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MRI evaluation of body composition changes in wrestlers undergoing rapid weight loss
  1. T Kukidome1,
  2. K Shirai2,
  3. J Kubo3,
  4. Y Matsushima2,
  5. O Yanagisawa4,
  6. T Homma2,
  7. K Aizawa5
  1. 1
    Senshu University, Kanagawa, Japan
  2. 2
    Japan Institute of Sports Sciences, Tokyo, Japan
  3. 3
    Heisei Kokusai University, Saitama, Japan
  4. 4
    Waseda University, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Japan
  5. 5
    University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
  1. Takeshi Kukidome, Senshu University 2-1-1 Higashimita, Tamaku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 214-8580, Japan; kukidome{at}


Purpose: Changes in body composition of college wrestlers undergoing rapid weight reduction were evaluated over time using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Methods: This study evaluated 12 wrestlers (male, 18–22 years of age) who participated in Japan’s 2005 intercollegiate wrestling tournament. For this study, MRI (of the right femoral region and the trunk), as well as measurements of body weight, body fat percentage and body water content, were performed 1 month and 1 week prior to the weigh-in, on the day of the weigh-in, on the day of the match (after the match), and 1 week after the weigh-in. A survey of food and fluid intake was also conducted.

Results: Several variables were significantly lower on the day of the weigh-in than one month prior: body weight (p<0.01, −7.3% (SD 1.6%)); body fat (p<0.05, −9.3 (5.8)%); body water content (p<0.01, −5.9 (1.6)%); trunk cross-section (p<0.01, −13.2 (4.4)%), including separate measurements of trunk viscera, trunk muscle, and trunk fat; quadriceps muscle; lower subcutaneous; and food intake (p<0.01, 122 (20)). At 1 week after the match, all metrics had recovered to their levels measured 1 month before the weigh-in. Certain variables that were highly sensitive to hydration recovered more rapidly: they had reached their initial levels when measured immediately after the match.

Conclusion: Rapid weight reduction reduced the wrestlers’ cross-sectional areas of muscle and fat tissues, which tended to recover through rehydration after the weigh-in. These results suggest that rapid weight reduction of wrestlers induced changes in different regions of the body.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • i In Japanese intercollegiate wrestling tournaments, the rules set by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) are followed. According to FILA rules, the weigh-in is carried out only once in the evening of the day before the match. This differs from what is stipulated by the rules set in the United States by the NCAA. In Olympic wrestling matches, FILA rules are followed.