ArticlePDF Available

Muscle contraction velocity, strength and power output changes following different degrees of hypohydration in competitive olympic combat sports


Abstract and Figures

Background It is habitual for combat sports athletes to lose weight rapidly to get into a lower weight class. Fluid restriction, dehydration by sweating (sauna or exercise) and the use of diuretics are among the most recurrent means of weight cutting. Although it is difficult to dissuade athletes from this practice due to the possible negative effect of severe dehydration on their health, athletes may be receptive to avoid weight cutting if there is evidence that it could affect their muscle performance. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to investigate if hypohydration, to reach a weight category, affects neuromuscular performance and combat sports competition results. Methods We tested 163 (124 men and 39 woman) combat sports athletes during the 2013 senior Spanish National Championships. Body mass and urine osmolality (UOSM) were measured at the official weigh-in (PRE) and 13–18 h later, right before competing (POST). Athletes were divided according to their USOM at PRE in euhydrated (EUH; UOSM 250–700 mOsm · kgH2O−1), hypohydrated (HYP; UOSM 701–1080 mOsm · kgH2O−1) and severely hypohydrated (S-HYP; UOSM 1081–1500 mOsm · kgH2O−1). Athletes’ muscle strength, power output and contraction velocity were measured in upper (bench press and grip) and lower body (countermovement jump - CMJ) muscle actions at PRE and POST time-points. Results At weigh-in 84 % of the participants were hypohydrated. Before competition (POST) UOSM in S-HYP and HYP decreased but did not reach euhydration levels. However, this partial rehydration increased bench press contraction velocity (2.8-7.3 %; p < 0.05) and CMJ power (2.8 %; p < 0.05) in S-HYP. Sixty-three percent of the participants competed with a body mass above their previous day’s weight category and 70 of them (69 % of that sample) obtained a medal. Conclusions Hypohydration is highly prevalent among combat sports athletes at weigh-in and not fully reversed in the 13–18 h from weigh-in to competition. Nonetheless, partial rehydration recovers upper and lower body neuromuscular performance in the severely hypohydrated participants. Our data suggest that the advantage of competing in a lower weight category could compensate the declines in neuromuscular performance at the onset of competition, since 69 % of medal winners underwent marked hypohydration.
Content may be subject to copyright.
R E S E A R C H A R T I C L E Open Access
Muscle contraction velocity, strength and
power output changes following different
degrees of hypohydration in competitive
olympic combat sports
J. G. Pallarés
, A. Martínez-Abellán
, J. M. López-Gullón
, R. Morán-Navarro
, E. De la Cruz-Sánchez
and R. Mora-Rodríguez
Background: It is habitual for combat sports athletes to lose weight rapidly to get into a lower weight class. Fluid
restriction, dehydration by sweating (sauna or exercise) and the use of diuretics are among the most recurrent
means of weight cutting. Although it is difficult to dissuade athletes from this practice due to the possible negative
effect of severe dehydration on their health, athletes may be receptive to avoid weight cutting if there is evidence
that it could affect their muscle performance. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to investigate if
hypohydration, to reach a weight category, affects neuromuscular performance and combat sports competition
Methods: We tested 163 (124 men and 39 woman) combat sports athletes during the 2013 senior Spanish
National Championships. Body mass and urine osmolality (U
) were measured at the official weigh-in (PRE) and
1318 h later, right before competing (POST). Athletes were divided according to their U
at PRE in euhydrated
250700 mOsm · kgH
), hypohydrated (HYP; U
7011080 mOsm · kgH
) and severely
hypohydrated (S-HYP; U
10811500 mOsm · kgH
). Athletesmuscle strength, power output and contraction
velocity were measured in upper (bench press and grip) and lower body (countermovement jump - CMJ) muscle
actions at PRE and POST time-points.
Results: At weigh-in 84 % of the participants were hypohydrated. Before competition (POST) U
in S-HYP and
HYP decreased but did not reach euhydration levels. However, this partial rehydration increased bench press
contraction velocity (2.8-7.3 %; p< 0.05) and CMJ power (2.8 %; p< 0.05) in S-HYP. Sixty-three percent of the
participants competed with a body mass above their previous days weight category and 70 of them (69 % of that
sample) obtained a medal.
Conclusions: Hypohydration is highly prevalent among combat sports athletes at weigh-in and not fully reversed
in the 1318 h from weigh-in to competition. Nonetheless, partial rehydration recovers upper and lower body
neuromuscular performance in the severely hypohydrated participants. Our data suggest that the advantage of
competing in a lower weight category could compensate the declines in neuromuscular performance at the onset
of competition, since 69 % of medal winners underwent marked hypohydration.
Keywords: Hydration, Urine osmolality, Bench press, Taekwondo, Olympic wrestling and boxing
* Correspondence:
Exercise Physiology Laboratory, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo,
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article
© 2016 Pallarés et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver
( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Pallarés et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2016) 13:10
DOI 10.1186/s12970-016-0121-3
Olympic weight-class combat sports (i.e., wrestling, box-
ing, judo and taekwondo) match their athletes before
competition, separating them by sex and weight class.
Weight class divisions have the purpose of making com-
petition fair by matching opponents of similar muscle
mass and strength and by doing so, reducing the risk of
injury [1, 2]. However, the timing between weigh-in and
competition can turn this noble purpose into a perverse
rule. In Olympic weight-class sports the official weigh-in
is typically held 624 h before competition for both the
amateur and professional fighters. This allows most ath-
letes to use aggressive weight-cut practices to lose
weight and enter competition in a lower weight class,
followed by fast weight regain during the hours before
In 1997 dehydration ranging from 710 % contributed
to the death of three collegiate level wrestlers in the
USA. Those episodes persuaded authorities to advance
the weigh-in period to 12 h before competition in high
school and collegiate wrestling. Unfortunately, this rule
has not spread into the European or international feder-
ations of any combat sport and, as a consequence,
weight-cutting practices prevail [3]. The American Col-
lege of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has, for long time, been
suggesting that athletes should not lower their body
mass below the weight at which body fat levels are lower
than 5 % [4]. Thus, minimal combat weight has habit-
ually been established based on body fat estimations (i.e.,
skinfolds or bioimpedance [5]), while educational pro-
grams have been administered [6] to prevent rapid
weight loss practices inducing severe dehydration in
combat athletes. Nevertheless, the success of these edu-
cational programs is tenuous [7] since approximately
one third of these athletes compete below their calcu-
lated minimal weight and are still very successful [8].
The reluctance of the combat sports ruling authorities
to impede these weight-cut practices despite the accu-
mulation of scientific literature showing the negative ef-
fects of hypohydration on performance and health
seems peculiar. However, it is understandable that ath-
letes and their coaches do not take into account the
negative effects of hypohydration on their physical per-
formance, compared to the advantage of competing in a
lower weight category. To our knowledge, one study
stands alone addressing whether competition results are
negatively correlated with body mass gained between
weigh-in and competition (an index of initial dehydra-
tion). The results reported in that study do not discour-
age athletes from undergoing weight cutting practices
[8]. This is, 60 % of the wrestlers below their minimal
competition weight ranked among the first 4 in each cat-
egory, while only 33 % of the wrestlers in their natural
combat body mass were winners during the competition.
Losses of fat mass require weeks of dieting, and
losses of the carbohydrate stored in the body can
only account for ~0.5 kg of body mass loss. Thus,
most of the weight loss achieved by these combat
sport athletes during weight-cut is due to loss of body
water. Extreme reductions in fluid and food intake,
sauna exposure, diuretic pills use [7] and exercise
using rubberized sweat suits are common means used
by combat sport athletes to reduce body mass during
the days prior to weigh-in [2]. Hypohydration nega-
tively impacts on the capacity of the body to thermo-
regulate, resulting in increased core temperature
during exercise [9]. In turn, hyperthermia has been
repeatedly shown to result in premature fatigue dur-
ing intense aerobic exercise [10, 11]. In addition,
hypohydration and the resulting hyperthermia, in-
duces cardiovascular drift, which is associated with
performance impairments such as declines in cycling
peak power [12], anaerobic power and maximal aer-
obic capacity [13].
Although success in Olympic combat sports is multi-
factorial, recent studies have shown that muscle strength
and power are key factors affecting performance in these
sports [1, 14]. However, the effects of rapid dehydration
and rehydration on neuromuscular performance (i.e.,
muscle strength and power) have not been sufficiently
explored. Weight loss by dehydration has been shown to
affect boxing and wrestling performance [13, 15]. How-
ever, if the weight loss is quickly recovered, the effects
on performance are not evident [16]. Maximal isometric
muscle strength is found to be either reduced [17] or
unchanged [18] after rapid weight loss. Montain and co-
workers found that 4 % dehydration reduced muscle en-
durance, but not isokinetic knee extension strength,
while neither pH or Pi were affected by hypohydration
[19]. Nevertheless, recent studies argue that hypohydra-
tion may impair isometric-eccentric strength, and par-
ticularly the rate of force development [20, 21].
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine
whether the hypohydration which competitive Olympic
combat sport athletes undergo to get into a lower
weight-class category, reduces their neuromuscular per-
formance. In addition, we investigated whether the mag-
nitude of body mass gained between the weigh-in and
the beginning of competition (an index of initial dehy-
dration) is related to the performance results in a real
competition event.
One hundred and twenty-four male (age 22.4 ± 4.3
years, body mass 75.1 ± 14.7 kg, height 177.1 ± 7.1 cm)
and thirty nine female (age 22.7 ± 4.4 years, body mass
56.9 ± 8.8 kg, height 164.7 ± 7.0 cm) high performance
Pallarés et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2016) 13:10 Page 2 of 9
athletes of three different Olympic combat sports volun-
teered to participate in this study: wrestling (n= 76),
taekwondo (n= 62) and boxing (n= 25). This sample
can be considered representative of the population stud-
ied, not only for its size in absolute terms, but because
these 163 participants represented 61.7 % of all athletes
competing at the 2013 Spanish National Championship
in these three Olympic combat sports. All participants
had at least 4 years of training and competition experi-
ence. Athletes and coaches were informed in detail
about the experimental procedures and the possible risks
and benefits of the project. The study complied with the
Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by the Bioeth-
ics Commission of the University of Murcia. Written in-
formed consent was obtained from athletes prior to
participation. The four medal winners of each weight
category (1
and the two 3
classified) in the
Spanish National Championship were grouped as the
Elite group. The remaining participants were assigned
to the non-Elite group [1, 14].
Experimental approach to the problem
Athletesbody mass, hydration status and neuromus-
cular performance were evaluated on two separate oc-
casions: i) between 60 and 5 min before the official
weigh-in of their respective National Championship
(PRE) and, ii) between 60 and 5 min before the be-
ginning of the first combat bout (POST). PRE trials
were conducted between 16:00 and 19:00 h, and
POST trial between 8:00 and 10:00 h the following
day. No instructions were given to athletes or their
coaches about weight control management. Eight sub-
jects were excluded from the study for ingesting vita-
mins, nutritional supplements or prescription drugs
prone to alter urine composition [22]. Three women
were excluded because they were in the proliferative
phase of their menstrual cycle which could alter urine
composition. In addition, 20 subjects were not
allowed to participate in the study due to lack of
familiarization with the weight lifting procedures.
At arrival to the testing facilities, a 10 ml mid flow
urine sample was obtained from each athlete. After the
tube with the urine sample was handed over and codi-
fied, subjectsbody mass was determined and fat-free
mass percentage estimated using a calibrated scale
(Tanita BC-418, Tanita Corp., Tokyo, Japan). Urine spec-
imens were immediately analyzed for urine osmolality
) by the same experienced investigator. After a
standardized warm-up that consisted of 5 min of joint
mobilization exercises, the subjects entered the labora-
tory to start the neuromuscular test battery assessments
under a paced schedule. These tests consisted of i) the
measurement of bar displacement velocity against 3 to 5
incremental loads in the bench press exercise, ii)
maximal isometric grip strength test, and iii) counter-
movement jump height test. Only participants who re-
ported being familiar with these resistance training
exercises were included in the study (final sample 163
combat sport athletes). Neuromuscular testing was com-
pleted for all participants in the three National Champi-
onships and two time points (PRE and POST) at the
same human performance laboratory close to the official
weigh-in and competition facilities.
Isoinertial strength assessment
After a warm-up for bench press exercise (i.e., 2 sets of
10 repetitions against 20 kg and 35 kg) all participants
performed a graded submaximal loading test in a Smith
machine (Multipower Fitness Line, Peroga, Spain) with a
linear encoder and its associated software (T-Force Sys-
tem, Ergotech, Murcia, Spain, 0.25 % accuracy) attached
to the bar by a light retractable metal cable. The initial
load was set at 20 kg for all participants and was grad-
ually increased by 20 kg for men and 10 kg for women
until mean propulsive velocity was between 0.60 m · s
and 0.50 m · s
(~7080 % 1RM; [23]). To attain that
propulsive velocity each participant lifted between 3 to 5
increasing loads. The same warm up and loads per-
formed during the PRE trial (i.e., before the official
weigh-in) were replicated in the POST trial (i.e., before
the beginning of the tournament).
Mean propulsive velocity (MPV) was calculated as the
average velocity measured only during the propulsive
phase, defined as the portion of the concentric action
during which the bar acceleration is greater than acceler-
ation due to gravity [23]. In each trial (PRE and POST),
three repetitions were executed for light (MPV between
1.40 and 1.00 m · s
), two for medium (MPV between
0.99 and 0.75 m · s
), and only one for the heaviest
(MPV between 0.74 and 0.50 m · s
) loads interspersed
with 5-min of passive rest.
Individual range of movement was carefully replicated
in each trial with the help of two telescopic bar holders
with a precision of ± 1.0 cm. The bar holders were posi-
tioned to allow the bar to descend to 1 cm off each sub-
jects chest. Subjects were instructed to perform the
eccentric phase in a slow and controlled manner, remain
paused for 2 s at the bar holders, momentarily releasing
the weight, and thereafter to perform a purely concentric
action, pushing at the maximal possible velocity. The
momentary pause imposed between the eccentric and
concentric actions was designed to minimize the contri-
bution of the stretch-shortening cycle (i.e., rebound ef-
fect) and allow for a more reliable and consistent
measurement [23].
Given the close relationship between the bar mean
propulsive velocity (i.e., MPV) attained during the
Pallarés et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2016) 13:10 Page 3 of 9
concentric phase and the load (% 1RM; r > 0.995 [24]) it
was not necessary to reach the one repetition maximum
load (1RM) to quantify the effects that the 1318 h that
separated the PRE and the POST time points had on
neuromuscular performance. We analyzed the MPV dif-
ference between the PRE and POST trials against the
heaviest load lifted during the incremental loading test
(MPV between 0.60 and 0.50 m · s
). As recently re-
ported, the MPV at this load represents the most valid
and reliable test to predict maximum strength through
bar displacement velocity [23, 24]. In addition, this pro-
cedure avoids the physical and mental stress associated
with 1RM assessment, it drastically reduces testing time
and injury risk.
Jumping test (CMJ)
Participants completed three repetitions of a counter-
movement vertical jump (CMJ). For this test, partici-
pants squatted down into a self-selected depth prior to
explosively performing the concentric action. Partici-
pants were instructed to keep their hands on their hips
at all times and to maintain the same position at take-off
and landing. Flight times were measured using an infra-
red jump system (Optojump, Microgate, Italy). The re-
corded height for this test was the average of three trials.
Absolute mechanical power during CMJ was calculated
with the following formula: CMJ
= BM g (2 g h)
which BMis body mass in kg, gthe acceleration of
gravity in m s
, and hthe jumping height in meters.
The detailed testing procedures, validity, and reliability
(i.e., testretest ICC and CV were 0.94 and 3.3 %, re-
spectively) have recently been established elsewhere [1].
Maximal hand grip strength tests
Each subjects grip strength was measured for dominant
and non-dominant hands with a Baseline Hydraulic
Dynamometer (Country Technology Inc; Gays Mills,
USA). Participants sat with 0° of shoulder flexion and
90° of elbow flexion and the forearm in neutral position.
The average result of two repetitions with each arm was
Urine osmolality
As has been repeatedly reported, this procedure is
considered the gold standardnon-invasivemeasureto
determine the athleteshydration status [3, 25]. Upon
collection, athletes urine specimens (10 mL) were im-
mediately analyzed in duplicate by freezing point
depression osmometry (Model 3250, Advanced Instru-
ments, USA).
Statistical analysis
Standard statistical methods were used for the calcu-
lation of means, standard deviation (SD), standard
error of the means (SEM) and effect size (ES). Subjects
were stratified in three groups according to their hydration
status based on U
values [26] at PRE data collection. As
recently described [3] three intervals of equal amplitude
were established according to the following cutoff values:
from 250 to 700 mOsm · kg H
(euhydrated -
EUH; n= 26), from 701 to 1.080 mOsm · kg H
(hypohydrated - HYP; n= 69) and from 1.081 to
1.500 mOsm · kg H
(severely hypohydrated - S-
HYP; n= 68). The Shapiro-Wilk test was used to
assess normal distribution of data. A two-way (hydra-
tion level x time) ANOVA was used to detect differ-
ences in U
values. One-way ANOVA was run for
comparison of change scores (PRE vs. POST) in body
composition and neuromuscular performance vari-
ables. The Greenhouse-Geisser adjustment for spher-
icity was calculated. After a significant F test,
differences among means were identified using pair-
wise comparisons with Bonferronisadjustment.Dif-
ferences in the change scores between the elite and
non-elite groups were analysed using Studentsttest.
Additionally, a chi-square test for association was
conducted between competitive levels and hydration
status, with all expected cell frequencies greater than
five. The p< 0.05 criterion was used for establishing
statistical significance.
Urine osmolality and body mass
When the PRE urine osmolality results of the three groups
were compared, S-HYP 1215 ± 95 mOsm · L
mOsm · L
) showed significantly higher values than HYP
(975 ± 79 mOsm · L
SEM = 9 mOsm · L
higher; ES = 2.74; p< 0.001) and EUH (618 ± 187 mOsm ·
; SEM = 37 mOsm · L
4.22; p< 0.001). Significantly higher U
were detected in the HYP compared to EUH in PRE
(57.7 % higher; ES = 2.67; p< 0.001). Similarly, POST
in S-HYP (1000 ± 185 mOsm · L
mOsm · L
) was significantly higher than HYP (883 ±
224 mOsm · L
; SEM = 26 mOsm · L
; 13.3 % higher;
ES = 0.57; p< 0.02) and EUH (749 ± 238 mOsm · L
SEM = 48 mOsm · L
; 33.5 % higher; ES = 1.18;
p< 0.001). Also, significant higher values were de-
tected in the HYP compared to EUH at POST
(17.8 % higher; ES = 0.58; p<0.001;Fig.1).
changed between PRE and POST time points in
all groups. The euhydrated group (EUH) significantly in-
creased its osmolality in the 1318 h that separated the
official weigh-in and the beginning of the tournament
(21.2 %; ES = 0.61; p< 0.01). By contrast, the
Pallarés et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2016) 13:10 Page 4 of 9
hypohydrated (HYP) and severely hypohydrated (S-HYP)
groups significantly decreased their urine osmolality (i.e.,
rehydration) in the same period of time (HYP = 9.5 %,
ES = 0.61; p<0.01;S-HYP=17.7 %, ES = 1.53; p<0.01;
Fig. 1).
Body mass difference between PRE and POST time
points (i.e., another index of rehydration) did not change
for the euhydrated group (i.e., EUH). However, the hypo-
hydrated group HYP recovered 1.2 % of body mass and
the group severely hypohydrated (i.e., S-HYP) recovered
3.1 % of body mass. The recovery in the S-HYP group
was higher than the recovery in the rest of the groups
(ES = 0.49 1.41; p< 0.05; Fig. 2).
A strong linear negative correlation was detected be-
tween body mass changes and U
changes between
(r= 0.504; p< 0.001; n= 163; Fig. 3).
Neuromuscular assessments
The increases in MPV in the severely hypohydrated
group (i.e., S-HYP) was higher than in the EUH and
HYP groups (7.3 ± 2.6 % compared to 3.4 ± 2.6 % for
EUH and 0.2 ± 1.4 % for HYP; p< 0,001; Fig. 4a). Like-
wise, significantly higher CMJ power increases were de-
tected in the S-HYP group (2.8 ± 3.9 %) compared to
EUH (0.6 ± 4.7 %; ES = 0.79; p< 0.001) and close to
significance when compared to HYP (1.1 ± 3.1 %; ES =
0.49; p= 0.08; Fig. 4b). No significant differences were
detected in the relative changes of maximum grip
strength for dominant or non-dominant hands, neither
between PRE and POST values, nor between groups
(EUH, HYP and S-HYP) at any time point (Fig. 4c).
Results by competitive level
When PRE hydration status of all medals winners at
their respective National Championships (Elite) were
compared to the remaining competitors (i.e., non-Elite),
Elite showed higher mean urine osmolality (Elite =
1034.3 ± 28.6 mOsm · kg H
; non-Elite = 955.8 ±
22.4 mOsm · kg H
;p< 0.05). Chi-squared test
showed a significantly higher proportion of severe dehy-
dration (U
> 1080 mOsm · kg H
) in the Elite
group (46.8 % vs. 26.2 %; χ2(2) = 7.519, p= 0.023). How-
ever, no significant differences were detected between
competitive levels before the beginning of the tourna-
ment (i.e., POST; Elite = 906.8 ± 28.1 mOsm · kg H
non-Elite = 888.0 ± 22.9 mOsm · kg H
). Larger
MPV changes were detected between PRE and POST in
the Elite group compared to the non-Elite (3.4 ± 2.6 %
vs. 1.4 ± 2.5; p< 0.05; Fig. 5a). Also, significant higher
increases in CMJ power were detected in the Elite group
Fig. 1 Changes in urine osmolality between PRE and POST time
points for each group (EUH, HYP and S-HYP). Data are presented as
mean ± SEM. *Significant difference respective to the PRE time
significant difference when compared to EUH at PRE;
compared to HYP at PRE;
when compared to EUH at POST;
compared to HYP at POST
Fig 2 Relative changes in body mass for each group (EUH, HYP and S-
HYP). Data are presented as mean ± SEM. Significant differences
compared to EUH;
when compared to HYP
Fig. 3 Correlation between U
changes and body mass changes
between PRE and POST time points in the whole sample
Pallarés et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2016) 13:10 Page 5 of 9
compared to the non-Elite athletes (3.4 ± 4.7 % vs. 1.5 ±
4.1; p< 0.05; Fig. 5b).
Out of the 163 participants in this study, 102 (i.e., 63 %)
started the competition with a body mass above the
weight category they entered at weigh-in (i.e., 1318 h
before competition). Thus, those 102 participants are sus-
pected of having undergone dehydration to cut weight. Of
these 102 athletes, 70 of them obtained a medal (i.e., Elite)
in the championship. This is, 69 % of all the hypohydrated
athletes at weigh-in were successful at competition.
Conversely, only an 11 % of the athletes obtaining a
medal did not enter a lower weight category at
weigh-in, and thus did not undergo dehydration. If
weigh-in had taken place right before competition, 89 %
of the Elite (medal winners) would not have entered the
weight category at which they competed. However, only
44 % of the non-Elite would not have entered the weight
category they ended up competing in.
In this study we measured upper and lower body muscle
power and isometric strength in 163 Olympic weight-
class athletes (e.g. wrestling, boxing and taekwondo) at
the official weigh-in (PRE) and 1318 h after (POST),
immediately prior to a National Championship competi-
tion. We found that based on urine osmolality, at weigh-
Fig. 4 Relative changes in (a), bench press mean propulsive velocity,
(b) countermovement jump power and (c) grip strength (between
PRE and POST time points for each group (EUH, HYP and S-HYP). Data
are presented as mean ± SEM.
Significantly different compared to
Significantly different compared to HYP
Fig. 5 Relative changes in (a) bench press mean propulsive velocity
and (b) countermovement jump power between PRE and POST
testing for Elite and non-Elite groups. Data are presented as mean ±
SEM. *Significantly different when compared to Elite
Pallarés et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2016) 13:10 Page 6 of 9
in, 42 % of the athletes were moderately hypohydrated
(7001080 mOsm · kg H
; HYP), 42 % were severely
hypohydrated (10811500 mOsm · kg H
; S-HYP)
and only 16 % were not hypohydrated (<700 mOsm · kg
; EUH). In the hypohydrated groups (i.e., HYP
and S-HYP) 1318 h after weigh-in, body mass was re-
covered by 1.2 and 3.1 %, respectively. This gain in body
mass in this relatively short period of time is attributable
mostly to body water restoration. This fast rehydration
did not increase isometric grip strength. However, lower
body (i.e., CMJ) and upper body (i.e., bench press)
muscle power increased in the group which was more
hypohydrated (i.e., S-HYP) compared to the other
groups. Thus, although severe dehydration permits
fighters to enter a lower weight category, it reduces their
neuromuscular performance. However, weight regain be-
tween weigh-in and the beginning of the competition
(i.e., 1318 h rehydration) offsets at least part of muscle
function losses.
We observed that medal winners in the National
Championship ranked among the more hypohydrated
subjects based in urine osmolality at weigh-in (i.e., PRE).
However, urine osmolality at weight regain (i.e., POST)
was not different between the winners and the rest of
the athletes (907 vs. 888 mOsm · kg H
). This sug-
gests that medal winners are able to dehydrate more
than their counterparts and recover more fluid during
those 1318 h before competition. This allows them to
be placed in a lower weight category at weigh-in, while
relapsing to their habitual body mass in a few hours.
This denotes a special ability in the high level competi-
tors for losing and gaining body fluids. The relative
change in bench press MPV in medal winners was larger
than in the rest of the participants, which suggests that
their ability to recover body fluids allows them to also
rapidly recover their muscle power. Our data is in agree-
ment with a previous study on 159 varsity wrestlers [8]
reinforcing the belief that weight cutting and placement
in a lower weight category could be associated with
greater competition success.
Other authors have suggested the relationship between
an athletes ability to weight-cut and their success in
competition in combat sports. Horswill [2] pointed out
that successful USA collegiate wrestlers at their national
championship tended to lose more weight than those
not as successful. Wroble and Moxley [8] suggested that
wrestling below minimum wrestling weight is associated
with greater success in competition. Lastly, Artiolis
group detected, in a descriptive study involving more
than 800 judo athletes, that the level of aggressiveness in
their weight loss behaviors (i.e., larger weight losses in
shorter time) increases in the Elite [27]. However, our
study is unique in explaining the association between
weight loss at weigh-in and competitive success the next
day. First, our measures of U
allows us to confirm
that in combat sport athletes, the loss of body
mass involves dehydration, since the gains in body
mass are tightly correlated with the reductions in
(r=0.504;p< 0.001; Fig. 3), a recognized marker of
hydration status. Secondly, our study suggests that muscle
power in upper and lower muscles is reduced mostly
when hypohydration is severe (i.e., S-HYP). Furthermore,
our data shows that muscle power can be recovered
(3-7 % in S-HYP) in the 1318 h between weigh-in
and competition (Figs. 4 and 5). We are not able to
conclude if rehydration during those 1318 h allowed
full or partial muscle power restoration because we
are lacking a basal measurement. However, the in-
creases were higher in the elite group since they were
more dehydrated at weigh-in. This suggests that al-
though hydration and likely muscle power were not
fully restored, entering a lower weight category com-
pensated for those effects.
The group of athletes we tested included 39 women
and 124 men of different competitive levels (National
and International), with a wide range of body mass (45.8
to 119.8 kg), fat free mass (71.1 % to 97.7 %) and thus
amount of muscle mass and potential strength. As a
consequence, within each hydration level group these
athletes present a disparity of neuromuscular perform-
ance in absolute terms for CMJ power, bench press
MPV and isometric grip strength. For instance, a body
mass gain between PRE and POST of 1000 gr in an indi-
vidual of 50 kg (2 % increment) will expectedly have lar-
ger physiological consequences than the same rise in an
individual of 100 kg (1 % increment). In the same way,
an isometric grip strength gain of 2 kg between PRE and
POST in an individual of 30 kg of maximum isometric
grip strength (6.6 % increment) will be more significant
than the same rise in an individual with a maximum
grip strength of 60 kg (3.3 % increment). In contrast,
a urine osmolality increment between the official
weigh-in and the beginning of the tournament of 150
mOsm · kg H
has the same physiological effect,
and therefore will have the same significance, in an
individual of 50 kg, 70 kg or 90 kg of body mass.
Thus, body mass, hand grip, CMJ power and bench
press muscle contraction velocity changes between
PRE and POST trials were analyzed in relative terms
(i.e., percent changes), while urine osmolality values
were analyzed in absolute terms.
The effects of hypohydration on muscle performance
have been studied using different protocols and meas-
urement techniques. Studies vary in the percentage of
dehydration achieved from 1.7 % to 5.8 % of body mass
reduction [13, 16, 20, 21, 28]. Also, in the mode of dehy-
dration, with either thermally induced passive dehydra-
tion [29], exercise-induced active dehydration [20, 30] or
Pallarés et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2016) 13:10 Page 7 of 9
diuretic induced dehydration [28]. Additionally, studies
widely differ in the muscle performance tests used with
studies testing either 1 RM [16], local muscle endurance
[31], isometric strength [17, 20, 21, 31] or isokinetic
force [19, 20]. Recently, Judelson and co-workers [32]
reviewed the literature in this area and concluded that
dehydration ranged between 2.55.0 % of body mass
consistently attenuates strength by 2 % and power by ap-
proximately 3 %. The origin of these reductions has been
speculated to reside on alterations in cardiovascular,
metabolic or buffering functions [2]. Unfortunately, none
of these factors have been able to be related to the losses
in strength and power with hypohydration. Alternatively,
hypohydration may affect neuromuscular function [20,
32] although membrane excitability is not reduced by
dehydration [33]. In the present study we use a neuro-
muscular test in a real sports situation. Our subjects
were left to dehydrate using a technique of their choice
and their upper body neuromuscular performance was
tested before and after rehydration using a very reliable
technique [23]. We were able to discriminate a 1.5 % sig-
nificant increases in mean propulsive velocity (MPV)
due to the high reproducibility and sensitivity of this
technique [34].
Our neuromuscular bench press testing is highly
normalized and has high reproducibility [23] and
sensibility [3436]. However, neuromuscular function
is influenced by circadian rhythm [34, 37]. We have
reported 5.68.6 % reductions in bench press muscle
power in the morning (8:00 h) in comparison to the
afternoon (i.e., 18:00 h; [34, 36, 37]). Thus, the lack
of increase in bench press muscle power in the group
that recovered 1.2 % of their body mass (i.e., HYP)
could be partially due to the fact that the test after
rehydration (POST) was conducted in the morning
(between 8:00 h and 10:00 h), while the hypohydrated
test (PRE) was conducted in the evening (between
16:00 h and 19:00 h). Likewise, the percentage increases in
neuromuscular performance found in S-HYP athletes (i.e.,
2.87.3 %) could have been larger if they had been tested at
and S-HYP subjects did not return to a euhydrated condi-
tion after the 1824 h. However, S-HYP subjects signifi-
cantly increased muscle power although they were still
moderately hypohydrated (urine osmolality 1000.4 ± 23.0
mOsm · kg H
; Fig. 1). It is possible that full rehydration
would have resulted in larger gains in neuromuscular
Grip strength was not sensitive to weight regain (rehy-
dration) in our subjects. Isometric force has been previ-
ously evaluated in athletes prior and after dehydration
but the results are controversial. Maximal isometric
muscle strength is found to be either reduced [17] or
unchanged [18, 19], probably due to the poor reliability
of this measure (CV > 10 %). Furthermore, the effects of
hypohydration on the central or peripheral nervous sys-
tem is not evident when contraction time is not a limita-
tion for motor unit recruitment, as it is during isometric
contraction. Coinciding with our results, Judelson and
co-workers, reported reduced central drive with hypohy-
dration (reduced voluntary activation) however, isomet-
ric strength was unchanged [31].
Some authors sustain that the time allowed between
weigh-in and competition is enough to recover fluid and
energy substrates. Tarnopolsky et al. [38], observed that
the weight loss using energy and fluid restriction before
weigh-in results in a marked decrease in muscle glyco-
gen concentration which could affect high intensity an-
aerobic actions common in combat sports. However,
those reductions in muscle glycogen concentrations are
largely reversed during the 17 h period allowed between
weigh-in and the start of the competition [38]. Recent
reports sustain that the dehydration incurred at weigh-in
by combat sport athletes does not affect their combat
performance. Artioli and co-workers studied judo com-
bat athletes before and after rapid (5 to 7 days) weight
loss (i.e., 5 %) using a self-selected regime that included
voluntary dehydration. They found that weight loss did
not affect judo-related performance (i.e., 5 min simu-
lated combat) or anaerobic power during a Wingate test
(i.e., 30 s all-out effort; [39]). Rapid weight loss did not
affect performance in judo combat athletes that were
not used to weight-cut (non-weight cyclers) and thus
could not be attributable to adaptations to chronic
weight cycling [40]. Thus, it is possible that the increase
in muscle function that we found after 1318 h of recov-
ery in the S-HYP group which showed a decline in
muscle power when hypohydrated at weigh-in (hypohy-
dration) may not influence combat performance.
In summary, our findings suggest that hypohydration is
highly prevalent (i.e., 84 %) among competitive combat
sports athletes, while 42 % of them undergo severe dehy-
dration at weigh-in. Furthermore, severe dehydration at
weigh-in (group S-HYP) seemed to lower neuromuscular
bench press muscle contraction velocity (7.3 ± 2.6 %)
and jumping power (2.8 ± 3.9 %) when compared to
values after 1318 h of rest and rehydration. Conversely,
the neuromuscular performance impairment of severe
dehydration can be reversed with rehydration during the
few hours that elapse between weigh-in and competition.
Our experimental design precludes us from ascertaining
if this recovery of power is partial or full since we do not
have a euhydrated control situation to compare it to. Fi-
nally, our data suggest that most successful competitors
(medal winners in these National Championships)
undergo severe dehydration followed by weight regain
Pallarés et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2016) 13:10 Page 8 of 9
without reaching full rehydration. Perhaps, the advan-
tage of competing in a weight category below the ath-
letes habitual weight, balances the negative effects of
competing somewhat hypohydrated.
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
RMR, JGP, and AMA were involved with study design, subject recruitment,
scheduling and coordination, protocol setup and supervision, data
acquisition, data analysis and interpretation, and preparation of the
manuscript. RMN, ECS, and JMLG were involved in study design, data
interpretation, and preparation of the manuscript. All authors read and
approved the final manuscript.
The authors acknowledge the dedication, commitment, and professionalism
of athletes and coaches who took part in this investigation. The authors
report no conflicts of interest. The authors have no financial or personal
conflicts of interest to declare.
Author details
Human Performance and Sports Science Laboratory, University of Murcia,
Murcia, Spain.
Exercise Physiology Laboratory, University of Castilla-La
Mancha, Toledo, Spain.
Received: 29 September 2015 Accepted: 29 February 2016
1. Garcia-Pallares J, Maria Lopez-Gullon J, Muriel X, et al. Physical fitness factors
to predict male olympic wrestling performance. Eur J Appl Physiol.
2. Horswill CA. Applied physiology of amateur wrestling. Sports Med.
3. Fernández-Elías VE, Martínez-Abellán A, López-Gullón JM, et al. Validity of
hydration non-invasive indices during the weightcutting and official
weigh-in for olympic combat sports. PLoS One. 2014;9, e95336.
4. ACSM. American college of sports medicine position stand on weight loss
in wrestlers. Med Sci Sports. 1976;8:xi-xiii
5. Utter AC, Lambeth PG. Evaluation of multifrequency bioelectrical
impedance analysis in assessing body composition of wrestlers. Med Sci
Sports Exerc. 2010;42:3617.
6. Oppliger RA, Harms RD, Herrmann DE, et al. The wisconsin wrestling
minimum weight project: A model for weight control among high school
wrestlers. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995;27:12204.
7. Tipton CM, Tcheng TK. Iowa wrestling study. Weight loss in high school
students. JAMA. 1970;214:126974.
8. Wroble RR, Moxley DP. Weight loss patterns and success rates in high
school wrestlers. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998;30:6258.
9. Montain SJ, Latzka WA, Sawka MN. Control of thermoregulatory sweating is
altered by hydration level and exercise intensity. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1995;
10. González-Alonso J, Teller C, Andersen SL, et al. Influence of body
temperature on the development of fatigue during prolonged exercise in
the heat. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1999;86:10329.
11. Saltin B. Aerobic and anaerobic work capacity after dehydration. J Appl
Physiol. 1964;19:11148.
12. Fritzsche RG, Switzer TW, Hodgkinson BJ, et al. Water and carbohydrate
ingestion during prolonged exercise increase maximal neuromuscular
power. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2000;88:7307.
13. Webster S, Rutt R, Weltman A. Physiological effects of a weight loss regimen
practiced by college wrestlers. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1990;22:22934.
14. Garcia Pallares J, Lopez-Gullon JM, Torres-Bonete MD, et al. Physical fitness
factors to predict female olympic wrestling performance and sex
differences. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26:794803.
15. Smith MS, Dyson R, Hale T, et al. The effects in humans of rapid loss of
body mass on a boxing-related task. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2000;83:349.
16. Schoffstall JE, Branch JD, Leutholtz BC, et al. Effects of dehydration and
rehydration on the one-repetition maximum bench press of weight-trained
males. J Strength Cond Res. 2001;15:1028.
17. Kraemer WJ, Fry AC, Rubin MR, et al. Physiological and performance
responses to tournament wrestling. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33:136778.
18. Marttinen RH, Judelson DA, Wiersma LD, et al. Effects of self-selected mass
loss on performance and mood in collegiate wrestlers. J Strength Cond Res.
19. Montain SJ, Smith SA, Mattot RP, et al. Hypohydration effects on skeletal
muscle performance and metabolism: A 31p-mrs study. J Appl Physiol
(1985). 1998;84:188994.
20. Bowtell JL, Avenell G, Hunter SP, et al. Effect of hypohydration on peripheral
and corticospinal excitability and voluntary activation. PLoS One.
2013;8, e77004.
21. Minshull C, James L. The effects of hypohydration and fatigue on
neuromuscular activation performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab.
22. Armstrong LE, Maresh CM, Castellani JW, et al. Urinary indices of hydration
status. Int J Sport Nutr. 1994;4:26579.
23. Pallares JG, Sanchez-Medina L, Esteban Perez C, et al. Imposing a pause
between the eccentric and concentric phases increases the reliability of
isoinertial strength assessments. J Sports Sci. 2014;32:116575.
24. Sanchez-Medina L, Gonzalez-Badillo JJ, Perez CE, et al. Velocity- and power-
load relationships of the bench pull vs. Bench press exercises. Int J Sports
Med. 2014;35:20916.
25. Shirreffs SM. Markers of hydration status. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003;57 Suppl
26. Sawka MN, Burke LM, Eichner ER, et al. American college of sports medicine
position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement. Med Sci Sports Exerc.
27. Artioli GG, Gualano B, Franchini E, et al. Prevalence, magnitude, and
methods of rapid weight loss among judo competitors. Med Sci Sports
Exerc. 2010;42:43642.
28. Viitasalo JT, Kyröläinen H, Bosco C, et al. Effects of rapid weight reduction
on force production and vertical jumping height. Int J Sports Med.
29. Bigard AX, Sanchez H, Claveyrolas G, et al. Effects of dehydration and
rehydration on emg changes during fatiguing contractions. Med Sci Sports
Exerc. 2001;33:1694700.
30. Gutiérrez A, Mesa JL, Ruiz JR, et al. Sauna-induced rapid weight loss
decreases explosive power in women but not in men. Int J Sports Med.
31. Judelson DA, Maresh CM, Farrell MJ, et al. Effect of hydration state on
strength, power, and resistance exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc.
32. Judelson DA, Maresh CM, Anderson JM, et al. Hydration and muscular
performance: Does fluid balance affect strength, power and high-intensity
endurance? Sports Med. 2007;37:90721.
33. Costill DL, Coté R, Fink W. Muscle water and electrolytes following varied
levels of dehydration in man. J Appl Physiol. 1976;40:611.
34. Mora-Rodríguez R, Pallarés JG, López-Gullón JM, et al. Improvements on
neuromuscular performance with caffeine ingestion depend on the time-of-
day. J Sci Med Sport. 2015;18:33842.
35. Pallarés JG, Fernández-Elías VE, Ortega JF, et al. Neuromuscular responses to
incremental caffeine doses: Performance and side effects. Med Sci Sports
Exerc. 2013;45:218492.
36. Pallarés JG, López-Samanes A, Fernández-Elías VE, et al. Pseudoephedrine
and circadian rhythm interaction on neuromuscular performance. Scand J
Med Sci Sports. 2015;25:e60312.
37. Mora-Rodriguez R, Garcia Pallares J, Lopez-Samanes A, et al. Caffeine
ingestion reverses the circadian rhythm effects on neuromuscular
performance in highly resistance-trained men. Plos One. 2012;7:e33807.
38. Tarnopolsky MA, Cipriano N, Woodcroft C, et al. Effects of rapid weight loss
and wrestling on muscle glycogen concentration. Clin J Sport Med.
39. Artioli GG, Iglesias RT, Franchini E, et al. Rapid weight loss followed by
recovery time does not affect judo-related performance. J Sports Sci.
40. Mendes SH, Tritto AC, Guilherme JP, et al. Effect of rapid weight loss on
performance in combat sport male athletes: Does adaptation to chronic
weight cycling play a role? Br J Sports Med. 2013;47:115560.
Pallarés et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2016) 13:10 Page 9 of 9
... 2,13,14 Furthermore, it has been reported that following RWG, athletes may remain dehydrated based on urine osmolarity and urine specific gravity measurements despite recovering almost all body mass losses. [15][16][17] Additionally, total hemoglobin mass, blood volume, and blood glucose concentrations may be impaired before competing. 18,19 As such, the RWL and RWG associated with weight cutting may impact exercise capacity and have consequences for match performance. ...
... Findings of reduced anaerobic capacity, maximal strength, power, and repeated high-intensity effort performance following acute dehydration associated with RWL have previously been reported in some, 17,25,40 but not all studies. 22,42,45 This meta-analysis found small to moderate detriments in overall exercise performance and the maximal muscle strength and repeated high-intensity effort performance subgroups between pre-RWL and post-RWL. ...
... 1,14 Furthermore, a longer period of time (≥48 h) 55 may be required to completely recover from the RWL phase of weight cutting. Indeed, others [15][16][17]25 have shown significant cellular dehydration in combat sport athletes post-RWG between 24 and 36 hours. This may be due to a possible discrepancy between regain of body mass and complete cellular rehydration following RWL. ...
Full-text available
Weight cutting in combat sports is a prevalent practice whereby athletes voluntarily dehydrate themselves via various methods to induce rapid weight loss (RWL) to qualify for a lower weight category than that of their usual training body weight. The intention behind this practice is to regain the lost body mass and compete at a heavier mass than permitted by the designated weight category. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively synthesize the available evidence examining the effects of weight cutting on exercise performance in combat-sport athletes. Following a systematic search of the literature, meta-analyses were performed to compare maximal strength, maximal power, anaerobic capacity, and/or repeated high-intensity-effort performance before rapid weight loss (pre-RWL), immediately following RWL (post-RWL), and 3 to 36 hours after RWL following recovery and rapid weight gain (post-RWG). Overall, exercise performance was unchanged between pre-RWL and post-RWG ( g = 0.22; 95% CI, −0.18 to 0.62). Between pre-RWL and post-RWL analyses revealed small reductions in maximal strength and repeated high-intensity-effort performance ( g = −0.29; 95% CI, −0.54 to −0.03 and g = −0.37; 95% CI, −0.59 to −0.16, respectively; both P ≤ .03). Qualitative analysis indicates that maximal strength and power remained comparable between post-RWL and post-RWG. These data suggest that weight cutting in combat-sport athletes does not alter short-duration, repeated high-intensity-effort performance; however, there is evidence to suggest that select exercise performance outcomes may decline as a product of RWL. It remains unclear whether these are restored by RWG.
... This altered cardiovascular function may negatively affect aerobic endurance when ≥2% BW dehydration occurs (James et al., 2019). Furthermore hypohydration also limits anaerobic performance, strength, power and high-intensity endurance (Judelson et al., 2007;Kraft et al., 2012), which is confirmed from studies with combat sport athletes (Barley, Iredale, et al., 2018;Pallarés et al., 2016). The mechanisms explaining these associations are not clear (Judelson et al., 2007), however the impaired neuromuscular function is appealing possible. ...
... The mechanisms explaining these associations are not clear (Judelson et al., 2007), however the impaired neuromuscular function is appealing possible. Dehydration associated alterations in neuromuscular performance such as muscle contraction velocity have been reported (Pallarés et al., 2016), even though others failed to find any neuromuscular impairments (Barley, Chapman, Blazevich, et al., 2018). In judo, where a multitude of abilities are required, dehydration is bound to have a negative effect on the athletes' physiology and performance. ...
Full-text available
Neck stabilisation during a breakfall, in response to a judo throw, may play a crucial role in preventing direct contact between the participant’s head and the judo mat. Therefore, neck strength may predict the risk of judo-related head injuries. However, the precise association between neck strength and neck stabilisation during breakfalls remains to be clarified. Furthermore, the effect of the impulsive force during breakfall on head and neck stabilisation has not been discussed in previous research studies. Therefore, the aim of our study was to investigate the correlation between neck strength, the force acting on the body during osoto-gari, and head and neck stabilisation parameters. Thirty novice male judoka volunteered to participate in this study. Three-dimensional motion analysis of osoto-gari breakfalls was performed to obtain biomechanical variables such as the resultant linear and angular head acceleration during breakfall, the force acting on the whole-body centre of mass (COM), as well as the isometric neck strength. A multiple regression analysis was performed to elucidate the contribution of neck strength and impact force on head and neck stabilisation (P < 0.05). Our results demonstrated no significant correlation among the peak neck flexion strength, the peak force acting on the COM, the peak linear and the peak angular acceleration of the head during breakfall. The present finding suggests that neck strength may not be a useful parameter in screening for high risk head injuries in novice judoka. Therefore, a mere enhancement of the neck strength and/or a reduction in the magnitude of the impulsive force imposed during osoto-gari may not be fully effective in preventing judo related head injuries.
... Judo is a grappling Olympic combat sport where athletes compete according to weight categories [1]. The weight categories aim to maximize competition fairness and decrease injury risks [2]. Nevertheless, judo athletes, like many other combat sports athletes, resort to rapid weight loss (RWL) and rapid weight gain (RWG) to have an advantage against lighter and weaker opponents [3,4]. ...
... The sample size was justified using G*Power software (Version; Universitat Kiel, Dusseldorf, Germany) with a priori test with an effect size of 0.25 and 0.85 statistical power using repeated-measures ANOVA, within-between factors test [26]. The study's inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) at least 5 years of judo competition experience; (2) belt level of at least 1st DAN; (3) participation in international competitions such as World/European Championships, Grand Slam/Prix or continental cups; (4) free from musculoskeletal injuries in the last year. If these criteria were not met, athletes were excluded from the research. ...
Full-text available
Background: This study aimed to investigate the effect of 5% rapid weight loss on hydration status and judo performance in highly trained judo athletes. Methods: Eighteen male judo athletes participated in the study and were divided into two groups: control and rapid weight loss (RWL). RWL athletes were given 48 h to cut 5% of their body mass while the control group followed their routines. Athletes performed three measurements, including hydration, body mass and three consecutive special judo fitness tests (SJFTs). At the 1st and 6th minutes following each SJFT and 1st, 6th and 15th minutes following the last SJFT, blood lactate and heart rate (HR) was monitored. Results: The effect of RWL on variables was tested with split-plot ANOVA. RWL significantly affected urine specific gravity with a higher value following weight loss compared to baseline and recovery (F2-32 = 13.2, p < 0.001). In addition, athletes' SJFT total throw numbers differed among measurements (F2-32 = 7.70, p < 0.001). Athletes presented worse SJFT index after weight loss (F2-32 = 8.05, p = 0.01; F1-16 = 6.43, p = 0.02, respectively). HR changed significantly among measurements days and times (F28-448 = 143.10, p < 0.001). Conclusion: RWL induced dehydration and impaired heart rate recovery in highly trained judo athletes, and they could not rehydrate between competition simulated weigh-in and 15 h of recovery.
... The combat sports (i.e., wrestling, boxing, judo, Pencak silat, taekwondo, muay Thai, taekwondo) match their athletes before a competition based on gender and weight class. The weight class aims to make the opponent have the same weight to reduce injuries (Pallarés et al., 2016). Although success in combat sport has many factors, recent research has shown that muscle strength and power are the key factors influencing performance in this sport. ...
... However, recent research suggests that hypohydration can impair isometric, eccentric forces, particularly the force development rate. (Pallarés et al., 2016) The hydration protocol intervention has a big effect on keeping the athlete's total body water (TBW) and body mass stable during training activities. In another study, decreases in TBW and body mass were noted to reduce muscle performance in athletes (Akan, 2020). ...
Full-text available
Water is a molecule that plays an essential role in the muscle contraction process because muscle is a tissue that mostly contains water (75-80%). Therefore, athletes need to maintain fluid intake to support their physical activities when competing and when training. Nevertheless, in several studies, it was noted that some athletes experienced hypohydration or dehydration, which ultimately impaired muscle performance. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine the hydration protocol intervention on muscle strength, endurance, and power performance. This research is an analytical study with quasi-experimental research methods, namely single-arm pre-post study design using secondary data. Subjects of this study were 69 athletes year 2020 (named consecutively: Muaythai 9, Pencak silat 12, wrestling 10, judo 18, and taekwondo 20 athletes). This research was conducted from December 2019 to January 2020. In the beginning, all athletes were tested for muscle strength using a leg dynamometer, then muscle endurance tests using push-up and sit-up tests, and muscle power tests using the triple hop test of the right and left legs. After the first test, all athletes were educated about the hydration protocol. The hydration protocol was determined based on each athlete's sweat rate (ISR) and the training characteristics of each sports division. Then, all athletes underwent the training for two months. After that, the same tests were performed. The result showed that hydration protocol influenced the performance of muscle strength, endurance, and power. Therefore, the hydration protocol is influential in maintaining a good hydration status in athletes so that the athlete does not experience hypohydration which will later impair the athlete's muscle performance. Therefore, it is crucial to apply hydration protocols individually according to the training program (volume of training), not only in martial arts sports but in all sports.
... 84%) have also been found in competitive combat sports athletes. 14 Previous research investigated hydration status of judo athletes before, during, and after the official competitions and training from different age categories and competitive levels. [6][7][8][15][16][17] Ceylan and Balci 7 investigated the effect of sex on short-term weight change and hydration status in judo athletes and stated that both sexes were hypohydrated (minimal [USG 1.010-1.020] ...
It has been well-documented that high-level judo athletes presented a high level of hypohydration during weight-cutting and competition periods. However, there is a lack of studies investigating the hydration status of high-level judo athletes during a weight-stable training period. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate elite judo athletes' hydration status, body mass change, and fluid intake during a weight-stable training camp. Twenty-seven judo athletes (women n = 8, men n = 19, body weight = 79.6 ± 20.9 kg) from the senior national judo team voluntarily participated in this study. Data were collected in the morning after waking up and before and after the morning and evening training sessions. On the second day, the measurements were taken again in the morning after waking up. Urine-specific gravity (USG) was classified as hydrated (USG < 1.020) and hypohydrated (USG ≥ 1.020). The athletes' USG values measured on two consecutive mornings increased (1.025 ± 0.007 to 1.029 ± 0.006) during 24 h, in which athletes performed judo training in the morning and evening. Moreover, sex and weight category did not affect the changes in USG values (p > .05). Most of the elite judo athletes presented hypohydration (92.6%). The relationship between the fluid intake of the athletes and the changes in USG and body weight values during 24 h was not significant (p > .05). The current study's findings revealed that high-level judo athletes present a high level of hypohydration even during a weight-stable training camp. Furthermore, the training sessions during the experiment period (24 h) worsened the hydration status of the senior athletes in all weight categories for both women and men.
... Our study reported no time-of-day effects in isometric handgrip strength in dominant and non-dominant limbs (1.4-5.2%). These findings agree with previous studies that did not report statistical differences in Olympic combat athletes or competitive tennis players (Lopez-Samanes et al. 2017;Pallares et al. 2016), but in contrast to the differences observed in male handball athletes (Mhenni et al. 2017). This differences between studies could be attributed to contrasting participants involved and isometric handgrip protocols used. ...
This study aimed to determine if time-of-day could influence physical volleyball performance in females and to explore the relationship between chronotype and volleyball-specific performance. Fifteen young female athletes participated in a randomized counterbalanced trial, performing a neuromuscular test battery in the morning (9:00 h) and the evening (19:00 h) that consisted of volleyball standing spike, straight leg raise, dynamic balance, vertical jump, modified agility T-test and isometric handgrip tests. Chronotype was determined by the morningness-eveningness questionnaire. Compared to the morning, an increased performance was found in the standing spike (4.5%, p = .002, ES = 0.59), straight leg raise test (dominant-limb) (6.5%, p = .012, ES = 0.40), dynamic balance (non-dominant-limb) (5.0%, p = .010, ES = 0.57) and modified T-test (2.1%, p = .049, ES = 0.45) performance in the evening; while no statistical differences were reported in vertical jump tests or isometric handgrip strength. Moreover, no associations were found between chronotype and neuromuscular performance (r = −0.368–0.435, p = .052–0.439). Time-of-day affected spike ball velocity, flexibility in the dominant-limb, dynamic balance in the non-dominant-limb and agility tests. However, no association was reported among these improvements and the chronotype. Therefore, although the chronotype may not play critical role in volleyball-specific performance, evening training/matches schedules could benefit performance in semi-professional female volleyball players
... 8 Typically, athletes aim to lose body mass (through water) in the shortest time possible, using rapid weight loss (RWL) methods to obtain a perceived advantage of competing against a lighter or weaker opponent. 9 Common forms of RWL are fluid restriction, dehydration by sweating, diuretics, laxatives, and "waterloading"-a method by which large volumes of fluid are consumed to manipulate renal hormones (eg, aldosterone) and urine output, resulting in further weight loss. 10,11 These strategies can lead to hypohydration and, subsequently, alterations to renal function, 12 immunoendocrine status, 13 brain ventricular volume, and metabolic activity. ...
Objective: There is a high incidence of concussion and frequent utilization of rapid weight loss (RWL) methods among combat sport athletes, yet the apparent similarity in symptoms experienced as a result of a concussion or RWL has not been investigated. This study surveyed combat sports athletes to investigate the differences in symptom onset and recovery between combat sports and evaluated the relationships between concussion and RWL symptoms. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Data were collected through an online survey. Participants: One hundred thirty-two (115 male athletes and 17 female athletes) combat sport athletes. Interventions: Modified Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) symptom checklist and weight-cutting questionnaire. Main outcome measures: Survey items included combat sport discipline, weight loss, medical history, weight-cutting questionnaire, and concussion and weight-cutting symptom checklists. Results: Strong associations (rs = 0.6-0.7, P < 0.05) were observed between concussion and RWL symptoms. The most frequently reported symptom resolution times were 24 to 48 hours for a weight cut (WC; 59%) and 3 to 5 days for a concussion (43%), with 60% to 70% of athletes reporting a deterioration and lengthening of concussion symptoms when undergoing a WC. Most of the athletes (65%) also reported at least one WC in their career to "not go according to plan," resulting in a lack of energy (83%) and strength/power (70%). Conclusions: Rapid weight loss and concussion symptoms are strongly associated, with most of the athletes reporting a deterioration of concussion symptoms during a WC. The results indicate that concussion symptoms should be monitored alongside hydration status to avoid any compound effects of prior RWL on the interpretation of concussion assessments and to avoid potential misdiagnoses among combat athletes.
Nutrition is a significant factor in a power athlete's ability to achieve hypertrophy, strength, lean body mass, and overall performance goals. Optimizing an athlete's macronutrient balance, timing of intake, and hydration is essential for advancing performance and should be fluid as the athlete transitions between cycles of training, matching nutrient requirements to intensity of training throughout periodization. Supplement use can help athletes meet their performance and nutrition goals when used as an adjunct to a well-chosen diet, both by direct ergogenic effect and by reducing risk of illness or injury. Educating athletes and coaches on an optimal nutrition plan to support training, performance, and health is critical to prevent the negative effects that may come from poor diet, dangerous weight cutting practices, and relative energy deficiency in sport.
Kwan, K and Helms, E. Prevalence, magnitude, and methods of weight cutting used by world class powerlifters. J Strength Cond Res 36(4): 998-1002, 2022-Powerlifters compete in the squat, bench press, and deadlift, with winners determined by the highest 3-lift total in each weight class. As a weight class-based sport, athletes often compete in classes lower than their habitual weight, using various strategies to make weight. This study's purpose was to examine weight cutting prevalence, magnitude, and methods among 42 male and 22 female powerlifters (25 ± 8 years old; 4 ± 2.2 years of competitive experience) competing at the 2018 International Powerlifting Federation classic world championship. The lifters, 83% of whom cut weight losing an average 2.9 ± 4.3% of body mass, completed a previously validated weight cutting questionnaire. The most frequently used weight cutting methods were gradual dieting (42.18%, 31.25%), fluid restriction after fluid loading (32.8%, 34.4%), restricting fluid ingestion without fluid loading (23.4%, 9.4%), fasting (15.6%, 18.7%), increased activity (9.4%, 24.4%), laxatives (9.4%, 18.7%), sauna (7.8%, 6.3%), diuretics (7.8%, 6.3%), skipping meals (4.7%, 21.9%), and wearing rubber suits (1.6%, 2.6%). Most lifters experienced negative changes in psychological state, with only 9% reporting never experiencing any negative effect on psychological state across the 5 states measured. Lifters reported experiencing fatigue (15.6%, 45.3%), anger (3.2%, 26.6%), feelings of isolation (4.7%, 12.5%), and anxiety (14.1%, 35.95%), and 11 of the 12 lifters who reported a perceived decrement in training performance performed weight cutting. Both weight cutting methods and negative psychological changes experienced were reported as always, sometimes. Therefore, it is vital to provide specific recommendations based on scientific research to improve the efficacy and safety of making weight while minimizing performance decrements.
Objectives The International Judo Federation (IJF) implemented new regulations in an attempt to regulate rapid weight loss in 2013. The body weight of the athletes cannot be more than 5 % higher than the upper limits of their weight categories at the weight check for randomly selected athletes from each weight category before the competition. However, there is a lack of studies demonstrating rapid weight loss and hydration status of elite judo athletes in a real match atmosphere under the current refereeing rules. Thus, this study aimed to examine body mass and hydration changes of elite judo athletes a week before the competition, official weigh-in, and 24 hours after competition. Methods Eight high-level male judo athletes voluntarily participated in this study. Body mass and urinary measures of hydration status were collected a week before, at the official weigh-in and 24-hour post-weigh-in. Results One-way repeated-measures ANOVA showed a significant main effect of time on body mass (p<0.001). Body mass decreased by 5.4±0.7 kg or 6.8% from a week before the competition to official weigh-in (p<0.001) and increased by 3.0±1.1 kg or 4.2% from official weigh-in to 24-h post-competition (p<0.001). A significant effect of time was also found in both urine specific gravity (USG) (p<0.001) and urine colour (UC) among measurements (p=0.001). Athletes’ USG values were at the highest level (USG=1.030±0.001) at the official weigh-in while they decreased significantly at 24-hour post-competition (USG=1.017±0.007). Conclusion The results showed that elite judo athletes resort to rapid weight loss and present dehydration despite the established regulations by IJF.
Full-text available
To determine whether the ergogenic effects of caffeine ingestion on neuromuscular performance are similar when ingestion takes place in the morning and in the afternoon. Double blind, cross-over, randomized, placebo controlled design. Thirteen resistance-trained males carried out bench press and full squat exercises against four incremental loads (25%, 50%, 75% and 90% 1RM), at maximal velocity. Trials took place 60min after ingesting either 6mgkg(-1) of caffeine or placebo. Two trials took place in the morning (AMPLAC and AMCAFF) and two in the afternoon (PMPLAC and PMCAFF), all separated by 36-48h. Tympanic temperature, plasma caffeine concentration and side-effects were measured. Plasma caffeine increased similarly during AMCAFF and PMCAFF. Tympanic temperature was lower in the mornings without caffeine effects (36.7±0.4 vs. 37.0±0.5°C for AM vs. PM; p<0.05). AMCAFF increased propulsive velocity above AMPLAC to levels similar to those found in the PM trials for the 25%, 50%, 75% 1RM loads in the SQ exercise (5.4-8.1%; p<0.05). However, in the PM trials, caffeine ingestion did not improve propulsive velocity at any load during BP or SQ. The negative side effects of caffeine were more prevalent in the afternoon trials (13 vs. 26%). The ingestion of a moderate dose of caffeine counteracts the muscle contraction velocity declines observed in the morning against a wide range of loads. Caffeine effects are more evident in the lower body musculature. Evening caffeine ingestion not only has little effect on neuromuscular performance, but increases the rate of negative side-effects reported.
Full-text available
In Olympic combat sports, weight cutting is a common practice aimed to take advantage of competing in weight divisions below the athlete's normal weight. Fluid and food restriction in combination with dehydration (sauna and/or exercise induced profuse sweating) are common weight cut methods. However, the resultant hypohydration could adversely affect health and performance outcomes. The aim of this study is to determine which of the routinely used non-invasive measures of dehydration best track urine osmolality, the gold standard non-invasive test. Immediately prior to the official weigh-in of three National Championships, the hydration status of 345 athletes of Olympic combat sports (i.e., taekwondo, boxing and wrestling) was determined using five separate techniques: i) urine osmolality (UOSM), ii) urine specific gravity (USG), iii) urine color (UCOL), iv) bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), and v) thirst perception scale (TPS). All techniques were correlated with UOSM divided into three groups: euhydrated (G1; UOSM 250-700 mOsm·kg H2O-1), dehydrated (G2; UOSM 701-1080 mOsm·kg H2O-1), and severely dehydrated (G3; UOSM 1081-1500 mOsm·kg H2O-1). We found a positive high correlation between the UOSM and USG (r = 0.89: p = 0.000), although this relationship lost strength as dehydration increased (G1 r = 0.92; G2 r = 0.73; and G3 r = 0.65; p = 0.000). UCOL showed a moderate although significant correlation when considering the whole sample (r = 0.743: p = 0.000) and G1 (r = 0.702: p = 0.000) but low correlation for the two dehydrated groups (r = 0.498-0.398). TPS and BIA showed very low correlation sizes for all groups assessed. In a wide range of pre-competitive hydration status (UOSM 250-1500 mOsm·kg H2O-1), USG is highly associated with UOSM while being a more affordable and easy to use technique. UCOL is a suitable tool when USG is not available. However, BIA or TPS are not sensitive enough to detect hypohydration at official weight-in before an Olympic combat championship.
Full-text available
We investigated whether altered peripheral and/or corticospinal excitatory output and voluntary activation are implicated in hypohydration-induced reductions in muscle isometric and isokinetic (90°.s(-1)) strength. Nine male athletes completed two trials (hypohydrated, euhydrated) comprising 90 min cycling at 40°C, with body weight losses replaced in euhydrated trial. Peripheral nerve and transcranial magnetic stimulations were applied during voluntary contractions pre- and 40 min post-exercise to quantify voluntary activation and peripheral (M-wave) and corticospinal (motor evoked potential) evoked responses in m. vastus medialis. Both maximum isometric (-15.3±3.1 vs -5.4±3.5%) and isokinetic eccentric (-24.8±4.6 vs -7.3±7.2%) torque decreased to a greater extent in hypohydrated than euhydrated trials (p
Full-text available
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the oral dose of caffeine needed to increase muscle force and power output during all-out single multijoint movements. Methods: Thirteen resistance-trained men underwent a battery of muscle strength and power tests in a randomized, double-blind, crossover design, under four different conditions: (a) placebo ingestion (PLAC) or with caffeine ingestion at doses of (b) 3 mg · kg(-1) body weight (CAFF 3mg), (c) 6 mg · kg(-1) (CAFF 6mg), and (d) 9 mg · kg(-1) (CAFF 9mg). The muscle strength and power tests consisted in the measurement of bar displacement velocity and muscle power output during free-weight full-squat (SQ) and bench press (BP) exercises against four incremental loads (25%, 50%, 75%, and 90% one-repetition maximum [1RM]). Cycling peak power output was measured using a 4-s inertial load test. Caffeine side effects were evaluated at the end of each trial and 24 h later. Results: Mean propulsive velocity at light loads (25%-50% 1RM) increased significantly above PLAC for all caffeine doses (5.4%-8.5%, P = 0.039-0.003). At the medium load (75% 1RM), CAFF 3mg did not improve SQ or BP muscle power or BP velocity. CAFF 9mg was needed to enhance BP velocity and SQ power at the heaviest load (90% 1RM) and cycling peak power output (6.8%-11.7%, P = 0.03-0.05). The CAFF 9mg trial drastically increased the frequency of the adverse side effects (15%-62%). Conclusions: The ergogenic dose of caffeine required to enhance neuromuscular performance during a single all-out contraction depends on the magnitude of load used. A dose of 3 mg · kg(-1) is enough to improve high-velocity muscle actions against low loads, whereas a higher caffeine dose (9 mg · kg(-1)) is necessary against high loads, despite the appearance of adverse side effects.
This study analyzed the effects of pseudoephedrine (PSE) provided at different time of day on neuromuscular performance, side effects, and violation of the current doping cut-off threshold [World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)]. Nine resistance-trained males carried out bench press and full squat exercises against four incremental loads (25%, 50%, 75%, and 90% one repetition maximum [1RM]), in a randomized, double-blind, cross-over design. Participants ingested either 180 mg of PSE (supra-therapeutic dose) or placebo in the morning (7:00 h; AMPLAC and AMPSE) and in the afternoon (17:00 h; PMPLAC and PMPSE). PSE enhanced muscle contraction velocity against 25% and 50% 1RM loads, only when it was ingested in the mornings, and only in the full squat exercise (4.4–8.7%; P < 0.05). PSE ingestion raised urine and plasma PSE concentrations (P < 0.05) regardless of time of day; however, cathine only increased in the urine samples. PSE ingestion resulted in positive tests occurring in 11% of samples, and it rose some adverse side effects such us tachycardia and heart palpitations. Ingestion of a single dose of 180 mg of PSE results in enhanced lower body muscle contraction velocity against low and moderate loads only in the mornings. These mild performance improvements are accompanied by undesirable side effects and an 11% risk of surpassing the doping threshold.
Abstract This study analysed the effect of imposing a pause between the eccentric and concentric phases on the biological within-subject variation of velocity- and power-load isoinertial assessments. Seventeen resistance-trained athletes undertook a progressive loading test in the bench press (BP) and squat (SQ) exercises. Two trials at each load up to the one-repetition maximum (1RM) were performed using 2 techniques executed in random order: with (stop) and without (standard) a 2-s pause between the eccentric and concentric phases of each repetition. The stop technique resulted in a significantly lower coefficient of variation for the whole load-velocity relationship compared to the standard one, in both BP (2.9% vs. 4.1%; P = 0.02) and SQ (2.9% vs. 3.9%; P = 0.01). Test-retest intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were r = 0.61-0.98 for the standard and r = 0.76-0.98 for the stop technique. Bland-Altman analysis showed that the error associated with the standard technique was 37.9% (BP) and 57.5% higher (SQ) than that associated with the stop technique. The biological within-subject variation is significantly reduced when a pause is imposed between the eccentric and concentric phases. Other relevant variables associated to the load-velocity and load-power relationships such as the contribution of the propulsive phase and the load that maximises power output remained basically unchanged.
Significant scientific evidence documents the deleterious effects of hypohydration (reduced total body water) on endurance exercise performance; however, the influence of hypohydration on muscular strength, power and high-intensity endurance (maximal activities lasting >30 seconds but <2 minutes) is poorly understood due to the inconsistent results produced by previous investigations. Several subtle methodological choices that exacerbate or attenuate the apparent effects of hypohydration explain much of this variability. After accounting for these factors, hypohydration appears to consistently attenuate strength (by ≈2%), power (by ≈3%) and high-intensity endurance (by ∼10%), suggesting alterations in total body water affect some aspect of force generation. Unfortunately, the relationships between performance decrement and crucial variables such as mode, degree and rate of water loss remain unclear due to a lack of suitably uninfluenced data. The physiological demands of strength, power and high-intensity endurance couple with a lack of scientific support to argue against previous hypotheses that suggest alterations in cardiovascular, metabolic and/or buffering function represent the performance-reducing mechanism of hypohydration. On the other hand, hypohydration might directly affect some component of the neuromuscular system, but this possibility awaits thorough evaluation. A critical review of the available literature suggests hypohydration limits strength, power and highintensity endurance and, therefore, is an important factor to consider when attempting to maximise muscular performance in athletic, military and industrial settings.
Studies failing to show a negative effect of rapid weight loss (RWL) on performance have been conducted in athletes who have been cycling weight for years. It has been suggested that chronic weight cycling could lead combat athletes to become resistant to the stresses associated with weight loss. To investigate the effects of RWL up to 5% of body mass on high-intensity intermittent performance in weight cyclers (WC) and non-weight cyclers (non-WC). Eighteen male combat athletes (WC: n=10; non-WC: n=8) reduced up to 5% of their body mass in 5 days. Body composition, high-intensity performance and plasma lactate were assessed preweight loss and postweight loss. Athletes had 4 h to re-feed and rehydrate following the weigh-in. Food intake was recorded during the weight loss and the recovery periods. Athletes significantly decreased body mass, lean body mass (most likely due to fluid loss) and fat mass following weight loss. No significant changes in performance were found from preweight loss to postweight loss in both groups. Plasma lactate was significantly elevated after exercise in both groups, but no differences were found between groups and in response to RWL. For all these variables no differences were observed between groups. Athletes from both groups ingested high amounts of energy and carbohydrates during the recovery period after the weigh-in. Chronic weight cycling does not protect athletes from the negative impact of RWL on performance. The time to recover after weigh-in and the patterns of food and fluid ingestion during this period is likely to play the major role in restoring performance to baseline levels.
This study compared the velocity- and power-load relationships of the antagonistic upper-body exercises of prone bench pull (PBP) and bench press (BP). 75 resistance-trained athletes performed a progressive loading test in each exercise up to the one-repetition maximum (1RM) in random order. Velocity and power output across the 30-100% 1RM were significantly higher for PBP, whereas 1RM strength was greater for BP. A very close relationship was observed between relative load and mean propulsive velocity for both BP (R2=0.97) and PBP (R2=0.94) which enables us to estimate %1RM from velocity using the obtained prediction equations. Important differences in the load that maximizes power output (Pmax) and the power profiles of both exercises were found according to the outcome variable used: mean (MP), peak (PP) or mean propulsive power (MPP). When MP was considered, the Pmax load was higher (56% BP, 70% PBP) than when PP (37% BP, 41% PBP) or MPP (37% BP, 46% PBP) were used. For each variable there was a broad range of loads at which power output was not significantly different. The differing velocity- and power-load relationships between PBP and BP seem attributable to the distinct muscle architecture and moment arm levers involved in these exercises.
Changes in body weight were measured in 747 wrestlers from 30 Iowa high schools. During a 17-day period before certification, the average weight loss was 6.8 lb (3.1 kg) or 4.9% of the initial body weight, with most of these changes occurring during the final ten days. Questionnaire results indicated that the coach and the "other wrestler" were the most frequently consulted on how to "make weight" whereas the local physician was seldom consulted on this matter. Comparison of weight gains after the end of the season showed that the average increase was 13.6 lb (6.2 kg) higher than the weight at certification. Until more information is available that is specific for this age group, it is our opinion that medical supervision be provided when wrestlers have lost 7% to 10% of their initial weight or are losing weight in excess of 4 lb (1.8 kg) per week.