Int J Sports Med 2010; 31(8): 523-528
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1254177

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Alternatives to Rapid Weight Loss in US Wrestling

C. Lambert1 , B. Jones1
  • 1University of Louisville, Health and Sport Sciences, Louisville, United States
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision April 28, 2010

Publication Date:
11 June 2010 (online)


Amateur wrestling at the high school and collegiate level in the United States often involves exercise and thermal dehydration as well as food and fluid restriction to “make weight”. Available evidence suggests this is the opposite of what is optimal for high-intensity exercise performance. A high-intensity taper will substantially improve performance when conducted after a period of high-volume high intensity training. Additionally, dehydration of ∼3–4% of body weight will most definitely impair muscular endurance during high-intensity exercise although it likely will not impair maximal muscular strength or power. Even more gradual weight loss practices over a few days, which result in a reduction of body weight by ∼3.3 to 6% will result in impaired performance as assessed by wrestling specific tests. It would seem of paramount importance for wrestlers to maintain a high-carbohydrate diet of ∼8–10 g carbohydrate/kg body weight/day to maintain training intensity and optimize performance during individual matches and tournaments. Thus, the evidence would suggest that, prior to competition, collegiate wrestlers should be: 1) tapered, 2) in the euhydrated state, and 3) have ingested a high carbohydrate diet, rather than undergo rapid weight loss prior to competition.



Dr. Charles Lambert

University of Louisville

Health and Sport Sciences

Crawford Gym 002B

40241 Louisville

United States

Phone: +1/502/852 7193

Fax: +1/502/852 4534