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The Effect of Dehydration on Wrestling Minimum Weight Assessment


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2004 - Volume 36 - Issue 1 - p 160-167
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000106855.47276.CD
APPLIED SCIENCES: Physical Fitness and Performance

BARTOK, C., D. A. SCHOELLER, R. R. CLARK, J. C. SULLIVAN, and G. L. LANDRY. The Effect of Dehydration on Wrestling Minimum Weight Assessment. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 160–167, 2004. Given that some wrestlers arrive for minimum weight (MW) testing in a dehydrated condition, it is important to understand the effects of dehydration on MW assessment methods.

Purpose To determine the effect of dehydration on the assessment of MW by three-site skinfolds with the Lohman formula (SF), leg-to-leg bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), and multifrequency bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy (BIS) compared with a four-component (4C) criterion.

Methods Twenty-two male collegiate wrestlers (mean ± SD, age: 19.9 ± 1.4 yr, height: 174.0 ± 6.8 cm, body mass: 77.4 ± 9.1 kg) had their body composition assessed by the 4C criterion, hydrostatic weighing (HW), SF, BIA, and BIS in euhydration (EUH) and dehydration (DEH). Subjects dehydrated 2–5% of body weight through fluid restriction and exercise in a hot environment.

Results In EUH, the total error (TE) for HW (1.75 kg) and SF (2.15 kg) were not significantly different, but the TE for HW and SF methods were significantly lower than the TE for both BIS (3.68 kg) and BIA (3.77 kg). In DEH, SF, BIA, and BIS methods had a TE approaching or exceeding 4 kg (8.8 lb). Dehydration increased the TE for SF and BIA through an artificial lowering of body weight and for BIS by an increased error in intracellular water prediction.

Conclusion Acute thermal dehydration violates assumptions necessary for the accurate and precise prediction of MW by SF, leg-to-leg BIA, and multifrequency BIS.

1Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; and

2U. W. Health Sports Medicine Center, Madison, WI

Address for correspondence: Cynthia Bartok, 2 Hidden Ledge Dr., Conway, MA 01341; E-mail:

Submitted for publication November 2002.

Accepted for publication September 2003.

©2004The American College of Sports Medicine