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Reid Reale, Gregory R. Cox, Gary Slater and Louise M. Burke

We examined the relationship between the regain of body mass (BM) after weigh-in and success in real-life judo competition. Eighty-six (36 females, 50 males) senior judoka volunteered for this observational study of an international judo competition. Subjects were weighed at the official weigh-in and one hour before their first competition fight (15–20 hr later). Regain in BM after weigh-in was compared between medal winners and nonmedalists, winners and losers of each fight, males and females and across weight divisions. Heavyweights were excluded from analysis. Prefight BM was greater than BM at official weigh-in for both males and females, with % BM gains of 2.3 ± 2.0 (p ≤ .0001; ES= 1.59; CI95% [1.63, 2.98]) and 3.1 ± 2.2 (p ≤ .0001; ES = 2.03; CI95% [2.30, 3.89]), respectively. No significant differences were found between weight divisions for post weigh-in BM regain. Differences in post weigh-in BM regain were significantly higher in medal winners than nonmedalists for males and females combined (1.4 ± 0.4% BM; p = .0026; ES= 0.69; CI95% [0.05, 2.34]) and for males alone (1.5 ± 0.6% BM; p = .017; ES= 0.74; CI95% [0.02, 2.64]), but not for females (1.2 ± 0.7% BM; p = .096; ES = 0.58; CI95% [-0.02, 2.31]). Differences in BM regain after weigh-in between winners and losers were significant across all fights (0.9 ± 0.3% BM; p = .0021; ES= 0.43; CI95% [0.31, 1.41]) but not for first round fights (0.8 ± 0.5% BM; p = .1386, ES = 0.38; CI95% [-0.26, 1.86]). Winners showed a greater regain in BM post weigh-in than losers. This may reflect the greater magnitude of the BM loss needed to achieve weigh-in targets which also relates to the experience level of successful athletes.

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Reid Reale, Gary Slater and Louise M. Burke

It is common for athletes in weight-category sports to try to gain a theoretical advantage by competing in weight divisions that are lower than their day-to-day body mass (BM). Weight loss is achieved not only through chronic strategies (body-fat losses) but also through acute manipulations before weigh-in (“making weight”). Both have performance implications. This review focuses on Olympic combat sports, noting that the varied nature of regulations surrounding the weigh-in procedures, weight requirements, and recovery opportunities in these sports provide opportunity for a wider discussion of factors that can be applied to other weight-category sports. The authors summarize previous literature that has examined the performance effects of weightmaking practices before investigating the physiological nature of these BM losses. Practical recommendations in the form of a decision tree are provided to guide the achievement of acute BM loss while minimizing performance decrements.

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Reid Reale, Gary Slater, Gregory R. Cox, Ian C. Dunican and Louise M. Burke

, including 1 day of fluid restriction, achieved total mean BM losses of 3.2% and 2.4% for WL and CON, respectively. This acute BM loss was achieved in a scenario simulating the preparation for weigh-in and competition in combat sports, but without resorting to more extreme practices of severe energy

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Mathew Hillier, Louise Sutton, Lewis James, Dara Mojtahedi, Nicola Keay and Karen Hind

, the process of “making weight” is imperative because failure to make weight results in bout cancellation or deduction from the athlete’s payment. Mixed martial arts athletes engage in gradual and rapid weight loss (RWL) prior to competition and then regain weight post weigh-in ( Coswig et al., 2018

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Jose Morales, Carla Ubasart, Mónica Solana-Tramunt, Israel Villarrasa-Sapiña, Luis-Millán González, David Fukuda and Emerson Franchini

performance are controversial and appear to depend on the skills assessed and the recovery time between the assessments and weigh-in procedures. 2 , 7 In general, combat sports require a high level of fitness that allows athletes to efficiently develop motor control and cognitive skills. 10 Specific

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Victor Silveira Coswig, Bianca Miarka, Daniel Alvarez Pires, Levy Mendes da Silva, Charles Bartel and Fabrício Boscolo Del Vecchio

 al., 2013 ). The ability restore acute weight loss and physiological functioning is dependent on the time available between the weigh-in and the event. Recovery periods longer than 3 hr should be adequate to avoid physical fitness impairments in some circumstances ( Artioli et al., 2016 ), yet it is highly

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Joseph J. Matthews, Edward N. Stanhope, Mark S. Godwin, Matthew E.J. Holmes and Guilherme G. Artioli

). The term “recovery duration” was used to describe the time from the official weigh-in to commencing competition (i.e., the time permitted for RWG to occur). Some studies have used the terms “acute weight loss,” “acute weight gain,” and “body mass regain” to describe changes in body mass. However, for

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Andreas M. Kasper, Ben Crighton, Carl Langan-Evans, Philip Riley, Asheesh Sharma, Graeme L. Close and James P. Morton

 al., 2003 ), the magnitude of weight loss reported by MMA athletes (e.g., 10% in the 24 hr prior to weigh-in; Matthews & Nicholas, 2017 ) has been identified as a cause for concern in both the literature ( Crighton et al., 2016 ) and televised media ( Ralph, 2017 ). The sport has experienced two weight

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Stefan Pettersson and Christina M. Berg

Weight category athletes are known for practicing rapid weight loss before competition weigh-in. After weigh-in, athletes strive to restore euhydration and body mass through food and fluid intake. The aim of the current study was to assess prevalence of hypohydration at competition time among elite athletes’ in four different combat sports, and how water intake and timing of official weigh-in were related to hydration status. Participants were 31 taekwondo practitioners and wrestlers who performed evening weigh-in (EWI) the night before competition day and had thus time for rehydration, and 32 boxers and judokas conducting competition day morning weigh-in (MWI). In total, 32% were female. Urine specific gravity (USG) was measured by refractometry on the competition day’s first morning urine sample. Hypohydration was defined as USG ≥1.020 and serious hypohydration as USG > 1.030. Water intake was measured by means of dietary records. The prevalence of hypohydration was 89% in the morning of competition day. Serious hypohydration was also prevalent. This was found in over 50% of MWI athletes and in 42% of the EWI group. A higher water intake, from both fluids and solid foods, in the evening before competition day was not associated with a more favorable hydration status the following morning. In conclusion, neither weigh-in close to competition nor evening weigh-in with more time for rehydration seems to prevent hypohydration before competition.

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Reid Reale, Gregory R. Cox, Gary Slater and Louise M. Burke


Combat-sport athletes acutely reduce body mass (BM) before weigh-in in an attempt to gain a size/strength advantage over smaller opponents. Few studies have investigated these practices among boxers and none have explored the impact of this practice on competitive success.


One hundred (30 women, 70 men) elite boxers participating in the Australian national championships were weighed at the official weigh-in and 1 h before each competition bout. Regain in BM after weigh-in was compared between finalists and nonfinalists, winners and losers of each fight, men and women, and weight divisions. Boxers were surveyed on their pre- and post-weigh-in nutrition practices.


The lightest men’s weight category displayed significantly greater relative BM regain than all other divisions, with no difference between other divisions. BM prebout was higher than official weigh-in for men (2.12% ± 1.62%; P < .001; ES = 0.13) and women (1.49% ± 1.65%; P < .001; ES = 0.11). No differences in BM regain were found between finalists and nonfinalists, winners and losers of individual bouts, or between preliminary or final bouts. BM regain was significantly greater (0.37% BM, P < .001; ES = 0.25) before an afternoon bout compared with a morning bout.


Boxers engage in acute BM-loss practices before the official competition weigh-in, but this does not appear to affect competition outcomes, at least when weight regain between weigh-in and fighting is used as a proxy for the magnitude of acute loss. While boxers recognize the importance of recovering after weigh-in, current practice is not aligned with best-practice guidance.