Is the Rope-Climbing Test (RCT) a Valid Specific Field Test of Upper-Body Power for Commandos?

Research Paper Title

Five-meter rope-climbing: a commando-specific power test of the upper limbs.


The purpose of this study was to examine the concurrent validity and absolute and relative reliabilities of a commando-specific power test. The participants included 21 anti-terrorism commandos.


All participants were assessed on a 5-m rope-climbing test (RCT) and the following tests:

  • Pull-ups (heaves);
  • Push-ups (press-ups);
  • Estimated-1-repetition-maximum (est-1RM);
  • Medicine-ball put; and
  • Handgrip-strength test.

The stopwatch method related to the execution time (ET) was validated by comparison with video motion analysis.

The best individual attempt of 3 trials was kept for analysis, and the performance was expressed in absolute power output (APO) and body-mass relative power output (RPO).


Stopwatch assessment had an excellent criterion validity (r=.99, P<.001), intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC3,1) of .98, standard errors of measurement (SEM%) of 1.19%, bias±the 95% limits of agreement of 0.03±0.26 s, and minimal detectable change (MDC95) of 0.51 s.

The ET, APO, and RPO were significantly correlated (P<.05) with all cited tests (absolute-value r range .55-.98), while est-1RM was not significantly correlated with the other tests. Test-retest reliability coefficients were excellent for ET, APO, and RPO (ICC3,1>.90).

The SEM% values for the ET, APO, and RPO were all under 5% (range 3.73-4.52%), all being smaller than the corresponding smallest worthwhile change. The coefficients of variation for the ET, APO, and RPO were all under 10%. %MDC95 ranged from 10.37% to 12.53%.


Considering the strong concurrent validity and excellent test-retest reliability, the RCT is simple to administer, has ecological validity, and is a valid specific field test of upper-body power for commandos and, in addition, can be accurately assessed with a stopwatch.


Dhahbi, W., Chaouachi, A., Padulo, J., Behm, D.G. & Chamari, K. (2015) Five-meter rope-climbing: a commando-specific power test of the upper limbs. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.10(4), pp.509-15. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2014-0334. Epub 2014 Nov 13.


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