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ENG302 : The Class : Forms and Formats : Formal : Original Research
Report of Original Research


The report of original research includes a central statement of a research problem and a methodology, often in the form of a study or experiment designed to solve that problem. After the problem itself is fully explained, sometimes a review of the literature, or an account of various previously completed studies on the same or a closely related problem, is presented. This section places the writer's approach in context. Following the discussion of previous work, the writer presents his own method of studying the problem. The remaining sections usually include results, where the writer describes the factual outcome of the study; discussion, where the writer presents his judgments about the quality or proper interpretation of the results; and conclusions or recommenda-tions, where the writer lists the major points of value gained from the study.

The report of original research usually includes little documented evidence other than in the review of the literature. The writer often uses headings and subheadings to divide the report into distinct sections. The report develops logically, but it does not so much flow as move through distinct stages. If the thesis report works like an automatic transmission, the report of original research works like a standard shift.

The main information in the report of original research is located in two places: the review of the literature and the results sections. As much as possible, the writer places information in tabular form: charts, tables, graphs, etc. Opinions are included only in the discussion, results, and conclusion sections.

'The Effects of a Collegiate Wrestling Season' originally appeared in a journal specializing in sports medicine. The audience is thus a group of special-ists in a narrow field. They do not require general background information, but are instead interested in the scientific details, the methodology, and the conclusions of the article. The article is presented in a typical scientific format, allowing the expert audience the fastest possible entry into the meat of the subject.

The Effects of a Collegiate Wrestling Season on Body Composition, Cardiovascular Fitness and Muscular Strength and Endurance

J.M. Kelly, B.A. Gorney and K.K. Kalm

Exercise Physiology Laboratory

St. Cloud State University
St. Cloud, Minnesota 56301

ABSTRACT. The purposes of this investiga-tion were: (1) to study the body composition, cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength and endurance of collegiate wrestlers during the course of a season; (2) to determine if selected regression equations used to predict minimal wrestling weight were accurate; (3) to determine if the wrestlers who participated in the study had an accurate perception of their ideal minimal wrestling weights. Body composition (body densitometry), aerobic power (VO2 max), and muscular strength and endurance (isokinetic) were measured during pre, peak, and postseasons. The fact that very few significant changes occurred in these measurements during the course of the study appears to be the result of yearround training on the part of the athletes studied. Their peakseason percent body fat (8.36%) was very similar to that reported in other studies involving mature wrestlers. Rapid weight loss through dehydration appeared to be the preferred method of weight reduction among these athletes.

As the sport of wrestling has grown in popularity, so has the concern of many individuals directly and indirectly involved with it. This concern usually manifests itself in the process of 'making weight.' It is not uncommon for wrestlers throughout the country to lose from 10 to 12 pounds of their body weight in the few days preceding each match (12) so that they might compete in lower weight classes in hopes of wrestling small opponents. Since this practice is so common, the possible advantages are nullified and the risk of health impairment increased.

Although the sport of wrestling has recently been the focus of considerable research, it is commonly recognized that securing more scientific infor-mation in this sport is of great importance. The purposes of the present study were: (1) to study the body composition, cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength and endurance of collegiate wrestlers throughout the course of a wrestling season; (2) to determine if selected regression equations used to predict minimal wrestling weight and body fat were suitable for predicting the minimal wrestling weights of the subjects used in the present study; (3) to deter-mine if the wrestlers who participated in the present study had an accurate perception of their minimal wrestling weights.


Nineteen subjects from the 1975-76 St. Cloud State University wrestling team were selected by the coach as those who would most probably serve as the nucleus for the varsity team. For various reasons, only 13 completed the 3 phases of the investigation which included: (1) Preseason (data collected in September); (2) Peak-season (data collected in January and February); (3) Post-season (data collected 5 weeks following the season's conclusion).

Six of the selected wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Division II Wrestling Tournament, two were finalists and three received All-American honors. The informed consent was obtained following a detailed explanation of the study and the risks involved in it. The data were collected between 6:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. to allow for as much overnight rehydra-tion as possible. Efforts were also made to reduce the possibility of extreme dehydration by avoiding the 48 hour time period preceding each match.

Anthropometric Measurements
All of the selected anthropometric measurements were repeated at least twice so that two measurements for each variable were obtained that differed by no more than 2 mm except for the skinfolds which differed by no more than 1 mm. Height and weight were also recorded: height to the nearest .25 inch and weight to the nearest 0.05 kg. The same individual took each measurement and had previ-ously demonstrated an objectivity coefficient of over i9o between his measurements and the measurements of an experienced investigator. A sliding wooden anthropometer caliper was used to measure the body diameters, which were later satisfactorily rechecked with the caliper recommended and designed by Tipton and his associates (15). The selected diameters were as follows: biacromial, chest width, chest depth, bi-iliac, bitrochanteric, elbow, knee, ankle, and wrist. The diameters were measured according to the specifications of Tcheng and Tipton (15) except for the elbow and knee (2). The circumference measurements were obtained with the use of a Lufkin physician's metal retractable tape and were as follows: the neck, chest, bicep, waist, thigh and calf, and were measured according to Behnke and Wilmore (3). The skinfolds were measured with a Lange skinfold caliper and included the subscapu-lar, tricep, chest, pectoral, suprailiac, abdominal and thigh. The skinfolds were measured as reported in a previous publication (16).

Body Composition

Body composition was assessed for all subjects by the hydrostatic weighing technique. Residual volume was determined by the 'closed circuit oxygen-dilution method' as described by Wilmore
(17). Both the body density and residual volume technique were reported previously (16). The resid-ual volume was measured only during the peak--season because of an equipment malfunction. When repeat measurements were taken on seven of the nine varsity wrestlers several months following the season only a small mean difference (24 ml) was observed. The correlation between the original and repeated values was .989. This stability of the residual volume in the present study is supported by other studies involving wrestlers (1,14). Percent fat and lean body mass were calculated from the formula developed by Brozek et al. (5).

Muscular Strength and Endurance

A Cybex II dynamometer was used to measure iso-kinetic strength and muscular endurance. An at-tempt was made to measure those muscle groups that were used most extensively in wrestling. A battery of 29 muscular strength and endurance tests were administered to each subject. The dominant side was used in each test. With the exception of grip strength, each test included a fast speed com-ponent (1800/sec) and a slow speed component (300/ sec). The battery of tests included: (1) Shoulder Flexion-Elbow Extension and Shoulder Extension--Elbow Flexion, (2) Hip Flexion, (3) Shoulder Hori-zontal Flexion and Extension, (4) Knee Flexion and Extension, and (5) Grip Strength.

To standardize the experiments and localize the contractions to the proper muscle groups the subjects were required to participate in a practice session on a day prior to the day of testing. During the tests the subjects were encouraged to exert maximal force throughout the desired range of motion. Motivation was held as constant as possible during each of the tests that were administered. The dynamometer was positioned to the proper length and height for each of the subjects and maintained constant for each of the testing sessions. The protocol for the testing was as follows: (1) five maxi-mal contractions throughout the described range of motion at 1800 per second; (2) two minutes rest; (3) repeated maximal contractions throughout the range of motion at 300 per second until the subject's force decreased to 50 percent of the initial maximum force; (4) two minutes rest; (5) repeated maximal contractions throughout the range of motion at 1800 per second until the subject's force diminished to 50 percent of the initial maximum force.

Cardiovascular Fitness

A continuous-type treadmill test to exhaustion (Wilmore, personal communication) was used to measure maximal oxygen uptake. After a 5 minute warm-up walk and run the treadmill speed was set at 3.5 miles per hour and zero percent grade. The elevation of the treadmill was increased by 2.5 percent each minute until a 5 percent grade was reached. At that time the treatment speed was increased to 6 miles per hour and the grade continued to be increased by 2.5 percent each minute until exhaustion. The majority of the athletes were fatigued within 8 to 10 minutes while the longest effort required 12 minutes. The subjects breathed through a Hans Rudolph Low Dead Space Valve (No. 2700) into a Parkinson--Cowan, CD4, gas meter and a mixing chamber. Gas samples were collected during the last 30 seconds of each minute by drawing them from the mixing chamber into sampling bags by an electric pump. The concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide in each bag were analyzed with Beckman OM-11 and LB-2 analyzers. The analyzers were calibrated at the beginning and at the end of each test using cylin-ders of standard gas, periodically analyzed by the Scholander technique.


Body Composition and Anthropometry
Age, height, weight, and body diameters for the 13 wrestlers who completed all phases of the study are presented in Table 1. Table 2 includes circumference and skinfold data from each testing period while Table 3 presents the body densitometry data. A repeated measures analysis of variance was employed to determine statistical significance. The F ratios ranged from 0.004 for LBW to 1.462 for the suprailiac SF thicknesses and failed to reach the required 0.05 level of significance (3.40).

The small sample size undoubtedly made it difficult to detect possible differences, but the data do indicate that the body composition and anthropometric measurements of the wrestlers in the present study remained very stable throughout the entire wrestling season.

Because 3 of the 13 wrestlers who completed the study did not compete on the varsity, it was felt that they should be removed and the data be examined again. One of the remaining 10 varsity wrestlers chose not to complete the testing and was also eliminated. Finally, it was felt that the heavyweight should also be removed because he carried far more fat than did the other varsity wrestlers. The data for the 8 varsity wrestlers appear in Table 4. Although the 8 varsity wrestlers were somewhat leaner than the entire group (8.4-10.4%) these data also indicate that the body composition and anthropometric measurements of these university wrestlers remained stable throughout the course of the study. The fact that the mean weight varied by no more than 2.4 pounds from September to March was extremely interesting and is probably the result of year round training. This trend was also apparent when we looked at the data of the 6 national qualifiers separately. Their data were almost identical to the data on the 8 varsity wrestlers.

Age, Height, and Body Diameters for the Pre-season Test on 13 Collegiate Wrestlers
Variable Mean S.D.
Age (years) 20.31 1.32
Height 174.48 7.42
Weight (Kg) 78.65 15.77
Biacromial 41.59 2.10
Chest Width 29.54 1.83
Chest Depth 20.37 2.08
Bi-iliac 27.89 2.08
Bitrochanteric 32.49 2.69
Right Elbow 7.19 .41
Left Elbow 7.33 .33
Right Wrist 5.98 .36
Left Wrist 5.92 .38
Right Knee 9.38 .58
Left Knee 9.42 .67
Right Ankle 6.90 .50
Left Ankle 6.92 .54
aAnthropometric measurements and height measured in centimeters.

The mean, peak-season percent fat (8.4%) for the varsity wrestlers in the present study is very similar to that reported in other studies involving mature wrestlers (7,11,14). This is considerably higher than the minimal wrestling weight recom-mended by Tcheng and Tipton (15). Their recommen-dation, however, was based upon anthropometric measurements rather than body densitometry. In view of the findings from these studies, it is felt that the 5% value should be looked upon as the extreme minimal fat weight rather than a desirable or optimal fat level.

Body Densitometry for 13 Collegiate Wrestlers
Variable Pre Mean S.D. Peak Mean S.D. Post Mean S.D.
Weight (Kg) 78.65 15.77 77.10 15.48 78.68 14.68
Neck 39.59 2.35 40.74 2.68 41.25 2.18
Chest 97.35 7.92 98.09 7.33 98.22 6.26
Waist 82.54 10.50 80.31 9.99 83.32 9.10
Bicep 32.71 3.51 32.32 2.94 32.69 2.94
Thigh 57.64 7.01 56.39 6.37 57.68 6.24
Calf 38.19 2.98 37.68 3.30 37.88 2.96
Subscap. 11.96 5.54 10.50 5.37 11.50 5.18
Tricep 7.12 5.17 6.77 3.99 7.23 3.94
Pectoral 7.50 5.40 6.15 4.12 6.73 3.77
Chest 10.35 6.43 8.08 5.32 9.46 4.94
Suprailiac 20.62 11.30 12.27 7.58 17.54 7.14
Abdominal 18.42 9.01 12.73 8.46 16.00 7.55
Thigh 13.15 7.38 10.54 8.42 11.77 7.37
Total SF 89.12 48.55 67.04 42.30 81.73 40.23
aCircumferences reported in centimeters. bSkinfolds reported in Millimeters.

Body Densitometry for 13 Collegiate Wrestlers
Variable Pre Mean S.D. Peak Mean S.D. Post Mean S.D.
Body Density 1.0704 .0130 1.0765 .0130 1.0709 .0130
RVa     1111.0 270.0    
Weightb 173.0 34.7 169.6 34.1 173.1 32.3
LBWc 149.6 22.0 150.6 22.6 150.2 22.1
% Fat 12.8 5.3 10.4 5.4 12.6 5.2
DMWWd 157.5 23.3 158.5 23.8 158.1 23.3
Total SF 89.1 48.6 67.0 42.3 81.7 40.2
aResidual Volume, reported in milliliters (BTPS). bWeight - reported in pounds. cLBW = Lean Body Weight, reported in pounds. dDMWW = Determined Minimal Wrestling Weight, reported in pounds.

Body Densitometry for 8 Varsity Wrestlers
Variable Pre Mean S.D. Peak Mean S.D. Post Mean S.D.
Weighta 159.1 21.7 156.7 22.5 158.9 21.1
Body Density 1.0753 .0042 1.0815 .0040 1.0760 .0050
LBWb 141.8 17.8 143.1 20.0 142.2 19.9
DMWWc 149.3 18.8 150.6 21.0 149.7 20.1
% Fat 10.8 1.7 8.4 1.8 10.5 2.1
Total SF 68.1 14.9 49.6 13.2 62.6 15.1
aWeight reported in pounds. bLBW reported in pounds. cDMWW reported in pounds.

Over half of the wrestlers in the present study made weight by losing several pounds (up to 11
pounds) in the last few days preceding their matches throughout the regular season. In fact, four of the national qualifiers each lost a minimum of 9.5 pounds (one lost 20 pounds) within a few days preceding the national championships. Two of these athletes made it to the finals and advanced to the Division I meet while another received All-American honors. Each of these four individuals wrestled in a weight category that was equal to or below his lean body weight. These weights were determined by densitometry when the subjects were in a hydrated state two weeks preceding the tournament. None of these wrestlers were below 6.2% fat at that time. It is presumed, therefore, that dehydration was utilized to a great extent in making weight. This practice, while recognized by many health authorities as undesirable, is probably used to a great extent in collegiate wrestling and supports the recent findings of Zambraski et al. [18).

An effort was made to measure body density during times when dehydration would be at its minimum. Serious errors in establishing fat content can be made if body densitometry is done when in a dehydrated state. Furthermore, establishing minimal wrestling weight by skinfold measurements can also lead to distorted minimal wrestling weights if done while in a dehydrated state. Both procedures tend to make the athlete appear to be less fat than what is actually the case.
Three regression equations were examined to determine if they would be useful in predicting the body composition of the wrestlers in the present study. The fat values obtained from the equations were correlated with the percent body fat values obtained through body densitometry. The actual values were then plotted against the derived values by the least squares linear regression technique ii an effort to determine which yielded the best prediction of body fat for the 19 wrestlers used in the present study. The correlation and standard error of the estimates were as follows: (1) Forsyth-Sinning-3 (14) r = .87 3.83%; (2) Tcheng-Tipton Skinfold
(15) r = .88 2.08%; and (3) Wickkiser-Kelly (16) r= .90 2.85%.

The Cheng-Tipton Long Form equation for determining minimum wrestling weight (MWW)(15) was also studied. True MWWs (LBW + 5% fat) superb condition of these athletes at the beginning of the study. Significant differences were found in only 7 of 29 variables that were selected to measure muscular strength and endurance, For convenience, only the variables in which significant changes occurred are presented in Table 5. A repeated measures analysis of variance was employed to determine if the mean differences were significant. The.05 level (F = 3.40) of significance was used for this purpose. The Scheffe test was utilized to deter-mine which differences were significant. Only one significant difference in muscular strength and one in muscular endurance were found between the pre and peak-season testing. The endurance variable was significantly increased while the strength variable was significantly decreased. This would indicate that very little change occurred in muscular strength or endurance as a result of the wrestling season. However, when the postseason data were compared with the pre and peakseason data, five out of the seven strength tests conducted at 180 degrees per second were found to be significantly greater in favor of the postseason. For some reason the athletes were stronger when their muscle groups moved at a rapid speed during the postseason testing than they were during the pre or peakseason testing. This may have resulted from an increase in weight training following the season on the part of some wrestlers. It is interesting to note that there were no concomitant changes in the strength tests that were conducted at a slower speed (30 degrees per second).

In general, these findings support the conclusion of two unpublished theses (Hassman, R. P., U. of Oregon, 1961) and (Polo, J.F., Montana State U.,1964). Both found significant strength gains following the season.

Cardiovascular Fitness

Because we were unable to complete the postseason max V02 testing on the two national finalists, their values are not included within the data presented in Table 6. The peak season V02 max values for these two athletes were 71.5 and 62.4 ml/kg/min respectively.
Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to determine if any of the mean differences were significant. The F-ratios were very low (.03-1.25) indicating that the cardiovascular fitness variables studied in this investigation remained very stable throughout its course. This finding was in harmony with the results of the body composition and muscular strength and endurance testing and probably reflects the intense year round training that the majority of these athletes underwent.

The mean Vo2 max value of 61.0 ml/kg/min for the 11 wrestlers appearing in Table 6 is almost identical with that reported by Nagle et al. (60.9) in their study of Olympic contenders (11). Both of these values, however, are considerably higher than the values reported by Gale and Flynn (7) (54.3 ml/kg/ min). This difference may partially be explained by comparing the testing protocol employed in these studies. The testing procedure was very similar in both the present study and in the study by Nagle and his associates, while the protocol used by Gale and Flynn required a much longer time to administer

Muscular Strength and Endurance Data for 13 Collegiate Wrestlers
Variable Pre Mean S.D. Peak Mean S.D. Post Mean S.D. Fc
Endurance 180°/seca
Knee Ext 35.9d 7.9 48.8 11.0 46.5 8.6 4.81
Strength 30°/secb
Shld Ext-El Ext 182.6e 25.7 147.6 19.1 160.7 26.4 4.74
Strength 180°/sec
Shld Flex-El Ext 55.8 17.7 57.8 17.7 76.5f 14.2 4.09
Knee Flex 57.5 17.7 57.8 17.7 84.6f 25.4 4.98
Knee Ext 83.3 13.7 87.6 22.6 117.3f 35.6 4.55
Hip Flex 75.0 21.0 81.3 17.9 112.5f 21.8 8.86
Shld Ext-El Flex 80.3 24.0 82.9 26.9 108.8f 22.0 3.58
aUnits reported in number of repetitions. bUnits reported in foot-pounds of force. cF-ratio of 3.40 significant at p less than .05. dPeak signigicantly greater than pre. ePre significantly greater than peak. fPost signigicantly greater than pre and peak.

which could have resulted in lower values than are normally obtained in tests designed to reach maximal values more abruptly (6,10).
When the peak mean for the 6 national qualifiers (65.7 ml/kg/min) was compared with the rest of the team (61.0) it was interesting to note the substantial difference. Although the sport of wrestling requires many other attributes in addition to aerobic power, the data from the present study would tend to support the contention that cardiovascular conditioning is an extremely important component of wrestling success.
When the wrestlers reported for the peakseason evaluation, the investigators were surprised to observe such a small drop in weight from September (159.1 pounds) to February (156.7 pounds). However, when these weights were compared with the weight classes in which these athletes competed, it became clear that the majority of the wrestlers lost large quantities of weight (up to 11 pounds) during the day preceding each match).

Because the athletes were apparently in a hydrated state for the peakseason treadmill testing, it was felt that this did not provide a clear picture of what their aerobic capacities were when they stepped on the mat. With this in mind, four of the national qualifiers were asked to simulate a wrestling match by weighing-in, in the morning,and running to exhaustion on the treadmill, five hours later. This was done because in collegiate wrestling it is common practice for athletes to have five hours between weigh-in and competition. The results of this experiment appear in Table 7. Each of the subjects completed this phase of the study within two weeks of the national competition. While it is recognized that five hours of rehydration is not long enough for a wrestler's body to return to the normal rehydrated state, the wrestlers in the present study were able to lose from 3.7 to 9.5% of their body weight without causing a significant change in aerobic power. This data would tend to support the findings of several related studies (4,8,13).


The peakseason percent body fat (8.36%) for the wrestlers in the present study is very similar to that reported in other studies involving mature wrestlers. It would appear that this may be an optimal fat level for most mature wrestlers and that the 5% level should be looked upon as the extreme minimal fat weight rather than a desirable or optimum level.

A larger number of the wrestlers in the present study made weight by losing up to 11 pounds in a few days preceding each of their matches. While this may be an undesirable practice, it is probably widespread throughout collegiate wrestling. Rapid weight loss through dehydration appears to be the preferred method of weight reduction among wrestlers and appears to be a result of the rules governing the sport.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. This study was partially supported by a St. Cloud State University Faculty Research Grant. The authors wish to express their appreciation to Mr. Randal Kolb for his valuable assistance with the statistical analysis of the data.

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