Weight Cycling: Prevalence, Strategies, and Effects on Combat Athletes

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Abstract

COMBAT SPORTS ARE CATEGORIZED BY WEIGHT CLASSES TO ESTABLISH EQUITY IN COMPETITION AND REDUCE POTENTIAL INJURY RISK. TO GAIN A PERCEIVED MENTAL AND PHYSICAL ADVANTAGE OVER THEIR OPPONENT, COMBAT ATHLETES OFTEN ENGAGE IN WEIGHT CYCLING TO COMPETE IN THE LOWEST WEIGHT CLASS POSSIBLE. THE PREVALENCE OF THIS PRACTICE HAS BEEN WELL ESTABLISHED. DEPENDING ON DURATION OF TIME BETWEEN WEIGH-IN AND COMPETITION, WEIGHT CYCLING STRATEGIES CAN DIFFER. CURRENT RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT RAPID WEIGHT LOSS CAN HAVE A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON PHYSICAL AND MENTAL PERFORMANCE, ALTHOUGH THIS CAN BE POTENTIALLY NEGATED WHEN GIVEN SUFFICIENT TIME TO REGAIN WEIGHT.

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