West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on How Wrestlers Should Approach Dieting

At the beginning of each new wrestling season, many matmen are confronted with the problem of making weight. It is imperative that during this time of the year that wrestlers be true to themselves, the coach and their team. Let me explain.

Although it is now a requirement (in most states) that the minimum weight class for all wrestlers be certified by a doctor at the start of each season, this does not mean they can automatically lose the weight. Some athletes can lose pounds easier and faster than others. Thus, the determined wrestler must find out what he can do regarding weight loss during the first weeks of the season. In other words, young men, don't "kid" yourself if you can't make base weight!

So, what strategy should you use? Consider the following. I had a plan that I lived by when dieting. Following a conditioning diet, I gave myself the first two weeks of practice to come within five pounds of the weight class. Below is the daily routine I adhered to:

If after two weeks of strenuous conditioning you have not come close to the five-pound mark, it may be time to reconsider the weight class in which you want to wrestle. Remember, competition usually begins within four to six weeks of the start of organized practice, and your coach wants to have a good idea where each of his matmen will go. Nothing upsets a coach more than when a grappler says he can make a weight class in which he, personally, knows he can't obtain.

In sum, the key is being honest with yourself regarding weight reduction. Whether it be physiological or psychological, some wrestlers just aren't good at dieting. So, whatever you decide, make it a quick decision and let your coach know. You'll feel better and your coach won't be burdened with an unwanted surprise come match time.

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Updated August 16, 1997