Examining the Validity, Reliability and Practicality of Methods to Monitor the Hydration Status of Combat Sport Athletes: A Review of the Literature

Research Report


The Hydration Status of Combat Sport Athletes


Dr Carly Brade, Stuart Chesher, Dr Kagan Ducker, Assoc. Prof. Kevin Netto, Professor Marian Tye


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‘Weight-cutting’, the rapid loss of body mass by means of severe caloric and/or fluid restriction, in combination with thermal stress is a common practice among combat sports athletes attempting to qualify for a lower weight class than their usual training weight. By doing this, they gain a theoretical advantage by being one of the heaviest athletes in their category. Unfortunately, the outcome of this practise can leave the athlete severely dehydrated and energy depleted, which has been shown to have negative consequences to the athlete’s physiological and psychological well-being. There are documented plans for athletes to safely weight cut and, at the professional and elite level, these plans are typically implemented under the guidance of appropriate medical, sports science and sports dietetics staff. Amateur athletes are however at risk, as they commonly follow these plans without the appropriate support. As such, weight-cutting is a practice that should be monitored closely (particularly hydration levels) to ensure the safety and well-being of athletes.

The aim of this literature review is to examine the validity, reliability and practicality of methods to monitor dehydration (in particular severe dehydration) in combat sports athletes while they are in the weight-cutting phase before weigh-in and competition.

How to cite:

Chesher, S., Ducker, K., Brade, C., Netto, K., and Tye, M. Examining the validity, reliability and practicality of methods to monitor the hydration status of combat sport athletes: A review of the literature. A report for the Combat Sports Commission of Western Australia. Curtin University Perth 2018


This study was carried out in partnership with Curtin University’s School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science for the Combat Sport Commission.