Why Do Wrestlers Spit In A Bottle?

Why do wrestlers chew gum and spit?

Many people often ask the question: Why do wrestlers spit in a bottle? This is a completely reasonable question to ask seeing as how it is a  very strange thing to do. Though it does seem strange, you would assume that there is a reason that wrestlers chew gum and spit into a bottle.

The reason wrestlers chew gum and spit in a bottle is that they are trying to cut weight. If a wrestler is above their weight limit for a competition they might try and literally spit some weight out. In fact, spitting in a cup is just one way that wrestlers try and cut weight for competition. 

Though I am not recommending that someone should cut weight for wrestling, it is certainly something that does happen. That said, there are dangers and health risks that can be associated with cutting weight for wrestling.

Because of that, this article is for informational purposes only. I am not recommending that you spit in a bottle or any other cutting methods to lose weight for wrestling. That said, I bet you are wondering how much someone could lose from spitting in a bottle anyway.

How Much Weight Can You Cut From Spitting Into A Bottle For Wresting?

As I said, I do not recommend that you do this but I have seen people lose up to 1 lb in a day by simply spitting into a cup. At the end of the day, an ounce is an ounce and a pound is a pound. So if you fill a 16 oz bottle up with spit then it is going to weigh about 16 oz.

Most wrestlers achieve this by avoiding drinking water and then chewing gum and spitting into a bottle. I know this sounds crazy but it is something that many wrestlers do. Personally, I think this is a little bit of overkill if you ask me. I guess I could understand if they are over their weight by a few ounces but it seems like a bit much to me.

Not only are drastic weight cuts potentially harmful but they can also negatively impact your performance. That said, people obviously still do it, so for them, I guess it is worth the risk. The truth is that you have to be pretty good at doing a weight cut for it to be worth the effort. For many people, however, they are probably just better off wrestling at their natural weight.

Of course, I understand that people are competing at different levels. I’m still not saying it is a good idea but It does not surprise me when an Olympic wrestler will do anything they can do to get an edge on their opponents. That said if you don’t know what you’re doing cutting weight can actually just make things worse for you.

What Other Ways Do Wrestlers Cut Weight Besides Spitting In A Bottle?

The main way ( again not recommended ) that wrestlers cut weight is by manipulating their water weight. After all, our bodies are made up of mostly water. So if you can find ways to get rid of the water from your body you can drop some serious weight.

One of the first things people will do is cut their carbohydrates. Carbs can be stored as muscle glycogen within your body. When your body stores a carb in your muscles it will bind itself to water molecules. Your body naturally stores a good amount of water in your muscles.

If you cut carbs in your diet your body will start to burn muscle glycogen as fuel during a workout. When this happens your body will drop the water stored in your muscles as well. This is why so many people can lose 10 plus pounds when they start a keto or low-carb diet.

Wrestlers will also drop water weight by hyperhydrating for a certain amount of time and then cutting water down to a very small amount when getting close to competition. By drinking a bunch of water your body will get be more willing to excrete more water because there is less fear of being without supply.

So the trick wrestlers use is to get their bodies used to excreting a bunch of water and then suddenly cut their water supply down. Your body continues to excrete water but you are no longer consuming very much yourself. In doing so you are basically dehydrating yourself by dropping a bunch of water weight.

As you can probably assume this can be very dangerous, but these are the main ways that wrestlers and other fighters can drop large amounts of weight before a bout or fight.

Spitting and Sweating

If wrestlers still have not lost enough weight from these methods many of them will take it a bit further. This is typically when you see wrestlers spitting into bottles or going on a jog with a sweatsuit on. They are simply trying to drop water from their bodies in one way or another.

Wrestlers might also jump into a sauna or take hot Epsom salt baths to drop weight as well. In addition, they will manipulate their sodium levels and do whatever else they can think of to drop water weight.

Dangers Of Cutting Weight For Wrestling

Amongst many other things, cutting weight can result in dehydration, organ damage, heatstroke, and much more. It does not take a rocket scientist to tell you that dehydrating your body is not good for you. That said, many people still do to this day at all levels of the sport.

Extreme cases of weight cuts have even lead to death. With that in mind, this is an issue that at the very least should be taken seriously. My recommendation is that you avoid doing anything drastic to make a weight cut. There are advantages to being in the right weight class but there is a better way.

The first thing I would recommend is to get your bodyweight down in a healthy way. When you have to wrestle in a certain weight division it will not be to your advantage to be holding on to an extra 30 lbs of body fat.

Though I do not recommend doing dangerous weight cutting methods, there is nothing wrong with trying to lose some weight the natural way. That is through a healthy diet and exercise plan. But as far as trying to drop weight by dehydrating, jogging in a sweatsuit, spitting in a bottle, or any other drastic measure, you are taking a risk to your health.

In Summary

The reason wrestlers spit in a bottle and do other drastic weight cutting methods is to quickly lose weight for a weigh-in. If a wrestler needs to drop  .5-1lb the day of or before a weigh-in they might look to drastic measures like spitting in a bottle. That said, doing drastic weight cuts can be very dangerous, and often times negatively hurt your performance.


Joshua Paul

Joshua Paul is a BJJ purple belt who lives in Austin, Texas. Joshua loves all forms of grappling and when he is off the mats he is likely spending time with his wife and son.

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