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Physical fitness factors to predict male Olympic wrestling performance

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To determine differences in maximal strength and muscle power output of the arm and leg extensor muscles, peak and mean power during a modified standing crank-arm Wingate test, running speed, muscle extensibility, and anthropometric markers between elite and amateurs wrestlers according to the weight classes system; 92 male wrestlers were assigned into 6 groups according to their body mass (light, middle and heavy weight) and their competitive level (elite and amateur): Light Weight (body mass ranged between 55 and 68 kg) in elite (LW(E), n = 18) and amateur (LW(A), n = 15) level; Middle Weight (body mass ranged between 68 and 84 kg) in elite (MW(E), n = 18) and amateur (MW(A), n = 19) level; and Heavy Weight (body mass ranged between 84 and 100 kg) in elite (HW(E), n = 10) and amateur (HW(A), n = 12) level. Elite wrestlers were older (8-12%), had more training experience (25-37%), fat-free mass (3-5%), maximal strength in absolute and relative terms (8-25%), muscle power (14-30%), mean and peak power during crank-arm Wingate testing in absolute and relative terms (13-22%), jumping height (8-17%) as well as grip (6-19%) and back strength (7-20%) compared to amateur wrestlers. However, no differences were observed between elite and amateur groups in height, body mass index, percentage of body fat, hamstring extensibility and running speed. The present results suggest that the higher absolute and relative values of maximal strength, muscle power, and anaerobic metabolism, explained in part by the differences in lean mass and neural activation patterns, will give elite wrestlers a clear advantage during the most frequently used techniques in Olympic wrestling.
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Physical fitness factors to predict male Olympic wrestling
performance
Jesu
´s Garcı
´a-Pallare
´sJose
´Marı
´aLo
´pez-Gullo
´n
Xabier Muriel Arturo Dı
´az Mikel Izquierdo
Received: 13 November 2010 / Accepted: 23 December 2010 / Published online: 9 January 2011
ÓSpringer-Verlag 2011
Abstract To determine differences in maximal strength
and muscle power output of the arm and leg extensor muscles,
peak and mean power during a modified standing crank-arm
Wingate test, running speed, muscle extensibility, and
anthropometric markers between elite and amateurs wrestlers
according to the weight classes system; 92 male wrestlers
were assigned into 6 groups according to their body mass
(light, middle and heavy weight) and their competitive level
(elite and amateur): Light Weight (body mass ranged
between 55 and 68 kg) in elite (LW
E
,n=18) and amateur
(LW
A
,n=15) level; Middle Weight (body mass ranged
between 68 and 84 kg) in elite (MW
E
,n=18) and amateur
(MW
A
,n=19) level; and Heavy Weight (body mass ranged
between 84 and 100 kg) in elite (HW
E
,n=10) and amateur
(HW
A
,n=12) level. Elite wrestlers were older (8–12%),
had more training experience (25–37%), fat-free mass
(3–5%), maximal strength in absolute and relative terms
(8–25%), muscle power (14–30%), mean and peak power
during crank-arm Wingate testing in absolute and relative
terms (13–22%), jumping height (8–17%) as well as grip
(6–19%) and back strength (7–20%) compared to amateur
wrestlers. However, no differences were observed between
elite and amateur groups in height, body mass index,
percentage of body fat, hamstring extensibility and running
speed. The present results suggest that the higher absolute and
relative values of maximal strength, muscle power, and
anaerobic metabolism, explained in part by the differences in
lean mass and neural activation patterns, will give elite
wrestlers a clear advantage during the most frequently used
techniques in Olympic wrestling.
Keywords Greco-roman Freestyle Maximum
strength Maximum power Wingate Muscle
extensibility
Introduction
Wrestling was an important part of the ancient Olympic
Games and is still one of the more popular events of the
modern Olympic Games. This combat sport is based on a
weight class system which aims to balance out the physical
characteristics between wrestlers and therefore increase the
percentage of performance that depends on technical and
psychological skills. Currently, in the Olympics two wrestling
styles are included for men: Greco-Roman, a classic style in
which only upper-body moves are allowed, and Freestyle,
which includes upper and lower body wrestling. Following a
great number of regulation changes during the last few dec-
ades, the winner of an official wrestling bout is decided by
either a fall (i.e., when an opponent’s two shoulders are held to
the mat) or by a scoring system that quantifies which wrestler
is most superior with respect to controlling their opponent
during the match duration (Yoon 2002). The changes in reg-
ulation have promoted less passive wrestling, prioritizing
scoring strategies, and winning on points, instead of decisive
actions or falls (Horswill 1992;Horswilletal.1992;Hu
¨bner-
Woz
´niak et al. 2004). These changes also forced several
Communicated by William J. Kraemer.
J. Garcı
´a-Pallare
´s(&)
Exercise Physiology Laboratory at Toledo,
University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain
e-mail: jesus.garcia.pallares@gmail.com
J. Garcı
´a-Pallare
´sJ. M. Lo
´pez-Gullo
´nX. Muriel A. Dı
´az
Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain
M. Izquierdo
Department of Health Sciences,
Public University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
123
Eur J Appl Physiol (2011) 111:1747–1758
DOI 10.1007/s00421-010-1809-8
modifications in the fitness requirements of successful wres-
tlers, which as a result caused an evolution in the training
methods (Horswill 1992;Sharrattetal.1986;Yoon2002).
Wrestling has been described as an intermittent physical
event which produces great strength and muscle power
demands of both the upper and lower body, with a high
anaerobic energy metabolism demand (Horswill 1992;
Horswill et al. 1989,1992;Hu
¨bner-Woz
´niak et al. 2004;
Kraemer et al. 2001; Sharratt et al. 1986). Numerous
researchers have also reported that, although aerobic per-
formance may be a basic requirement for wrestlers, it
cannot be considered as a critical component of success in
this sport (Horswill 1992; Horswill et al. 1992; Sharratt
et al. 1986; Stine et al. 1979; Yoon 2002).
During the 1980’s a few studies examined fitness pro-
files for wrestlers at different competitive levels in order to
identify physiological differences that may contribute to
success (Cisar et al. 1987; Horswill et al. 1989; Song and
Garvie 1980). However, a limited number of studies have
examined differences in physical fitness characteristics
related to success in modern wrestling performance fol-
lowing the aforementioned rule changes and evolution in
training methods during the last 20 years. These changes
include an overall increase in wrestling performance at the
elite level, the struggle against illegal pharmacological
interventions, an increase in the total number of competi-
tions per year, as well as the evolution in training and
assessment equipment. Furthermore, examination of fitness
profiles in male wrestlers can be very helpful for opti-
mizing strength, power, and endurance training programs
to improve wrestling performance.
Therefore, the first aim of this study is to investigate
which anthropometric, physiological, and neuromuscular
factors are different between elite and amateur male
wrestlers. If differences exist, this will indicate the
importance of these performance parameters in the elite
wrestlers. Our second aim is to examine the differences
that a weight class system can generate in the anthropo-
metric and fitness markers among wrestlers. It was
hypothesized that, at all weight classes, elite wrestlers
would have more favorable body composition as well as
higher physiological and neuromuscular characteristics
compared to amateur wrestlers, even when physical train-
ing experience and fat-free mass values are included as
covariates by general linear model univariate analysis.
Methods
Subjects
Ninety-two male wrestlers, 53 Greco-Roman, and 39
Freestyle competitors, from five different countries were
assigned into 6 groups according to their body mass (light,
middle and heavy weight) and their competitive level (elite
and amateur) as follows: Light Weight (body mass ranged
between 55 and 68 kg) in elite (LW
E
,n=18) and amateur
(LW
A,
n=15) level; Middle Weight (body mass ranged
between 68 and 84 kg) in elite (MW
E
,n=18) and ama-
teur (MW
A
,n=19) level; and Heavy Weight (body mass
ranged between 84 and 100 kg) in elite (HW
E
,n=10) and
amateur (HW
A
,n=12) level. To be placed in the elite
groups (LW
E,
MW
E
and HW
E
) wrestlers: (1) had at least
three international participations representing their
respective countries in FILA tournaments (i.e., European
and/or World Championships) (2) had at least 6 years of
regular training experience. Furthermore, 11 of them had
won at least one medal during an international tournament.
Amateur wrestlers (LW
A
,MW
A
, and HW
A
) had been
finalist at their respective national championship in the last
season, although they had not taken part in any interna-
tional competition. The physical characteristics and train-
ing background of the subjects are presented in Table 1.
Experimental design and approach to the problem
The results of this training camp were used by the selectors
of the five different countries to elect their own national
team members for an incoming international tournament.
Previous studies conducted with highly trained wrestlers
(Yankanich et al. 1998) found that any type of severe
dehydration associated to the weight loss approaches may
produce significant physiological and performance
declines. Therefore, this study was carried out during an
international training camp placed in the final week of a
pre-competitive mesocycle. Throughout this training phase,
all wrestlers had an average of 9.6 training sessions per
week distributed in combat sessions (60%), endurance
training (14%), and resistance training (26%). None of
these 92 wrestlers were involved in a weight cutting
approach or under restricted water or food intakes. All the
subjects followed the same dietary plans during the
experiments. Not one of these subjects, including the heavy
Weight wrestlers, increased or decreased their body weight
more than 1% during the week of assessments.
The subjects and coaches were informed in detail about
the experimental procedures and the possible risks and
benefits of the project. The study, which complied with the
Declaration of Helsinki, was approved by the Bioethics
Commission of the University of Murcia, and written
informed consent was obtained from athletes prior to
participation.
Testing was completed for all wrestlers in the same
laboratory facilities on three consecutive days: day 1—
anthropometrics (7:00–8:30), sprint running (10:00–12:00)
and crank-arm Wingate test (16:00–18:30); day 2—counter
1748 Eur J Appl Physiol (2011) 111:1747–1758
123
movement jump (CMJ), one repetition maximum (1RM),
strength and load-power relationship in squat and bench
press (10:00–14:00); day 3—muscle extensibility
(16:00–17:30), maximal hand grip and back strength
(18:00–19:30). No strenuous exercise was undertaken 24 h
before reporting to the laboratory for testing and no other
physical activity sessions were performed during these
3 days. The same warm-up procedures and protocol for
each type of test were repeated in subsequent occasions.
Physical characteristics
Anthropometric measurements included: standing height,
arm span, body mass, and three location skinfold thickness
measurement (triceps brachii, subscapular, and abdominal)
which were performed in accordance with guidelines from
the International Society for the Advancement of Kinean-
thropometry (ISAK). Height and arm span were measured
to the nearest 0.1 cm and body mass to the nearest 0.1 kg
using a calibrated scale (Seca 714, Hamburg, Germany);
skinfold thickness was assessed using a skinfold caliper
(Holtain Ltd., UK, accurate to 0.2 mm). Body density was
predicted by the NCAA method (Lohman 1981) that had
been previously cross validated on wrestlers (Clark et al.
2002) and body fat percentage was calculated by the
Brozek et al. (1963) formula.
Sprint running test
After a standardized 15-min warm-up period (low-intensity
running, several acceleration runs, and stretching exer-
cises), the subjects undertook a sprint running test con-
sisting of two maximal sprints of 10 m, with a 3 min rest
period between each sprint. Subjects were instructed to
begin from a stationary start position, with their preferred
foot forward on a line marked on the floor. The running
speed of the wrestlers was evaluated using dual-beam
electronic timing gates (Polifemo, Microgate, Bolzano,
Italy). Speed was measured to the nearest 0.01 s. In a
previous pilot study performed with part of these subjects,
for 10-m running times the test–retest coefficient of vari-
ation (CV) was 1.7% and the intraclass correlation coeffi-
cient (ICC) was 0.91. The recorded time for this test was
the better of the two trials.
Crank-arm Wingate test
All tests were performed on an adjustable SRM Indoortra-
iner (Schoberer Rad Meßtechnik, Germany, 2% accuracy)
which was specifically modified for standing arm cranking.
Before each test, the SRM crankset was calibrated accord-
ing to the manufacturer’s recommended procedure. The
accuracy, validity, and reliability of the SRM power meter
were previously established by Gardner et al. (2004). The
height of the arm ergometer’s central axis and crank-arm
length were adjusted according to the optimal proportions
determined previously (crank length 12–12.5% of arm span
and crank-axle height between 50 and 60% of the subject
height) (Neville et al. 2010). Each wrestler completed a
habituation warm-up to familiarize themselves with the
laboratory environment and testing procedures. The crank-
arm trials were 30 s in duration and participants were
instructed to crank as powerfully as possible on each rev-
olution throughout the trial and not to adopt any pacing
strategy. Power and cranking rate were recorded using 1 s
data averages. Peak Power (W
peak
) was defined as the
greatest power value recorded by the SRM power meter
and minimum power (W
min
) was defined as the smallest
power value recorded. The average power (W
mean
) of the
30 s was also established. Fatigue index was calculated as:
Table 1 Subjects’ characteristics of elite and amateur wrestlers in the three weight classes
Light Weight Middle Weight Heavy Weight
LW
E
(n=18) LW
A
(n=15) MW
E
(n=18) MW
A
(n=19) HW
E
(n=10) HW
A
(n=12)
Age (year) 17.5 ±1.1 16.1 ±1.0* 18.5 ±1.5 17.1 ±1.8* 19.6 ±1.5
ab
17.2 ±1.7*
Body mass (kg) 60.9 ±4.4 58.2 ±5.4 73.1 ±4.8
a
70.5 ±4.5 87.0 ±4.3
ab
88.1 ±7.5
BMI (kg m
-2
) 21.8 ±1.5 21.0 ±1.5 24.2 ±1.7
a
23.5 ±1.4 28.2 ±2.2
ab
27.7 ±2.4
Height (cm) 167.2 ±4.6 166.5 ±5.9 173.9 ±5.2
a
173.3 ±4.1 175.5 ±5.0
a
178.2 ±4.5
Arm span (cm) 169.7 ±6.2 168.5 ±6.7 177.7 ±5.3
a
177.4 ±4.8 179.7 ±6.4
a
177.9 ±7.3
Body fat (%) 10.3 ±2.2 10.3 ±2.8 11.1 ±2.5 11.5 ±2.5 13.7 ±2.7
a
17.2 ±4.4*
FFM (kg) 54.6 ±3.6 52.2 ±4.6 65.0 ±3.5
a
62.4 ±3.2* 75.4 ±3.3
ab
72.8 ±4.2*
Training experience (year) 7.6 ±1.9 5.7 ±2.4* 7.9 ±2.6 5.0 ±1.9* 8.6 ±1.9 5.5 ±2.9*
BMI body mass index, FFM fat-free mass
* Significant differences compared to Elite wrestlers
a
Significant differences compared to Light Weight elite wrestlers
b
Significant differences compared to Middle Weight elite wrestlers
Eur J Appl Physiol (2011) 111:1747–1758 1749
123
FI =W
peak
/W
min
. Earlobe blood samples were taken and
immediately analyzed for the lactate concentration using a
portable lactate analyzer (Lactate Pro, Arkray Inc., Kyoto,
Japan). This was performed after each 30 s trial until the
maximum lactate value ([La-]
peak
) was determined from
post-exercise blood samples taken every 2 min.
Jumping test (CMJ)
Warm-up consisted of 5 min of low-intensity running at a
self-selected pace, 5 min of static stretching and upper-
body joint mobilization exercises, followed by one set of 5
repetitions of bench press and full squat with a fixed load of
20 kg. Participants were instructed to complete a standard
countermovement vertical jump (CMJ) in which they
squatted down into a self-selected depth prior to explo-
sively performing the concentric action. Participants 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 a vertical jump mat
(Ergojump, Rome, Italy). In a previous pilot study per-
formed with part of these subjects, the test–retest intraclass
correlation coefficients and the coefficient of variation
were 0.94 and 3.3%, respectively. The recorded height for
this test was the average of three trials. Absolute
mechanical power during CMJ was calculated with the
following formula: CMJ
P
=BM g (2 g h)
1/2
in which
‘BM’’ is body mass in kg, ‘‘g’’ the acceleration of gravity
inms
-2
, and ‘‘h’’ the jumping height in meters.
1RM strength and load-power relationship
All the subjects performed a full squat strength test using a
smith machine as well as a bench press strength test using a
free weight barbell for the determination of the 1 repetition
maximum (1RM) and the full load-power relationship. A
dynamic measurement system (T-Force System, Ergotech,
Murcia, Spain, 0.25% accuracy) automatically calculated
the relevant kinematic and kinetic parameters of every
repetition, provided real time information on screen and
stored data on a disk for subsequent analysis. The detailed
testing procedures, validity, and reliability of this system
have recently been reported elsewhere (Sa
´nchez-Medina
et al. 2010). Each subject was carefully instructed to per-
form each concentric phase of both the squat and the bench
press in an explosive manner. Strong verbal encouragement
and velocity feedback in every repetition was provided in
order to motivate the participants to give a maximal effort.
For the bench press initial load was set at 20 kg for all
subjects, and was progressively increased in 10 kg incre-
ments until the attained mean propulsive velocity (MPV)
was lower than 0.4 m s
-1
. Thereafter, load was adjusted
with smaller increments (5–2.5 kg). The heaviest load that
each subject could properly lift to the full extension of his
elbows was considered to be his 1RM. For squat initial load
was set at 50% of their own body mass, and was pro-
gressively increased to 75, 100, and 125% when it was
feasible. When MPV was lower than 0.5 m s
-1
, the load
was adjusted with smaller increments (5–2.5 kg). The
heaviest load that each subject could properly lift to the full
extension of his knees was considered to be his 1RM. For
comparisons, the relative strength ratio (i.e., 1RM value
divided by fat-free mass), maximum muscle power attained
during the incremental test as well as the percentage of
1RM that maximizes power output in both exercises (i.e.,
bench press and squat) were calculated. Furthermore, the
percentage of body mass that maximizes power output
during the incremental test in the squat exercise was
calculated.
Muscle extensibility
Passive straight leg rise for dominant (SLR
D
) and non-
dominant (SLR
ND
) legs and the sit and reach test were used
to determine hamstring muscle extensibility. The detailed
testing procedures, validity, and reliability (i.e.,
ICC =0.90 and 0.97 of the SLR and Sit and reach mea-
sures, respectively) have recently been established else-
where (Lo
´pez-Min
˜arro and Rodrı
´guez-Garcı
´a2010).
Briefly, for the SLR test, each subject was placed supine on
an examination table, and the axis of a universal goniom-
eter was aligned with the axis of the hip joint. The tester
placed the stationary arm in line with the trunk and posi-
tioned the moveable arm in line with the femur. The sub-
ject’s leg was lifted passively by the tester into hip flexion
until tightness was felt by both the subject and the tester.
The criterion score of hamstring extensibility was the
maximum angle (degrees) read from the goniometer at the
point of maximum hip flexion (1 degree accuracy). No
warm-up or stretching exercises were performed by the
wrestlers before the test measurements. Two trials were
performed for each leg, and the average of the 2 trials on
each leg was used for subsequent analyses. The sit and
reach scores were measured with a sit and reach box
(Eveque, Sit and Reach bench, Cheshire, England). A
centimeter scale was placed on the top surface of the box.
A reach distance of 15 cm corresponded to the position of
the feet against the box. The final position that the subject
reached was the score for each test. The recorded score for
this test was the average of two trials. Scores were recorded
in centimeters to the nearest 1.0 cm.
Maximal hand grip and back strength tests
Each subject’s grip strength was measured for dominant
(Grip
D
) and non-dominant (Grip
ND
) hands with a Baseline
1750 Eur J Appl Physiol (2011) 111:1747–1758
123
Hydraulic Dynamometer (Country Technology Inc; Gays
Mills, Wis.) Participants were placed sitting with 0°of
shoulder flexion, 90°of elbow flexion and the forearm in
neutral. The average of two trials was recorded. Maximal
back strength (BS) was measured using a back muscle
dynamometer (Takei, model T.K.K.5402, Tokyo, Japan).
The length of the handle chain was adjusted to fit each
subject so that the angle of the subjects’ knees was at 45°.
The average of two trials was recorded. The detailed test-
ing procedures have been reported elsewhere (Kraemer
et al. 2001).
Statistical procedures
Standard statistical methods were used for the calculation
of the mean and standard deviations (SD). The differences
between elite and amateur groups as well as between the
three elite groups (LW
E
,MW
E
, and HW
E
) were deter-
mined using the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA).
When significant differences were found, Newman–Keuls
post hoc comparisons were used. The independent con-
tribution of each performance and anthropometric vari-
ables to wrestling performance were assessed by
simultaneously including physical training experience and
fat-free mass values as covariates by general linear model
univariate analysis. A binomial logistic regression analysis
was also carried out to assess the effect of various per-
formance and anthropometric variables on the probability
of wrestling success. The binary logistic regression anal-
ysis estimates the probability (or more correctly the odds)
of a wrestler placed in the elite group using their training
experience, fat-free mass, maximal strength, and peak
power as predictors or independent variables. We chose as
our dichotomous dependent variable, whether a wrestler
was, or was not, in the elite group. All variables that were
identified as significantly (P\0.05) different between
elite and amateur wrestlers in the ANOVA analysis were
then entered into a series of discriminant function analy-
ses. This identified the variables that best classified group
membership. Then, the variables offering the least rela-
tionship to wrestling caliber were removed and another
discriminant analysis was run. This was repeated in four
separate analyses until the variables that explained the
most variance in group membership were identified. In
logistic regression, the dependent variable is transformed
into a logit variable, i.e., the natural log of the odds of the
dependent occurring or not. This transformation ensures
that the estimated probabilities are between 0 and 1. A
logit model is a form of the generalized linear model.
Training experience, fat-free mass, and peak power
attained during the crank-arm Wingate testing were con-
sidered as potential predictor variables for the probability
of being in the elite wrestler group. P\0.05 criterion was
used for establishing statistical significance for all
analyses.
Results
Physical characteristics and training experience
The physical characteristics and training experience of the
wrestlers are presented in Table 1. Elite groups were sig-
nificantly (P\0.05) older, had increased training experi-
ence and FFM (P=0.07 between LW
E
and LW
A
) values
compared to the amateur groups. No significant differences
were detected between elite and amateur groups for body
mass, height, BMI, and body fat (P\0.05 between HW
E
and HW
A
). When comparing the three elite groups age,
body mass, BMI, and FFM were higher in HW
E
(P\0.05)
than MW
E
and LW
E
(Table 1).
Crank-arm Wingate, sprint running, and jumping tests
Elite groups demonstrated higher mean and peak power
values during the modified crank-arm Wingate test com-
pared to the amateur groups (from 16.0 to 22.0%;
P\0.05) (Fig. 1; Table 2). Mean and peak power values
in HW
E
were higher than MW
E
(12.1 and 13.4%,
P\0.05) and LW
E
(19.4 and 19.3%, P\0.05) (Table 2;
Fig. 1). When mean and peak power values were expressed
relative to kilogram of fat-free mass, all elite groups (LW
E
,
MW
E
, and HW
E
) had higher values compared to the
amateur groups (from 13.0 to 19.4%, P\0.05) (Fig. 1;
Table 2). No significant differences were detected in mean
and peak power relative to fat-free mass between any elite
group (LW
E
,MW
E
, and HW
E
) (Table 2; Fig. 1). Elite
wrestlers demonstrated significant higher values for
[La-]
peak
compared to the amateur group (from 14.0 to
20.1%, P\0.05), whereas no significant differences were
detected between any elite group. No differences were
observed in the fatigue index between elite and amateur
groups and also between the three elite groups (Table 2).
When wrestling groups (i.e., elite vs. amateur) were com-
pared with respect to crank-arm Wingate mean and peak
power, the difference remained significant after adjustment
for FFM (P\0.05), but not when adjusted for age or
physical training experience (P[0.1).
The HW
A
group had a slower 10 m sprint running time
than the HW
E
group (6.8%, P\0.05), whereas no sig-
nificant differences were detected between the lightest elite
groups and their respective amateur group. No significant
differences were detected between the three elite groups
(Table 3).
Significantly higher values were detected in CMJ and
CMJ
P
in the three elite groups compared to the amateur
Eur J Appl Physiol (2011) 111:1747–1758 1751
123
groups (from 7.6 to 16.6%, P\0.05). The CMJ
P
in HW
E
was significantly higher than MW
E
(16.4%, P\0.05) and
LW
E
(16.4%, P\0.05) (Table 3).
1RM strength and load-power relationship
Absolute and fat-free mass normalized 1RM strength val-
ues for squat and bench press exercises were significantly
greater in all elite groups compared to the amateur groups
(from 8.4 to 24.6%; P\0.05) (Fig. 2). 1RM strength in
squat and bench press for the HW
E
group were higher than
MW
E
(14.7 and 15.5%, P\0.05) and LW
E
(23.0 and
17.6%, P\0.05) (Fig. 2a, c). No significant differences
were detected in fat-free mass normalized 1RM strength
values in squat and bench press exercises between the three
elite groups (Fig. 2b, d).
In elite groups, maximum muscle power output in squat
and bench press were greater compared to the amateur
groups (from 14.0 to 29.8%; P\0.05) (Fig. 3). Maximum
muscle power output in squat and bench press for the HW
E
group were greater than MW
E
(17.5 and 18.6%; P\0.05)
and LW
E
(18.8 and 21.4%; P\0.05) (Fig. 3). Signifi-
cantly higher values were detected in the percentage of
body mass that maximizes muscle power output in the
squat between LW
E
(90.3 ±15.2%) and LW
A
(78.3 ±
12.9%) and between MW
E
(90.3 ±12.2%) and MW
A
(80.9 ±14.1%) (P\0.05). However, no significant dif-
ferences (P=0.08) were detected between heavy Weight
wrestlers (88.9 ±18.0%) and the amateur group (78.1 ±
7.4%). When wrestling groups (i.e., elite vs. amateur) were
compared with respect to maximal strength and muscle
power output, the difference remained significant after
adjustment for FFM (P\0.05), but not when adjusted for
age or physical training experience (P[0.1). Addition-
ally, no significant differences were detected in the per-
centage of body mass that maximizes muscle power output
Fig. 1 Mean power (a) and peak power normalized to fat-free mass
(b) during the 30 s crank-arm Wingate test according to weight class
(Light Weight, Middle Weight and Heavy Weight) and performance
level (Elite vs. Amateur). Data presented as mean ±SD. Significant
differences *when compared to elite wrestlers;
a
when compared to
Light Weight elite wrestlers;
b
when compared to Middle Weight elite
wrestlers (P\0.05)
Table 2 Mean power relative to fat-free mass, peak power, fatigue index, and peak blood lactate obtained in the 30 s Wingate test for elite and
amateur wrestlers in the three weight classes
Light Weight Middle Weight Heavy Weight
LW
E
(n=18)
LW
A
(n=15)
Elite–
Amateur
Dif. %
MW
E
(n=18)
MW
A
(n=19)
Elite–
Amateur
Dif. %
HW
E
(n=10)
HW
A
(n=12)
Elite–
Amateur
Dif. %
Mean power/FFM
(W kg
-1
)
7.74 ±0.86 6.74 ±0.80* 13.0 8.07 ±1.40 7.95 ±1.08* 13.9 7.89 ±1.07 6.62 ±0.67* 16.0
Peak power (W) 630 ±86 492 ±146* 22.0 781 ±154
a
643 ±140* 17.6 902 ±151
ab
750 ±113* 16.8
Fatigue index 2.25 ±0.45 1.98 ±0.38 12.0 2.22 ±0.39 2.29 ±0.57 -3.1 2.37 ±0.46 2.29 ±0.50 3.4
[La-]
peak
9.5 ±1.6 7.6 ±1.7* 20.1 10.7 ±2.0 9.2 ±1.9* 14.0 11.2 ±1.4 9.6 ±0.8* 14.3
Mean Power/FFM mean power relative to fat-free mass, [La-]
peak
peak blood lactate
* Significant differences compared to Elite wrestlers
a
Significant differences compared to Light Weight elite wrestlers
b
Significant differences compared to Middle Weight elite wrestlers
1752 Eur J Appl Physiol (2011) 111:1747–1758
123
in squat between the three elite groups. No significant
differences were detected in the percentage of 1RM that
maximizes muscle power output in the squat and bench
press between elite and amateur groups or between the three
elite groups: LW
E
(63.7 ±6.5%; 36.9 ±10.1%, respec-
tively); MW
E
(61.8 ±6.7%; 35.4 ±8.2%, respectively);
Table 3 Sprint running time, jump height and power, muscle extensibility, hand grip strength, and maximal back strength for elite and amateur
wrestlers in the three weight classes
Light Weight Middle Weight Heavy Weight
LW
E
(n=18)
LW
A
(n=15)
Elite–
Amateur
Dif. %
MW
E
(n=18)
MW
A
(n=19)
Elite–
Amateur
Dif. %
HW
E
(n=10)
HW
A
(n=12)
Elite–
Amateur
Dif. %
Time in 10 m
(s)
1.80 ±0.06 1.84 ±0.10 -2.2 1.76 ±0.06 1.81 ±0.10 -2.8 1.76 ±0.10 1.88 ±0.11* -6.8
CMJ (cm) 35.4 ±6.7 31.0 ±3.3* 12.4 35.0 ±3.5 31.9 ±3.8* 8.9 35.5 ±4.4 29.6 ±3.8* 16.6
CMJ
P
(W) 1,568 ±178 1,407 ±158* 10.3 1,876 ±141
a
1,729 ±168* 7.8 2,244 ±177
ab
2,074 ±188* 7.6
Sit and Reach
(cm)
21.6 ±11.6 16.9 ±7.5 21.9 20.7 ±7.2 24.4 ±7.1 -17.9 22.4 ±9.1 18.0 ±9.5 20.0
SLR
D
(degrees) 91.4 ±14.8 89.5 ±9.1 2.2 88.3 ±12.1 92.5 ±9.9 -4.7 95.2 ±9.8 87.4 ±15.1 8.3
SLR
ND
(degrees)
89.7 ±16.6 84.7 ±12.5 5.6 85.1 ±12.2 89.7 ±9.9 -5.6 91.4 ±11.3 84.1 ±13.6 8.0
Grip
D
(kg) 45.0 ±6.5 39.7 ±8.0* 11.8 53.1 ±7.8
a
46.5 ±8.0* 12.4 55.6 ±8.9
a
52.1 ±9.5 6.3
Grip
ND
(kg) 44.9 ±7.3 36.4 ±7.0* 18.9 49.1 ±8.8 43.4 ±7.9* 11.6 55.9 ±6.7
a
49.3 ±11.1 11.8
BS (kg) 123.6 ±14.6 98.3 ±17.6* 20.5 136.3 ±14.6
a
121.8 ±15.3* 10.6 148.1 ±11.2
a
134.4 ±10.4* 9.3
BS/FFM 2.28 ±0.29 1.88 ±0.26* 17.5 2.10 ±0.17
a
1.96 ±0.26* 6.9 1.81 ±0.12
ab
1.73 ±0.17 4.2
CMJ counter movement jump height, CMJ
P
counter movement jump power, SLR
D
and SLR
ND
straight leg rise for dominant and non-dominant
leg, Grip
D
and Grip
ND
grip strength for dominant and non-dominant hand, BS back strength, BS/FFM back strength relative to kilogram of fat-
free mass
* Significant differences compared to Elite wrestlers
a
Significant differences compared to Light Weight elite wrestlers
b
Significant differences compared to Middle Weight elite wrestlers
Fig. 2 One repetition
maximum (a,c) and one
repetition maximum normalized
to fat-free mass (b,d) in the
squat and bench press exercises
according to weight class (Light
Weight, Middle Weight and
Heavy Weight) and
performance level (Elite vs.
Amateur). Data presented as
mean ±SD. Significant
differences *when compared to
elite wrestlers;
a
when compared
to Light Weight elite wrestlers;
b
when compared to Middle
Weight elite wrestlers.
(P\0.05)
Eur J Appl Physiol (2011) 111:1747–1758 1753
123
HW
E
(62.1 ±8.1%; 34.7 ±7.8%, respectively); LW
A
(62.9 ±7.9%; 37.3 ±8.1%, respectively); MW
A
(64.5 ±
8.2%; 34.1 ±11.7%, respectively); HW
E
(61.8 ±6.5%;
35.0 ±11.1%, respectively).
Maximal hand grip and back strength tests
Grip strength for the dominant (Grip
D
) and non-dominant
(Grip
ND
) hands demonstrated significantly higher values for
the elite groups compared to the amateur groups in both light
and middle weight classes (from 11.6 to 18.9%, P\0.05),
whereas no significant differences were detected in the heavy
Weight class. HW
E
demonstrated higher values in Grip
D
and
Grip
ND
compared to LW
E
(19.1 and 19.7%, P\0.05)
(Table 3). Maximal back strength (BS) in all elite groups
was significantly greater (from 9.3 to 20.5%, P\0.05)
compared to the amateur groups. When back strength was
normalized to kilograms of fat-free mass (BS/FFM), sig-
nificantly greater values were detected for LW
E
and MW
E
compared to the amateur groups (17.5 and 6.9%, P\0.05).
MW
E
and HW
E
groups demonstrated higher values in BS
compared to the LW
E
group (9.3 and 16.5%, P\0.05). LW
E
had higher values in BS/FFM compared to MW
E
(7.6%,
P\0.05) and HW
E
(14.0%, P\0.05) (Table 3).
Muscle extensibility
The straight leg rise for dominant (SLR
D
) and non-domi-
nant (SLR
ND
) and the sit and reach test results are pre-
sented in Table 3. No differences were observed in any of
three tests between the elite and amateur groups or the
three elite groups.
Binary logistic regression
The binary logistic regression analyses identified that 7 of
the 30 studied variables (i.e., training experience, FFM,
1RM strength and muscle power in bench press and full
squat exercises, as well as Wingate peak power) predict the
89.1% of the probability of being in the elite wrestler
group. Only training experience (odds ratio, exp
(b) =0.397, P\0.001), FFM values (odds ratio, exp
(b) =1.53, P\0.001), and crank-arm Wingate peak
power (odds ratio, exp (b) =0.987, P\0.001) made
significant contributions to the prediction of wrestling
success.
Discussion
To our knowledge, this is the first reported case that
simultaneously analyses and compares current anthropo-
metric, physiological, neuromuscular, and speed and
muscle extensibility characteristics for male wrestlers of
different weight classes and performance levels. The pri-
mary findings of this investigation indicates that elite level
wrestlers (LW
E
,MW
E
,HW
E
) are characterized as older
(8–12%), more training experience (25–37%), higher FFM
(3–5%), 1RM strength (12–26%), maximum muscle power
(14–30%), crank-arm Wingate mean and peak power
(12–22%), Wingate peak blood lactate (14–20%), jumping
height (8–17%) as well as maximal grip (6–19%) and back
strength (7–20%) compared to the amateur groups (LW
A
,
MW
A
,HW
A
). However, height, BMI, body fat percentage,
Wingate fatigue index, hamstring extensibility, and run-
ning speed were similar between elite and amateur groups.
The predictive ability of maximal strength, muscle power,
and crank-arm Wingate power to distinguish wrestling
success remained significant after adjusting for fat-free
mass, suggesting that lean body mass may contribute to the
wrestling success, independent of age and years of training
experience. When the results for the three elite groups
(LW
E
,MW
E
, and HW
E
) were compared, some anthropo-
metric, neuromuscular, and physiological performance
Fig. 3 Peak muscle power attained during the incremental test in
squat (a) and bench press (b) exercises according to weight class
(Light Weight, Middle Weight and Heavy Weight) and performance
level (Elite vs. Amateur). Data presented as mean ±SD. Significant
differences *when compared to elite wrestlers;
a
when compared to
Light Weight elite wrestlers;
b
when compared to Middle Weight elite
wrestlers (P\0.05)
1754 Eur J Appl Physiol (2011) 111:1747–1758
123
variables such as age, height, BMI, FFM, 1RM strength,
and muscle power output, Wingate mean a peak power, as
well as grip and back strength seem to be related to weight
class. However, no differences were detected in training
experience, body fat percentage, 1RM strength and muscle
power output normalized to kilograms of fat-free mass, and
crank-arm Wingate test. Although this study did not take
into account other physiological factors related to success
in the sport (i.e., aerobic power, reaction time, speed of
movement, or the toleration of weight loss capabilities)
based on the logistic regression analyses, years of training
experience, fat-free mass, and crank-arm Wingate power
were the most important factors of successful wrestling
performance. These results may suggest that the higher
absolute and normalized maximal strength, muscle power,
and anaerobic metabolism, although explained in part by
the differences in fat-free mass, will give elite wrestlers a
clear advantage during Olympic wrestling compared to
amateurs.
One of the major findings in the present study was that
absolute and normalized to kilograms of fat-free mass
maximal strength and power of the upper and lower
extremity muscles were 7.7–29.9% higher in elite com-
pared to the amateur wrestlers. In the wrestling group
analyzed, the predictive ability of maximal strength, mus-
cle power and crank-arm Wingate power to distinguish
wrestling success remained significant after adjusting for
fat-free mass, suggesting that the lean mass may contribute
to the wrestling success, independent of training experi-
ence. Wrestling neuromuscular performance has been
previously examined during isokinetic (Cisar et al. 1987;
Kraemer et al. 2001; Sharratt et al. 1986; Song and Garvie
1980; Stine et al. 1979), isometric strength testing (Kra-
emer et al. 2001; Sharratt et al. 1986; Song and Garvie
1980; Utter et al. 2002) and even with highly specific
exercises like the isometric ‘‘bear hug’’ designed to simu-
late many upper-body holds used by wrestlers (Kraemer
et al. 2001). Unfortunately, a small number of researchers
have examined dynamic muscle strength and muscle power
profiles in exercises closely related to specific skills in
wrestling (Mirzaei et al. 2009). In agreement with previous
research, our results reveal greater strength and power
output in elite versus novice wrestlers (Sharratt et al. 1986;
Song and Garvie 1980; Stine et al. 1979), whereas no
significant differences have been reported in isokinetic
strength (Cisar et al. 1987). These neuromuscular perfor-
mance differences will give elite wrestlers a clear advan-
tage during the most frequently used takedown techniques
(e.g., fireman’s carry, olympic lift, duck under and double
leg) and during the parterre wrestling moves (turk ride, gut
wrench and cross ankle). This is mainly attributed to the
fact that elite wrestlers have higher FFM levels and
therefore total muscle mass that can generate force
compared with amateur wrestlers. In addition, it was
interesting to observe that maximal strength and power
output in the elite wresting group was superior, not only in
absolute, but also when it was normalized to kilograms of
fat-free mass. This could be related to the fact that neural
activation patterns and/or twitch tension per muscle mass
under maximal and submaximal concentric actions were
also diminished in amateur compared to elite wrestlers.
These findings are in contrast to those reported in previous
studies conducted with other sports (i.e., rowing and
handball) where the differences detected in submaximal
muscle power output between elite and sub-elite athletes
diminish when these parameter were normalized to body
mass (Gorostiaga et al. 2005; Granados et al. 2007;
Izquierdo-Gabarren et al. 2010). One may speculate that
these neuromuscular and muscle quality differences
between novice and high-level counterparts may be
explained in part by different technical skills and/or per-
centage of maximal strength and/or muscle power output
involved during competition. It is also likely that the dif-
ferences observed in maximal strength and muscle power
output relative to FFM may also explained in part by
possible differences in strength and conditioning programs
utilized by elite vs. amateur wrestlers.
As expected the elite wrestlers in the higher weight
classes demonstrated greater maximal strength and muscle
power values compared to the wrestlers in the lighter
weight classes. However, a unique finding of the present
study was the absence of significant differences between
elite wrestlers among the three weight classes for relative
maximum muscle strength, as well as, the percentage of
body mass that maximizes power output in the squat. It
may be hypothesized that these results are due to neural
activation patterns and/or twitch tension per muscle
mass under maximal and submaximal concentric actions
(Izquierdo et al. 2002) which are rather similar between the
elite wrestlers, independent of the weight class. Also, the
absence of differences between elite and amateur wrestlers
and the three elite groups for the percentage of 1RM that
maximizes muscle power output in the bench press and
squat may suggest that independent of the subject’s max-
imal strength, the load that optimized muscle power output
is very close to 62–65% 1RM for squat and 34–37% 1RM
for bench press. These results are similar to those described
previously by Izquierdo et al. (2002,2004) and Sa
´nchez-
Medina et al. (2010) where no significant differences were
detected in the percentage of 1RM that maximizes muscle
power output between groups with different relative
strength. Moreover, the aforementioned differences in the
percentage of 1RM that maximizes muscle power output
between the two studied exercises (bench press and squat)
indicate that each resistance exercise has its own load-
power profile and the maximal power loads are attained at
Eur J Appl Physiol (2011) 111:1747–1758 1755
123
different %1RM in each exercise. These data are similar to
those described earlier by Izquierdo et al. (2002) with
highly trained weightlifters, handball players, road cyclists
and middle distance runners, who showed that the per-
centage of 1RM that elicits maximal power was different
between the upper (i.e., bench press) and lower (i.e., half
squat) extremity actions. This type of information on dif-
ferent muscle groups and various resistance training exer-
cises may also be useful to create optimal strength and/or
power training programs for wrestlers with different
strength and power levels.
Previous studies have reported that the isometric hand-
grip strength is one of the most critical predictors of
wrestling success (Kraemer et al. 2001; Nilsson et al.
2002). In agreement with these previous findings, the three
elite groups of this study demonstrated significantly higher
isometric grip strength (6.3–18.9%) compared to the
amateur group. Similarly, the significantly higher isometric
back strength values detected in the three elite groups for
absolute and relative values compared to the amateur group
may suggest that this type of muscle test is a critical factor
to success in this sport. Nevertheless, when back strength
was expressed relative to fat-free mass, the lighter wrestlers
had significantly higher values compared to the heavier
wrestlers. These data indicate that the lighter weight clas-
ses have even greater ability to dominate and raise the
opponent from the mat by using lower back muscles
compared to the heavier wrestlers. These findings confirm
the results from a pilot study conducted in our laboratory
during a simulated international tournament with the same
subjects (unpublished data) in which the elite lightweight
wrestlers performed a greater number of rising actions
against their opponent compared to heavier wrestlers.
The physical training experience has demonstrated to be
one of the most critical factors for achieving success in
wrestling. Indeed, the three elite groups had more years of
training compared to the amateur groups, and most
important, no significant differences were detected between
the three elite groups. Additionally, none of the elite
wrestlers which participated in this study (international
tournament participations) had less than 6 years of regular
and specific wrestling training background. These findings
are similar to those described previously by some previous
researchers that compared international and club level
wrestlers (Karnincic et al. 2009) or Olympic competitors
and national level wrestlers (Song and Garvie 1980). This
may suggest that in addition to physical fitness perfor-
mance, technical and competitive experience is of great
importance in elite wresting performance.
It was also interesting to observe that heavy and middle
Weight wrestlers (HW
E
and MW
E
) had significantly higher
FFM compared to the amateur group. As it has been dis-
cussed previously, the differences in lean mass may, in
part, explain the higher muscle strength and power values
attained by the three elite groups compared to the amateur
groups. Therefore, elite wrestles may have a clear advan-
tage in creating frequent and forceful muscle contractions
that are required during most of the combat techniques.
However, no significant differences in % body fat were
detected between the elite and amateur groups (except for
HW). Thus, the present results may also highlight the
importance of maximizing the lean mass and therefore
reduce the % body fat levels within each weight class. In
contrast with the present results, Horswill et al. (1989)
reported that successful wrestlers had significantly lower
body fat values compared to unsuccessful wrestlers. The
discrepancy of these results may be explained by the large
performance differences between the subjects of both
studies. The amateur wrestlers in our study had approxi-
mately the same training experience (5.0–5.7 years) com-
pared to the elite wrestlers in the study by Horswill et al.
(1989). Therefore, it may be suggested that once the
wrestlers reach national competitive level, body fat values
appear similar to elite wrestlers. Several researchers have
shown that the wrestlers’ % body fat during competitive
phases and following weight cutting can be reduced to
4–9% (Horswill 1992; Kraemer et al. 2001;Sharratt et al.
1986; Yoon 2002). This mainly depends on the wrestlers’
weight class and the methodology used for the assessment
(Mirzaei et al. 2009; Oppliger et al. 2006; Song and Garvie
1980; Utter and Hager 2008; Utter and Lambeth 2010).
These results demonstrate the importance of lean body
mass enhancement and reaching optimal body fat depots,
independent of the weight class.
Sprint and extensibility tests have been traditionally
used in wrestling performance assessment (Mirzaei et al.
2009; Sharratt et al. 1986; Song and Garvie 1980; Stine
et al. 1979). No differences in sprint running and ham-
string muscle extensibility were observed between elite
and amateur wrestlers or between the three elite groups
(LW
E
,MW
E
, and HW
E
). These data suggest that these
two fitness components are not fully related to wrestling
performance. Similar to the current findings, some
researchers found that there were no differences for
muscle extensibility between successful and less suc-
cessful wrestlers (Song and Garvie 1980; Stine et al.
1979) and also between different weight classes (Mirzaei
et al. 2009; Song and Garvie 1980). In order to clarify
this issue, it would be helpful to assess muscle extensi-
bility in other muscle groups related to wrestling per-
formance such psoas, latisimus dorsi and pectoralis or
neck and core muscles. Similarly, it may also be
advantageous to assess other speed components for
wrestlers, such as reaction time, which seems to be
related to wrestling performance (Horswill 1992;Kraemer
et al. 2001).
1756 Eur J Appl Physiol (2011) 111:1747–1758
123
Similar to a previous study (Horswill et al. 1989), the
present results demonstrate that absolute and relative
anaerobic power (i.e., Wingate peak power) and anaerobic
capacity (i.e., Wingate mean power attained during the
30 s) are critical success factors for wrestling performance.
Similar to the aforementioned strength and muscle power
output differences, the higher anaerobic power and
capacity values observed in elite wrestlers give them a
clear advantage during the most frequent wrestling actions.
As previously described, these advantages may be attrib-
uted to the higher lean body mass available to generate
force, as well as differences in the neural activation pat-
terns between amateur and elite wrestlers. The relative
peak power (11.8–12.3 W kg
-1
) and mean power
(7.9–8.2 W kg
-1
) normalized to fat-free mass detected in
the three elite groups (LW
E
,MW
E
, and HW
E
) were very
similar to those reported in the only previous research to
our knowledge used similar protocols and data analysis
with wrestlers (peak power 11.2 W kg
-1
; mean power
7.9 W kg
-1
) (Hu
¨bner-Woz
´niak et al. 2004). This may be
due to the similar competitive level of wrestlers in this
research (i.e., members of the Polish national team) com-
pared to the current study.
No significant differences were observed in crank-arm
Wingate fatigue index values between elite and amateur
wrestlers or between the three elite groups. These findings
are similar to those described previously by Horswill et al.
(1989) who found no differences in the fatigue index
between elite and non-elite wrestlers during an arm and leg
Wingate test. Nevertheless, the large standard deviations
detected in the fatigue index for the six groups indicated
the great individual differences that exist in the power
declines during short and powerful efforts similar to
wrestling bouts. As a practical point of view, the knowl-
edge of the individual power declines that occur during a
match can help wrestlers and coaches to individualize the
technique and tactics required to win (Horswill 1992;
Sharratt et al. 1986). A wrestler with a low fatigue index
may take a defensive stand at the start of the match, tire out
his opponent early on, and make his moves to score points
later in the match. In contrast, if an athlete knows that he
can produce relatively high power output early in a match
but may fatigue very quickly, he may choose to attack
early. Collectively, the logistic regression analyses
revealed that years of training experience, fat-free mass
and crank-arm Wingate power were the most important
factors for wrestlers to achieve the elite level.
The peak blood lactate values attained following the
crank-arm Wingate test is another variable that indicates
the relationship between anaerobic metabolism and success
in wrestling. Significantly higher peak blood lactate values
were detected between elite and amateur wrestlers, whereas
no differences were observed when the three elite groups
were compared. These higher blood lactate levels may be
related to elite athletes already possessing a high level of
intracellular carnosine, succinate dehydrogenase, and lac-
tate dehydrogenase activity, as well as greater total buf-
fering capacity (Costill et al. 1976; Parkhouse et al. 2001).
Some researchers have reported slightly higher blood lac-
tate values following official bouts (12–20 mmol l
-1
)
compared to those described in the current study for elite
wrestlers following the crank-arm Wingate test (9.5–11.2
mmol l
-1
) (Karnincic et al. 2009; Kraemer et al. 2001;
Nilsson et al. 2002). These differences in blood lactate
levels between studies may be due to the lower muscle
mass involved in the crank-arm ergometry test compared to
an official wrestling bout. These data may suggest that the
30 s crank-arm Wingate test may not adequately simulate
the metabolism involved in wrestling, but it still may be a
reasonable index of wrestling performance.
In conclusion, elite wrestlers had similar values in
body height, BMI, percent of body fat, and percentage of
1RM that maximizes power output, sprint running speed
as well as muscle extensibility compared to the amateur
wrestlers. On the other hand, elite wrestlers were older,
had more, training background, fat-free mass, absolute
and relative maximum muscle strength and power, ver-
tical jump height and power, and crank-arm Wingate
peak and mean power compared to amateur wrestlers.
Although this study did not take into account other
important physiological factors related to success in the
sport, the higher absolute and relative levels of maximum
strength, muscle power, and anaerobic power and
capacity will give elite wrestlers a clear advantage in
sustaining frequent and forceful muscle contractions that
are required during wrestling combat techniques. Heavier
wrestlers were older, taller, had a higher BMI, fat-free
mass, vertical jump power, absolute maximum muscle
strength and power and absolute peak, and mean crank-
arm Wingate power compared to lighter weight classes.
However, heavier wrestlers had similar values in training
background, vertical jump height, normalized maximum
strength and power to body mass, sprint running, and
muscle extensibility compared to lighter wrestlers. The
knowledge of the physical profiles of successful wrestlers
at different weight classes can be of great interest for
coaches and sport scientist to optimize talent selection for
wrestling.
Acknowledgments This study was supported in part by grants from
the Spanish Wrestling Federation and Associated Disciplines and the
General Directorate of Sports (Government of Murcia). We also
acknowledge the dedicated effort, commitment, and professionalism
of the selected group of wrestlers and their coaches who took part in
this research.
Eur J Appl Physiol (2011) 111:1747–1758 1757
123
Conflict of interest The authors declare that they have no conflict
of interest relevant to the content of this manuscript.
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... Moreover, it can improve some athletic parameters (such as: plyometric, coordination, etc.) by increasing proprioceptive acuity (22,27). In addition to these, balance and physical fitness may be affected by age and level of participation in sports (21,27). Therefore, evaluating balance can play an important role in youth wrestling in both preventing sports injuries and improving athletic performance (28). ...
... In combat sports, especially in wrestling, it is important to use unstable dynamic situations to turn them to their advantage using the stimulation of muscular, articular, and cutaneous mechanoreceptors to adapt to the constant modifications of posture, ground and opponent contact (49,50). Thus in recent studies, it has been reported that there are some physiological and neuromuscular differences between elite and amateur wrestlers (21,40). Considering that elitelevel wrestlers had better balance in all directions both legs compared to sub-elite ones in our study, it can be said that superior balance in elite-level wrestlers is a result of repetitive training experiences that influence motor responses and vestibular system (5). ...
... When considering that poor balance is a modifiable risk factor for sports injury, balance measurements of youth athletes should be performed and necessary precautions (if any) should be taken to reduce sports injuries (4,13,16). Lastly, for athletic performance, during a match, a wrestler with relatively low balance performance may consume more energy to maintain high athletic performance (21). Therefore, the fatigue may occur quickly due to the great amount of anaerobic energy expenditure generated, and this can cause impairment in performance (42). ...
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... Power and velocity are mechanical parameters associated with performance in combat sports [10]. Specifically in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), performance on power tests can explain the variations in the effectiveness of actions, as well as in chokes, joint locks, and takedowns [11]. ...
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... However, maintaining the grip on the opponent's gi/jacket cannot be directly inferred from an unspecific test as handgrip dynamometry. Regarding muscular endurance capacity in combat sports, the grip strength-endurance or ability to maintain a gripping strength during isometric or dynamic muscle contraction is considered a specific variable in several grappling sports such as judo, wrestling, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu (Andreato et al. 2017;Franchini, Artioli, and Brito 2013;Garcia-Pallares et al. 2011). The caffeine ingestion showed different outcomes related to specific and grip strength endurance tests for combat sports athletes (i.e., grip exercise holding onto a uniform jacket). ...
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... Currently, two styles of wrestling are included in the Olympics: Greco-Roman style, which strictly allows upper body techniques only, meaning that holds below the waist are forbidden, and is only practiced by men. The second is freestyle wrestling where athletes are allowed to use lower extremity techniques and trips and is practiced by both men and women across the world [2,3]. Both styles are characterized as vigorous and intermittent and belong to weight-categorized sports. ...
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... In a study conducted with taekwondo players, no significant differences were found between those groups in standing height or body stature [13]. Studies investigating the differences between the anthropometric and body compositions of elite and non-elite wrestlers have found no differences in the height, body fat percentage, lean body mass and Body Mass Index (BMI) values [30,31,32]. In those studies, it was stated that the difference between elite and non-elite groups was related to sports age, training history and experience. ...
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Background: ‪‪Knowing all the features required for elite performance in sports disciplines under the name of combat sports is among the most important parameters for discipline-specific talent identification and selection. Material and methods: ‪‪The research group consists of male and female athletes within the age range of 12–17 who are licensed in taekwondo, karate, judo, and wrestling. A total of 70 athletes, 21 elite and 49 non-elite athletes, participated in the study voluntarily. Anthropometric, athletic and motor competency tests were applied to determine the elite performance elements of the groups. Results: Comparing the elite and non-elite athletes, statistically significant differences were found in favor of the elite group (p<0.05) in terms of height, sitting height, body weight, speed, core endurance, grip strength, upper extremity strength, anaerobic power, KTK jumping sideways and hopping. There was no statistical difference between the groups in terms of fat percentage, BMI, agility, vertical jump, flexibility, KTK moving sideways and walking backwards values (p>0.05). Conclusions: ‪There seem to be important distinctions between athletes who reach the national peak and those who do not, in terms of height, sitting height, body weight, speed, anaerobic power, grip strength, upper extremity and core strength, as well as motor competency related to anaerobic power.
Article
The aims of this study were (1) to evaluate the shape of the load-velocity (L-V) and force-velocity (F-V) relationships obtained during the medicine ball throw (MBT) test, (2) to explore the reliability of their parameters (L-V parameters: maximal load ( L 0 ), maximal velocity ( V 0(L-V) ), slope of the L-V relationship ( a (L-V) ), and area under the L-V relationship line (A line ); F-V parameters: maximal force ( F 0 ), maximal velocity ( V 0(F-V) ), slope of the F-V relationship ( a (F-V) ), and maximal power ( P max )), (3) to explore the concurrent validity of the two-point with respect to the multiple-point method, and (4) to evaluate the external validity of L 0 and F 0 with respect to the maximal strength. Twelve males performed MBTs against four loads, a bench press 1-repetition maximum (1 RM), and maximal isometric medicine ball push. The L-V and F-V relationships were strongly linear (individual r ≥ 0.886). V 0 was the only variable that always showed an acceptable reliability (CV ≤ 3.4%). L 0 and F 0 presented trivial to moderate correlations with the bench press 1RM and maximal isometric medicine ball push performance. Therefore, the MBT test can be implemented to reveal the maximal velocity capacity of upper-body muscles, but not maximal force or power capacities due to their low reliability and external validity.
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1) Egzersizde Yorgunluk Takip Ölçekleri / Fatigue Tracking Scales in Exercise 2) Buz Hokeyinde Antrenman Planlaması / Training Planning in Ice Hockey 3) Egzersiz ve Anti-inflamatuar Sitokinler / Exercise and Anti-Inflammatory Cytokines 4) Mitokondriyal Dinamikleri Düzenleyen Gen İfadelerinde Egzersizin Rolü / The Role of Exercise in Gene Expressions Regulating Mitochondrial Dynamics 5) Fiziksel Aktivite Boyutu İle Rekreasyon / Physical Activity Dimension with Recreation 6) Spor Bilimleri Fakültesi Öğrencilerinin Spor TaraftarıÖzdeşleşme Düzeylerinin İncelenmes / Investigation of Sports Fan Identification Levels of Faculty of Sports Sciences Students 7) Spor Bilimleri Fakültesi Öğrencilerinin Sağlıklı OlmaKültürüne Yönelik Durumlarının İncelenmesi / Investigation of the Status of the Students of the Faculty of Sport Sciences towards the Culture of Being Healthy 8) Yaşlanma Sürecinde Doping Kullanımı ve Etkileri / Doping Use and Its Effects on the Aging Process 9) Uzaktan Beden Eğitiminde Yenilikçi Yaklaşımlar / Innovative Approaches in Distance Physical Education 10) Mobil Egzersiz Uygulamaları / Mobile Exercise Apps 11) Engellilerde Oyun Kavramı / The Concept of Game for the Disabled 12) Sporda Hizmet Kalitesi Ölçüm Modelleri ve Sınıflandırılması / Service Quality Measurement Models and Classification in Sports 13) Sporda Fair Play / Fair Play in Sports 14) Yüksek İrtifa Antrenmanlarının Uygulanışı ve Yüksek İrtifa Fizyolojisi / Application of High Altitude Training and High Altitude Physiology 15) Kompleks Kuvvet Antrenmanları ve Yöntemleri / Complex Strength Training and Methods 16) Welspine Uygulamaları ve Bel Fıtığına Karşı Kazanımları / Welspine Applications and Benefits Against Lumbar Hernia 17) Welspine Uygulamaları ve Boyun Fıtığına Karşı Kazanımları / Welspine Applications and Benefits Against Neck Hernia 18) Osmanlı Devleti’nde Spor / Sports in the Ottoman Empire 19) Egzersizin Lenf Rahatsızlıklarına Etkisi / The Effect of Exercise on Lymph Disorders 20) Güreş ve Güreş Sporunda Yaygın Sakatlıklar / Common Injuries in Wrestling and Wrestling
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The aim of this study was to compare the injured body regions that elite Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlers suffered from and to determine the importance of injuries. 41 Freestyle and 51 Greco-Roman wrestlers, who were practicing in Turkish National Wrestling Team camps, participated in this study. ‘Chi Square’ and student t tests were used in statistical analyses. When examined injury status and body regions distribution between Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlers, significant difference was found in head and trunk injuries according to wrestling styles (p<0.05). No difference was found in upper/lower extremities and lesion/scrape and friction burns status of the wrestlers according to wrestling style (p>0.05). There was significant difference in trunk and upper extremity injuries with respect to weight category (p<0.05 and p<0.001). Significant difference was also found in nose injuries according to wrestling styles (p<0.05). When examined wrestling style and upper extremity injuries according to the number of injuries, there was found significant difference between two styles in muscle injuries, finger and wrist injuries (p<0.05). The difference between toe injuries in respect to the wrestling style was statistically significant (p<0.05). Results: Greco-Roman wrestlers experienced more injuries in trunk, head and nose compared to Freestyle wrestlers. Trunk, lower and upper extremity injuries varied depending on weight categories. Neck, back, lumbar and chest injuries were more common in Greco-Roman wrestlers. Freestyle wrestlers were more vulnerable to muscle injuries while Greco-Roman wrestlers were more vulnerable to finger and wrist injuries. It is recommended to improve some abilities excellently such as aerobic power, strength, balance and neuro-motor coordination in wrestling. Techniques should be taught well to the wrestlers, most risky extremities for injury have to be applied extra training and these extremities should be protected from injuries by several tapes, bandages or gears during exercise. Freestyle wrestlers ought to be more careful in diving move. Using ear protector in addition to preventive measures can be recommended during training in order to prevent temporal bone fractures and swellings.
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This study aimed to determine the difference in the effect of the sports massage recovery method and active recovery on the lactate levels of wrestling athletes. This research sample consisted of 6 female athletes in West Java PON wrestling divided into two groups, namely the group that used sports massage and used active recovery. The analysis and data calculation results revealed that active recovery showed more significant results in reducing lactate levels (3.8 ± 0.54) compared to sports massage (2.6 ± 0.23).
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The objective of this study was to determine and compare lactate profile of two groups of Greco-Roman wrestlers with different competences and training experience. Study was conducted on 10 wrestles that were members of Croatian national team and 10 wrestlers that were members of Wrestling club Split. Lactate samples were collected at four intervals during control fights that were held according to international wrestling rules of World wrestling federation FILA. Values of lactate increased as competition progressed, and they were highest at the end of the match for both groups of wrestlers. According to this study there were no significant differences in lactate between two groups at the end of the match, while significant differences were noted during the match. The information about lactate profile presented in this study can be used by coaches and wrestlers to develop condition programs. Key PointsThere were no significant differences in lactate concentrations at the end of the match between two proficiency levels of wrestlers.More proficient (elite) wrestlers raise lactates gradually through the wrestling match while less proficient (club) wrestlers raise it abruptly at the end of the first bout.Both groups of wrestlers are unable to sustain same level of activity through the match suggesting that they are utilizing too much energy from anaerobic glycolysis.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the physiological and performance responses to a simulated freestyle wrestling tournament after typical weight loss techniques used by amateur wrestlers. Twelve Division I collegiate wrestlers (mean +/- SD;19.33 +/- 1.16 yr) lost 6% of total body weight during the week before a simulated, 2-d freestyle wrestling tournament. A battery of tests was performed at baseline and before and immediately after each individual match of the tournament. The test battery included assessment for body composition, reaction/movement time, lower and upper body power and isokinetic strength, and a venous blood sample. Lower body power and upper body isometric strength were significantly reduced as the tournament progressed (P < or = 0.05). Significant elevations in testosterone, cortisol, and lactate were observed after each match (P < or = 0.05). However, there was a significant reduction (P < or = 0.05) in resting testosterone values in the later matches. Norepinephrine increased significantly (P < or = 0.05) after each match, whereas epinephrine increased significantly (P < or = 0.05) after each match except the last match of each day. Plasma osmolality was consistently higher than normal values at all times including baseline, with significant increases observed after each match (P < or = 0.05). Tournament wrestling augments the physiological and performance decrements of weight loss and its impact is progressive over 2 d of competition. The combined effects of these stresses may ultimately be reflected in a wrestler's ability to maintain physical performance throughout a tournament.
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This study investigated selected physical performance characteristics of a group of national class wrestlers. The results demonstrate that the wrestlers at the NCAA championships represent a rather homogeneous population from the standpoint of physical performance capabilities. Yet small differences were consistently observed that favored those who ultimately proved to be the most successful. It is obvious from this information that the sport of wrestling requires an athlete with superior strength and endurance. Although it is probably premature to develop a physical performance profile to serve as a prerequisite to predict success in wrestling, this study does provide further insight to the existing performance data on wrestlers. As additional information is obtained and further refinement and standardization of this battery of tests is made, a framework will be developed to serve as a physical performance profile that could be of tremendous benefit to the athlete, coach, athletic trainer, and team physician. These data will provide the basis to improve athletic training and conditioning programs, reduce injury risk, selectively place young athletes into sports where they have the best chance for success and enjoyment, and set standards of performance that can serve as goals for the aspiring champion.
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Muscle biopsies were obtained from the gastrocnemius of 14 elite distance runners, 18 middle distance runners, and 19 untrained men. The middle distance runners were all highly trained, but had significantly slower performance times than the elite runners at distances greater than 3 miles. Fiber composition and mean cross sectional areas were determined from muscle sections incubated for histochemical activity. A portion of the specimen was used to determine succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and phosphorylase activities. All subjects were tested for maximal oxygen uptake on a treadmill. As previously demonstrated by others, the elite runners' muscles were characterized by a high percentage (79%) of slow twitch (ST) fibers. On the average, the cross sectional area of their ST fibers was found to be 22% larger than the FT fibers (P<0.05). SDH activity of whole muscle homogenates from elite and middle distance runners was 3.4 and 2.8 fold greater, respectively, than that measured in the untrained men. Since the LDH and phosphorylase activities were similar for the runners and untrained men, it appears that training for distance running has little influence on the enzymes of glycogenolysis.
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This study examined the effect of pattern of weight loss on plasma volume in NCAA Div. I college wrestlers preparing for a tournament. Twelve subjects lost an average of 6% body weight (BW) by thermal and exercise-induced dehydration, but at varying rates during the week of the experiment. After 15 hrs of rehydration, BW was still below baseline, indicating that the wrestlers did not replace all BW loss during the night after a weigh-in. Subjects were grouped into gradual (G), moderate (M), and rapid (R) weight loss patterns by their change in BW from Days 1 to 6. G, M, and R had -1.77, -0.54, and 1.05% [DELTA] in BW, respectively. There was a significant (p <= 0.05) correlation between pattern of weight loss and total %[DELTA] BW, with G incurring greater loss in BW. Status of vascular fluid was assessed by measuring blood volume (BV), plasma volume (PV), red cell volume, osmolality, and total protein concentration ([TP]). Weight loss had no effect on precompetition osmolality or [TP], but significantly reduced pre-weigh-in BV and PV for all 3 groups. All 3 groups had a similar reduction in PV (~400-500 ml; 11%) following dehydration. Differing weight loss patterns compromise PV equally; thus the rate of weight reduction the week prior to weigh-in has little effect on an elite college wrestler's BV and PV. Yet the negative effects of weight loss practices remain. (C) 1998 National Strength and Conditioning Association
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The purpose of this study was to examine the ability of preseason body composition, build, and strength to predict wrestling success during an upcoming competitive wrestling season. Underwater weighings to assess body composition, anthropometric determinations of body build characteristics, and isokinetic measures of muscular strength were performed on 55 high school wrestlers. Wrestling success was evaluated by the wrestlers won-loss record and state or regional tournament appearance during the season. Multiple discriminant analysis identified two discriminant functions (DF1 and DF2) which represented two distinct groups of underlying variables. DF1 reflected primarily muscular strength relative to body weight variables and discriminatted best between average and novice Wrestlers. DF2 reflected mainly body composition and build characteristics and discriminated best between the highly-skilled and novice wrestlers. DF1 and DF2 each accounted for approximately 50 percent of the variance between the three groups of wrestlers. The discriminant functions correctly classified 56.4 percent of the wrestlers (p < 0.05). Within the groups, the discriminant functions correctly classified 64 percent of the highly-skilled and 75 percent of the novice wrestlers, but only 8 percent of the average wrestlers. These results indicate that preseason body composition, build, and strength are fairly sensitive predictors of westling success in highly-skilled and novice wrestlers, but not in average wrestlers. (C) 1987 National Strength and Conditioning Association
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The purpose of this study was to determine the best prediction factors of traditional rowing performance in traditional elite (ER) and amateur (AR) rowers. Average power during the 20-min all-out test (W 20 min), average power output which elicited a blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol l−1\( \left( {W_{{4\;{\text{mmol}}\;{\text{l}}^{ - 1} }} } \right), \) power output in 10 maximal strokes (W 10 strokes), maximal strength and muscle power output during a bench pull (BP) and anthropometric values were all measured for 46 trained male rowers aged 21–30 with 8–15 years of rowing training experience. The ER group showed greater body mass (5%, p
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The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of hamstring muscle extensibility on the hamstring criterion-related validity of the sit-and-reach (SR) and toe-touch (TT) tests. Two hundred forty young adults (mean age: 22.9 +/- 3.6 years) participated in this study. Three trials of straight leg raise (SLR) (left and right), SR, and TT tests were performed in a random order. The subjects were dichotomized into group A (subjects with an SLR angle < 75 degrees ) or group B (subjects with an SLR angle >/= 75 degrees ). The correlation values between SLR angle and SR and TT scores were calculated and compared between both groups. Group B elicited higher mean SR and TT scores than group A (p < 0.001). Group A showed low associations between SLR with respect to the SR (r = 0.31-0.41) and TT (r = 0.28-0.40) tests. Group B showed moderate values for both SR (r = 0.55) and TT (r = 0.60-0.61) tests. The hamstring criterion-related validity of the SR and TT tests is influenced by hamstring muscle extensibility. From the results of this investigation, we find that the SR and TT tests are not valid measures of hamstring extensibility for subjects with reduced hamstring muscle extensibility.
Article
This study analyzed the contribution of the propulsive and braking phases among different percentages of the one-repetition maximum (1RM) in the concentric bench press exercise. One hundred strength-trained men performed a test with increasing loads up to the 1RM for the individual determination of the load-power relationship. The relative load that maximized the mechanical power output (P(max)) was determined using three different parameters: mean concentric power (MP), mean power of the propulsive phase (MPP) and peak power (PP). The load at which the braking phase no longer existed was 76.1+/-7.4% 1RM. P(max) was dependent on the parameter used: MP (54.2%), MPP (36.5%) or PP (37.4%). No significant differences were found for loads between 40-65% 1RM (MP) or 20-55% 1RM (MPP and PP), nor between P(max) (% 1RM) when using MPP or PP. P(max) was independent of relative strength, although certain tendency towards slightly lower loads was detected for the strongest subjects. These results highlight the importance of considering the contribution of the propulsive and braking phases in isoinertial strength and power assessments. Referring the mean mechanical values to the propulsive phase avoids underestimating an individual's true neuromuscular potential when lifting light and medium loads.