Effects of New Zealand blackcurrant extract on sport climbing performance

  • J. A. PotterEmail author
  • C. I. Hodgson
  • M. Broadhurst
  • L. Howell
  • J. Gilbert
  • M. E. T. Willems
  • I. C. Perkins
Original Article



Blood flow to skeletal muscles and removal of metabolic by-products during a sport climb are essential to optimise performance and recovery. New Zealand blackcurrant (NZBC) extract has enhanced blood flow and performance in other exercise modalities. We examined the effect of NZBC extract on sport climbing performance and recovery.


The study employed a double-blind, randomised, crossover design. Male sport climbers (n = 18, age 24 ± 6 years, height 179 ± 6 cm, mass 71.4 ± 7.8 kg, French grade 6a-8b) undertook 7 days supplementation of NZBC extract (600 mg day−1 CurraNZ™ containing 210 mg anthocyanins) or a placebo (PL). Climbing ability was assessed through hang time (HT), pull-ups and total climbing time (TCT) in 3 intermittent climbing bouts on a Treadwall M6 rotating climbing wall to exhaustion with 20 min recovery between climbs. Heart rate (HR), blood lactate (BL), forearm girth (FG) and hand grip strength (HGS) were recorded.


NZBC extract had no effect on pull-ups but provided a trend for higher HT and significantly improved TCT (+23%) compared to PL (-11%) over three climbs. HR, BL, FG and HGS all indicated that 20 min was insufficient for physiological recovery between the three climbing bouts indicating accumulative fatigue regardless of supplement condition.


Despite indices of progressive fatigue across three bouts of climbing, NZBC extract facilitated not only a maintenance of TCT but an improved climbing endurance as compared with the PL condition. Blackcurrant anthocyanin-derived metabolites seem to affect physiological responses that facilitate sport climbing performance.


New zealand blackcurrant Sport climbing Exercise performance Anthocyanins Polyphenols Lactate 



Blood lactate


Forearm girth


Hand grip strength


Heart rate


Hang time


New Zealand blackcurrant


Rating of perceived exertion


Total climbing time



The authors would like to thank Health Currancy Ltd (United Kingdom) for providing New Zealand blackcurrant extract and placebo capsules for use in this study. The authors also wish to thank Becky Warke for assistance with data collection and the climbers who agreed to participate in the study.


The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of SportUniversity of ChichesterChichesterUK

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