Due to the weight class limitations, many wrestlers will try to lose weight with the hopes of gaining an advantage by competing at a lighter weight class. Rapidly losing large amounts of weight is not only detrimental to optimal performance, it can be very dangerous. In recent years, strict regulations and preseason certifications have been required at the high school and college levels. These certifications use hydration and body fat testing to determine the lowest weight at which an individual wrestler can safely compete. Wrestlers may only lose 1.5% of their body weight each week to get to this lowest wrestling weight. Coaches are responsible for recording and tracking weight loss so regulations are followed properly.
Youth wrestling has not yet adopted these regulations or certifications. Youth wrestlers have more weight classes that are closer together. Youth wrestlers should be encouraged to wrestle at their natural weight. Parents should be wary of coaches requiring a young wrestler to lose large amounts of weight. All wrestlers should eat right and train hard so they are always at their optimal performing weight. A good indicator is that a high school or college wrestler should be no more than one practice away from making their weight class. For example, if a wrestler normally sweats off 2 pounds in a practice, he or she should never be more than 2 pounds over his/her competition weight.