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Iowa wrestling study: weight classification systems


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: July 1976 - Volume 8 - Issue 2 - p 101–104

Many wrestlers lose a large amount of weight in a relatively short period of time to become certified for inter-scholastic competition. In most states, there are twelve certified weight classes with intervals ranging from 6 to 18 pounds. Using anthropometric data obtained from 834 “average” wrestlers that were measured 5–8 weeks before competition, we predicted their “minimal” body weights and assigned them into arbitrarily designated weight classes of 6, 8 and 10 pound intervals. In addition, the 1973–74 and the 1974–75 certifying records for Iowa wrestlers were examined with regard to frequency distribution patterns. The results indicated that the majority of students were certifying for a few weight classes. In fact, forty percent of the more than 8900 students were certified for the 119–138 classes and 57% of the population were located within the 112–145 weight classes. Inspection of the frequency distribution patterns of wrestlers assigned to the arbitrary classes also showed a marked concentration of wrestlers who weighed between 120 and 140 pounds and this relationship became more apparent when ten pound intervals were considered. From these findings we recommend that state high school associations consider: 1) allowing more than one wrestler per team to compete in a single weight class; 2) providing more weight classes than the current twelve; and 3) promoting body composition assessments during the pre-season period in order to minimize the problems created by the “making of weight.”

Exercise Physiology Laboratory University of Iowa Iowa City, Iowa 52242

©1976The American College of Sports Medicine