Longitudinal changes in body composition and fitness profiles of elite male Japanese wrestlers

Introduction: Wrestling is a well-known combat sport that requires its practitioners to have enhanced physical fitness to attain competitive success. Examining how elite wrestlers develop their physical fitness over their careers would be beneficial to optimizing training programs and scouting new talent. However, no longitudinal study has followed up on the fitness profiles of successful wrestlers. The aim of this study was to investigate longitudinal changes in the fitness profiles of elite male Japanese wrestlers in their 20s, the period around which competitiveness reaches its peak. Methods: We longitudinally analyzed a series of measurements of members of the Japanese national wrestling team. These measurements have been collected regularly for the past several years. Body composition, including percent body fat and lean body mass, was assessed by bioimpedance analysis. Anaerobic power and strength assessment included 3 × 30 s sit-ups; 2 × 6 m rope climbing; back strength; and 1-repetition maximum (1-RM) for bench press, high clean, and squat. Endurance assessment included 6 × 300 m intermittent running (300 m IR), 1500 m running, and 12 min running. The data of each wrestler were assigned to 3 periods by age when the tests were conducted (20–22 y, 23–24 y, >25 y). Results: Among the anaerobic power and strength measurements, number of sit-ups, back strength, and high clean 1-RM significantly improved by 19%, 7%, and 25%, respectively, over the observed period (P < 0.05). However, no significant improvements were detected in body composition. As for the endurance tests, although the total time for the 300 m IR test improved significantly over the observed period (5% decrease, P < 0.05), the results for the 1500 m and 12 min running tests did not. Discussion: Results of the longitudinal analysis indicate that the elite male Japanese wrestlers had improved their performance in exercises related to anaerobic power and strength relative to when they were 20–22 years old. This finding suggests that wrestlers who will eventually become successful do not achieve their maximal anaerobic performances in their early 20s and instead have some trainability and further development potential. Furthermore, the results of the three endurance measures demonstrated that the wrestlers had improved their performance in only the 300 m IR test. This indicates that elite wrestlers specifically improve their endurance as it relates to high-intensity exercise. Such a specific development might be attributable to the specific characteristics of a wrestling match, such as its relatively short duration and high-intensity muscular output.
© Copyright 2014 19th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Amsterdam, 2. -5. July 2014. Published by VU University Amsterdam. All rights reserved.

Subjects: wrestling Japan test physique longitudinal study physical conditioning ability
Notations: biological and medical sciences combat sports
Published in: 19th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Amsterdam, 2. -5. July 2014
Editors: A. De Haan, C. J. De Ruiter, E. Tsolakidis
Published: Amsterdam VU University Amsterdam 2014
Pages: 727
Document types: congress proceedings
Language: English
Level: advanced