Before the first match of the year, wrestlers must be certified for the weight class at which they will compete all season. Wrestler weight class certification can be performed by various medical professionals, including physical therapists, athletic trainers, doctors, and nurses.
The first step in wrestling weight class certification is the hydration assessment, which tests the athlete’s urine for proper hydration. This pass/fail test uses a color chart to ensure the athlete’s specific gravity is no greater than 1.025.
If the athlete passes this test, he or she can then be weighed on a certified scale while wearing a wrestling singlet to establish his or her alpha weight. Next, skinfold measurements are taken on the right side of the body at the triceps and subscapular regions for both men and women—men are also measured at the abdominals—to calculate the athlete’s body fat percentage.
The minimum weight class at which a wrestler may compete is then determined using the wrestler’s predicted body weight at minimum body fat percentage, which is 7% for men and 12% for women, with an allowed 2% variance. However, alpha weight is used to determine weight class for wrestlers with a body fat percentage at or below the minimum. Athletes whose projected weight is between classes will be certified at the higher weight class.