Keeping a close eye on wrestler’s weight

While wrestling requires a lot of physical strength, some athletes fixate not on adding muscle, but on losing weight. Wrestling is the one sport in high school where weight matters and some athletes take extreme measures to meet their desired goal. That philosophy is not healthy since reducing food and water intake can cause dehydration, reduced regulation of body temperature, kidney failure and chronic fatigue.

To combat the issue, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association began a mandatory weight control program in the early 1990s for Wisconsin high school wrestlers. The program establishes a healthy minimum weight for each wrestler by using skinfold measurements.

Each male wrestler must maintain at least 7 percent body fat and female wrestlers need to maintain 12 percent body fat. It is not recommended athletes get down to those percentages – those are just the lowest they can go. With parental permission, they can go down an additional 2 percent.

Prior to a skinfold measurement being taken, the WIAA requires the wrestler to be hydrated, using a urine specific gravity test to prove this. The results must be approved before the wrestler can undergo a skinfold test.

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