BAC KGROU ND: Rock climbers are characterized by enhanced forearm fatigue resistance. This study compared the forearm isometric force of rock climbers (RC ), strength-matched power lifters (PL ) and aerobically trained (AT) athletes to determine the contribution of muscle oxygen desaturation during ischemia. METHOD S: Aerobically trained athletes (N.=6, 23±1 years, 77±1 kg), power lifters (N.=7, 24±1 years, 80±3 kg) and rock climbers (N.=8, 25±2 years, 74±2 kg) took part in a controlled forearm ischemic occlusion (5 min) assessment using near infrared spectroscopy. In addition, three fatigue protocols were completed: Protocol 1, sustained maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) until exhaustion; protocol 2, sustained 40% MVC for 3 mins duration; protocol 3, an intermittent 40% MVC (5-s contraction, 5-s recovery) for a duration of 3 mins. Forearm contractile fatigue was quantified as the reduction in MVC. RE SUL TS: MVC was equivalent between groups (P>0.05). Sustained MVC force (time to decline 50% MVC) was longer in the RC versus AT (AT: 35±5, PL : 46±6, RC : 54±4 s, P<0.05) and both AT and PL for sustained 40% MVC (AT: 56±9, RT: 62±8, RC : 87±7 s, P<0.05). Reduction in MVC was less in RC post intermittent 40% contractions (P<0.05). Oxygen desaturation half-time was longer in the RC versus AT (AT: 65±9, RT: 86±7, RC : 99±7 s, P<0.05) and this was associated with time to 50% MVC (P<0.05, r2=0.53) and time to 40% MVC task failure (P<0.05, r2=0.32). CO NCLU SIO NS: Rock climbers' enhanced isometric fatigue-resistance and ability to maintain MVC was associated with a lower oxygen consumption of the forearm flexors during the ischemic state. This suggests a training adaptation involving intracellular oxygen consumption.