gap between scientists and coaches around the world. The talk of Franck Quaine was really interesting. It was about climbing biomechanical adjustments.

In his talk, different rock climbing devices used to assess the forces at the supports are first presented. Data are obtained with the climbing walls at Grenoble University equipped with 1D and 3D-force sensors or throughout numerical optimization schemes associated with biomechanical models to draw relevant constraints. Rock climbing experiments are described and supporting forces are discussed in the frame of Newton’s Laws of motion. In conclusion, most recent biomechanical simulations based on numerical optimization are proposed.

Fight gravity

What is common between a young beginner in rock climbing and the best world rock climber? Both are subjected to the same external mechanical constraints induced by the gravity force, and both have to adapt their supporting forces respective to Newton’s Laws of motion to success for climbing. During ascent the climber has to manage the supporting forces according to Newton’s Laws of motion in order to catch next holds while maintaining balance.

Rock climbing can be described as a physical activity performed against gravity. In climbing, the contact forces at the holds are tested during the ascent. Analysis of biomechanics of postures mimicking climbing situations is a useful approach to help us to understand balance control in rock climbers.

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