Wrestling Weight Control Program


The IHSA Wrestling Weight Control Program is designed to determine the minimum weight class a wrestler may participate in throughout the season. The establishment of a minimum weight class is based on a body fat measurement of 7% for male wrestlers and 12% for female wrestlers.

The IHSA is concerned for the safety of the young people who participate in our wrestling program. The establishment of minimum weight classes along with a maximum weight loss per week limit allows high school wrestlers to participate in a most healthy manner.

Rationale for changing Illinois Weight Control Plan for Wrestling:

The coaches are becoming more aware of the negative impact that weight cutting has had on wrestling. Many coaches are trying to create a program that focuses on strength, conditioning and technique rather than cutting weight and getting to the lowest weight possible. By changing the Illinois Weight Control Plan to include body fat testing to determine minimum weight for wrestlers, the state could validate what has taken place over the last few years. This would shift any focus of negative weight control, to a stance that wrestling is promoting the positive well being of all wrestlers. Hopefully, the coaches will view this as a tool to help them provide the best available information and research to the wrestlers and parents on what the optimum weight class would be for each wrestler.

The positive results of body fat testing will be that the coaches and wrestlers will be able to focus more on improving skills in wrestling, getting stronger, and having fun wrestling. Wrestlers will not have to focus on methods of weight reduction or cutting down to a lower weight that might affect the health of the wrestler. Instead, it creates a process that determines the lowest weight a wrestler may wrestle, taking the pressure off the coaches, wrestlers and parents.

Within the next few years, the National Federation will be requiring that the State High School Associations have three components in their weight control plan. The three components are: body fat testing to determine minimum weight, education component on hydration and nutrition and some type of minimum weight loss component that does not allow wrestlers' weight to fluctuate up and down. By studying all aspects of weight reduction over the next couple of years, Illinois has the opportunity to create a Weight Control Plan that fits the needs of the wrestlers in Illinois and meets the requirements that will be coming from the National Federation.

The most important aspect of the Weight Control Plan is the athlete. We must focus on what is best for the student athlete, along with doing what is best to improve the great sport of wrestling. Sometimes change is necessary. We must work hard to get more students interested in wrestling. Wrestling can do this by allowing the wrestler to focus on skill development, getting stronger and having fun instead of concentrating on weight cutting activities. The change is one that is necessary for the sport of wrestling, one that will allow us to take wrestling to another level.


The establishment of a minimum wrestling weight based on 7% body fat for males and 12% for females is required for all high school wrestlers. The IHSA does not advocate that a wrestler's established minimum weight is the athlete's best weight, but simply the minimum weight at which the athlete will be allowed to compete.

I. Establishing Minimum Weights

A. Skinfold measurements will be utilized by all schools to determine each wrestler's body fat percentage. Only measurements taken by IHSA Certified Skinfold Measurers will be accepted. Schools may obtain a list of approved measurers on the IHSA website at www.ihsa.org under boys' sports and wrestling. This list will be posted on the website in June 2003. It is the responsibility of the school to contact a certified skinfold measurer from this list.

B. The lowest weight class a wrestler may compete at will be determined as follows:

1. If the predicted weight, at 7% male/12% female is exactly that of one of the weight classes, that weight class shall be the wrestler's minimum weight class.

2. If the weight class falls between two weight classes, he/she must wrestle at the higher weight class.

3. Any male or female wrestler whose body fat percentage at the time of measurement falls below 7%/12% must wrestle at the weight class that they are at. No weight loss will be allowed.

II. Time Periods for Measurements

A. Skinfold measuring may begin on Monday of Week 16. All wrestlers, including those coming out late, must have their minimum weight established prior to any competition.

B. Skinfold measuring must be completed by Friday, of Week 30, one week prior to the regional tournaments.

C. Results of measurements will be posted on the School Center.

III. Responsibilities of Schools in the Measurement Process

A. It is the school's responsibility to contact an approved IHSA skinfold measurer. The list of approved measurers can be obtained from the IHSA website at www.ihsa.org under wrestling.

B. The school must have available at the time of the skinfold measuring: 1) a scale, 2) skinfold data sheets (provided by the IHSA in electronic format), 3) school officials (e.g., coach, teacher, A.D.) who will assist in obtaining the weight of each wrestler and with the recording of the data.

C. The school shall see that all charges for skinfold measuring are paid. (IHSA certified skinfold measurers may charge up to $5.00 per wrestler measured.)

IV. Weight Loss Per Week

A. A weight loss of 1.5% of a wrestler's total body weight per week has been established. A wrestler will not be allowed to wrestle at the minimum weight until the date specified on the body fat result sheet provided by the IHSA.

B. A wrestler may not weigh in more than one weight class above the lowest weight class that he/she has ever weighed in at. If they do this, that is the lowest weight that the wrestler can wrestle for the remainder of the season.


The IHSA will accept measurements using only skinfold testing for the initial test.

Skinfold measurements shall be taken with the Lange caliper. This is a medium-priced caliper and can be obtained for less than $200.00 from most health care product suppliers. Measurements taken with the Lange calipers must be taken by an IHSA certified skinfold measurer.


The IHSA Wrestling Weight Control Program will use the following dates for implementation during the 2002-03 school year.

May 2003
Certify Body Fat testers for member schools

September 2003
Information concerning the 2003-04 IHSA Wrestling Weight Control Program will be sent to member schools.

Will conduct the last training of certified Body Fat testers for member schools.

October 19, 2003
Schools may begin having the wrestlers measured according to the program specifications.

November 24, 2003
First authorized contest date for wrestling.

January 30, 2004
Final day for schools to submit data for calculation of minimum weight classes for wrestlers.


The IHSA Wrestling Weight Control Program will continue to develop over the next three years with several enhancements planned.

Education continues to be a key element in the success and understanding of the weight control program. An informative program designed for coaches, student athletes and parents will be available on the IHSA website.

A critical review of the entire weight control program is planned during the 2004-05 school year. Administrators, coaches, athletes and parents will have an opportunity to provide valuable feedback to the Association.

It is hoped that through continued education and dedicated efforts among our wrestling community, we work toward creating a safer sport and healthier environment.


  1. Each school will have the opportunity to certify a person that will be responsible for Body Fat Testing. This person must be someone that is not connected to the coaching of wrestlers in your school district.

    Suggestion: Trainers, school nurse, health teacher, nurse practitioner, etc. The principal will be responsible for designating that person to the IHSA. If a school elects not to certify a body fat tester, then they must coordinate with one of the certified body fat tester to come to their school and do the testing of their wrestlers.
  2. The school will be sent a form to submit to the IHSA the name of the person that will be trained to do body fat testing. The form will be sent to all principals in February, 2003 and must be returned to the IHSA by March 1, 2003.
  3. The IHSA will provide training of all body fat testers during the month of May 2003 and will have one session at the IHSA Office in September 2003.
  4. The IHSA will conduct several training sessions that will be located geographically around the state of Illinois.
  5. A person will not be certified until they have attended one of these sessions.
  6. Only certified body fat testers will be allowed to conduct and enter results for the IHSA.
  7. There will be a minimum fee for this certification (approximately $15.00). This fee will be used to pay for the training of the Body Fat testers.
  8. Once the body fat testing is completed, the wrestlers will only be allowed to wrestle no lower than the weight designated. Males will not be able to wrestle below 7% body fat and females will not be able to wrestle below 12% body fat. If a wrestler is naturally lean and is a sub-7% male or sub-12% female, then they will wrestle at that weight with no weight loss allowed.
  9. Schools will receive all the results of the Body Fat testing on-line on the School Center.


  1. Have wrestlers being tested take the test for Urine Specific Gravity. NOTE: Follow directions for administering this test.
  2. Wrestlers that do not pass the Urine Specific Gravity test will not be body fat tested on this date. They only get one opportunity on any given date to pass the Urine Specific Gravity test.
  3. Once a wrestler has passed the Urine Specific Gravity test, they may be body fat tested on that date only.
  4. Proceed with the body fat testing of each wrestler. Take three measurements at each designated area and record each measurement.
  5. Each body fat tester will have a secured site on the IHSA website. To enter the site, the certified body fat tester will enter their ID number and Password.
  6. Once the Body Fat Tester has logged in on their personal site, they will have a screen come up that will ask for the School ID number that they are testing. The Body Fat Tester must enter the five (5)-digit school code number in that box.
  7. The next screen that appears will be the data entry screen. The certified body fat tester must enter the following data on each wrestler:
    · Date of body fat testing
    · Name of wrestler
    · Weight the day of testing
    · The three (3) measurements taken at each designated area on the wrestler.
  8. Once all data is recorded for each wrestler, send information electronically to the IHSA.
  9. Body Fat Tester must keep a hard copy of all data in case electronic submission does not work properly or tampering has occurred.
  10. Schools will get results from their school center.


  1. A school may appeal the results of the body fat testing one time per wrestler.
  2. The appeal must be filed within seven (7) calendar days of the Body Fat Testing.
  3. No wrestler may wrestle interscholastically without being body fat tested. If a wrestler's body fat test results are being appealed, the wrestler may not wrestle in interscholastic competition until the appeal results are posted on the School Center.
  4. The cost of the appeal is to be paid by the school or the wrestler depending on what that school's policy is.
  5. The wrestler has the following options for the appeal:
    · Have another skin fold test by any of the approved certified Body Fat Testers.
    · Be body fat tested at any of the approved Test Centers in the State of Illinois.
    · The appeal may be taken to a Test Center that is approved for using the following:
    1. Underwater testing
    2. Bod Pod
    3. Skin Fold
  6. The wrestler must take the results of the second test.
  7. The results of the appeal will be faxed to the IHSA Office, where the results will be posted by the IHSA staff.
  8. No other appeals will be granted.


Description of Skinfold Procedures

Equipment: Skinfold Calipers (Lange Model Number ___________)
Urine Specific Test Strips (Number ________________)


  1. All measurements should be made on the right side of the body.
  2. A caliper should be placed 1cm away from the thumb and finger perpendicular to the skinfold, and halfway between the crest and the base of the fold
  3. Pinch should be maintained while reading the caliper
  4. Wait one (1) to two (2) seconds (and not any longer) before reading the caliper
  5. Take duplicate measures at each site and retest if duplicate measurements are not within
    1 to 2 mm
  6. Rotate through measurement sites or allow time for skin to regain normal texture and thickness
  7. Take three (3) measurements at each testing point on the body

Test Selection: Very lean and very obese people pose special measurement problems: there may be limitations in equipment placement and reproducible outcomes. In addition, there may be a psychological "drawback" to performing this test on individuals who are somewhat sensitive to such information.

Standardized Description of Skinfold Sites

Skinfold Sites:

Abdominal: Vertical fold; 3cm to the right side of the umbilicus

Triceps: Vertical fold; on the posterior midline of the upper arm, halfway between the acromion and olecranon processes, with the arm held freely to the side of the body.

Subscapular: Diagonal fold (at a 45 degree angle); one (1) to two (2) cm below the inferior angle of the scapula

Male Female

Abdominal Abdominal
Triceps Triceps


Urine Spec. Gravity Test Test Date Alpha Weight Alpha %
Body Fat
WR Wgt.
Wgt. Class
1st Date Wrestler May wr Min. wgt Class
Cook, Bill P 10/13/02 200 16.29 180.3 189 11/12/02
Smith, Jim P 10/15/02 215 23.97 175.77 189 12/17/02
Jones, Dick P 11/10/02 177 11.47 168.5 171 12/1/02
Graham, Tom P 11/01/02 177 12.98 165.62 171 11/2/02
Mitchell, Dave P 11/1/02 145 13.58 134.78 135 12/7/02
Wilson, J.T. F            

 IHSA Weight Control Manual