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Terry J. Housh, Glen O. Johnson and Dona J. Housh

The purpose of this investigation was to examine age related changes in muscular power of high school wrestlers. A total of 155 high school wrestlers (M age±SD = 16.5±2.4 yrs) volunteered as subjects for this investigation. The sample included only wrestlers who were ≤ 16.00 years (younger group, n=75) or >17.00 years (older group, n=80). All subjects completed a Wingate anaerobic test to determine mean (MP) and peak (PP) power as well as underwater weighing for body composition assessment. The results indicated significant (p<0.05) group differences for absolute MP and PP but no differences when adjusted for BW and FFW. Thus the enhanced muscular power in the older group of high school wrestlers was associated with increases in BW and FFW.

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Joan M. Eckerson, Dona J. Housh, Terry J. Housh and Glen O. Johnson

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the changes in body composition, isokinetic strength, and muscular power in high school wrestlers across a season of competition. Wrestlers were measured (preseason and postseason) for body composition and isokinetic peak torque for flexion and extension of the dominant forearm and leg. Each subject also completed Wingate anaerobic tests to determine changes in mean power and peak power (PP) of the legs. The results indicated that body weight (BW), fat weight, and percent fat decreased (p < .002) across the wrestling season. PP and absolute peak torque for forearm and leg extension (LE) at 30°·s−1; forearm flexion (FF) at 30, 180, and 300°·s−1; and leg flexion (LF) at 180 and 300°·s−1 were significantly (p < .05) lower postseason. Relative peak torque (adjusted for BW) decreased (p < .05) across the season for LE at 30°·s−1 as well as FF and LF at 180°·s−1. Therefore, changes in BW were not associated with functional advantages in terms of strength or muscular power.

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Terry J. Housh, Jeffrey R. Stout, Dona J. Housh and Glen O. Johnson

The purpose of this investigation was to examine the covariate influence of estimated muscle mass on age-related increases in isokinetic peak torque for flexion and extension of the forearm and leg in high school wrestlers. One hundred thirteen high school wrestlers volunteered to be measured for strength at 30, 180, and 300°·s−1. Underwater weighing was performed to determine body composition characteristics, and the anthropometric equation of Martin et al. (10) was used to estimate total skeletal muscle mass (MM). There were significant (p < .05) relationships (r = .19 to .37) for age versus peak torque covaried independently for fat-free weight (FFW) and MM for forearm flexion at 30, 180, and 300°·s−1; forearm extension at 180 and 300°·s−1; and leg extension at 30, 180 and 300°·s−1. The results of this study indicated that there was no increase across age in MM per unit of FFW, and the age-related increases in peak torque in high school wrestlers could not be fully accounted for by changes in MM.

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Terry J. Housh, Jeffrey R. Stout, Glen O. Johnson, Dona J. Housh and Joan M. Eckerson

The purpose of the present study was to determine the validity of near-infrared interactance (NIR) estimates of percent body fat (% fat) using Futrex-5000, Futrex-5000A, and Futrex-1000 instruments in youth wrestlers (age, M ± SD = 11.4 ± 1.5 years) by comparing them to % fat values from underwater weighing. Fifty-eight members of youth wrestling clubs (% fat, M ± SD = 10.7 ± 5.1% fat) volunteered to serve as subjects. The statistical analyses included examination of the constant error (CE), standard error of estimate (SEE), correlation coefficient (r), and total error (TE). The results indicated that the errors (TE = 8.0–16.2% fat) associated with the NIR instruments were too large to be of practical value for estimating % fat in young male athletes. It is recommended that (a) the instrument generated NIR % fat estimates be modified based on the CE values in the present investigation such that the CE = 0, and (b) the modified NIR % fat estimates be cross-validated on independent samples of young male athletes.

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William G. Thorland, Glen O. Johnson and Terry J. Housh

Twenty national class, junior level, track and field competitors were measured for body density (BD) via underwater weighing corrected for residual lung volume, and for skinfold (SF) thicknesses, to determine the accuracy of anthropometric estimations of body composition in athletic adolescent black males. BD was transformed to fat-free body (FFB) weight values using the formulas of Brozek, Lohman (age-adjusted), and Schutte (young black men), respectively. For each SF equation, total error (TE) was highest with the formula of Lohman (2.31–4.14 kg) and lowest with the formula of Schutte (2.02–3.62 kg). TE was further reduced when SF estimates of BD were transformed to FFB via the formula of Brozek and were compared to criterion values of FFB based on the formula of Schutte (2.05–3.10 kg). Therefore, racial influences affecting hydrostatically determined FFB differed from those affecting anthropometric estimations.

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Ellen Weissinger, Terry J. Housh and Glen O. Johnson

High school wrestling coaches (N=161) were surveyed concerning their perceptions of weight loss in wrestlers. Results indicated that a majority of coaches thought that wrestlers lose too much weight, and that only four weight loss methods (increased exercise, skipping snacks, eating smaller meals, counting calories) were endorsed as both effective and safe. However, the coaches also reported that they knew wrestlers engaged in unsafe weight loss methods, and a majority let the wrestler himself make decisions about minimal wrestling weight. The data were interpreted as reinforcing the need for responsible adult supervision of wrestling programs.

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Dona J. Hough, Terry J. Housh, Glen O. Johnson and Rommie J. Hughes

The purpose of this investigation was twofold: (a) to determine the validity of high school wrestlers’ estimations of minimal wrestling weight (MWW) and (b) to compare their certified wrestling weight with the recommended MWW values based on underwater weighing (fat-free weight plus 5% fat). Sixty wrestlers (M age±SD) = 16.54±1.07 yrs) volunteered to be assessed via underwater weighing and were asked to estimate, within 1 lb, their MWW. The certified wrestling weight for each subject was also obtained from the state activities association. The results indicated that the total error for the wrestlers’ estimations of MWW ranged from 3.25 to 3.69 kg, and in 32 to 43% of the cases the certified wrestling weight was below (M = 2.29−2.84 kg) the recommended MWW from underwater weighing.

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William G. Thorland, Glen O. Johnson, Craig J. Cisar, Terry J. Housh and Gerald D. Tharp

This study assessed strength and muscular power of elite young male runners in order to determine the relationship of these characteristics to age and specialization in either sprint or middle distance events. Forty-eight national junior-level sprint and middle distance runners were evaluated for isokinetic peak torque for leg extension as well as muscular power and fatiguability. Peak torque values were greater for the older runners and for the sprinters when measured at higher velocities. However, when adjusted for body weight, the peak torque values of the sprinters became significantly greater at all testing velocities. Muscular power values were also greater for the older runners, but event-related differences only appeared for peak power and mean power measures (being greater in the sprinters).

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Sharon A. Evans, Joan M. Eckerson, Terry J. Housh and Glen O. Johnson

This investigation examined age related differences in the muscular power of the arms in high school wrestlers. Seventy-five volunteers (M age ±SD = 16.3 ±1.2 yrs) were stratified into four age groups (≤15.00; 15.01−16.00; 16.01−17.00, and ≥17.01 yrs) corresponding approximately to the freshman through senior years of high school. Mean power (MP) and peak power (PP) were measured using an arm crank Wingate Anaerobic Test, and body composition was assessed via underwater weighing. The results indicated significant (p<0.05) group differences for absolute MP and PP as well as for relative MP and PP (covaried for body weight). No significant differences were found when MP and PP were adjusted for fat-free weight (FFW). The results suggested that the age related increases in muscular power of the arms were a function of increases in FFW across age.

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Ellen Weissinger, Terry J. Housh, Glen O. Johnson and Sharon A. Evans

Self-reports of weight loss knowledge, attitudes, and methods in a sample of 125 high school wrestlers are described. These responses are compared to perceptions of 88 wrestlers’ parents regarding their son’s weight loss behaviors. Responses to survey questionnaires indicated that wrestlers were highly likely to deliberately lose weight for wrestling and that they most commonly used increased exercise, caloric restriction, and fluid restriction as weight loss techniques. Wrestlers reported use of extreme weight loss techniques (fasting, vomiting, diuretics) in higher proportions than the general adolescent male population, despite their reports of detrimental effects of such methods. Compared to their sons, parents significantly underestimated the use of extreme methods and were more realistic about the potential harmful effects of severe weight loss. Wrestlers and parents alike felt that weight loss is overemphasized in wrestling competition. These findings indicate a need for improved adult monitoring of high school wrestling programs.