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Physical fitness factors to predict male Olympic wrestling performance

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 (LWE, n = 18) and amateur (LWA, n = 15) level; Middle Weight (body mass ranged between 68 and 84 kg) in elite (MWE, n = 18) and amateur (MWA, n = 19) level; and Heavy Weight (body mass ranged between 84 and 100 kg) in elite (HWE, n = 10) and amateur (HWA, 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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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.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest relevant to the content of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jesús García-Pallarés.

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Communicated by William J. Kraemer.

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García-Pallarés, J., López-Gullón, J.M., Muriel, X. et al. Physical fitness factors to predict male Olympic wrestling performance. Eur J Appl Physiol 111, 1747–1758 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-010-1809-8

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Keywords

  • Greco-roman
  • Freestyle
  • Maximum strength
  • Maximum power
  • Wingate
  • Muscle extensibility