It was J. Robinson who said that it doesn’t matter how good you are, how strong you are, how powerful you are… if you get tired in a match, you’ll never wrestle as well as you could or should!
In order to become a complete wrestling ‘force’ you need to have strength, power, endurance, flexibility and static strength.
Incorporate the 6 training methods below into your program, and you will have all the strength, power, speed and endurance you’ll ever need to become as good as your work ethic permits.
1. Wrestling Practice: This one is obvious. In order to become a state, national, olympic champion, you need to practice constantly. You should plan on practicing more than your opponents. Your practices should include live wrestling, drills, shadow wrestling, and hand-to-hand fighting. Your goal should be to work harder than anyone else on your team. Pay to price now and reap the benefits later. Don’t lay-off during the off-season. Use it to your advantage!
2. Precise Strength Training: I’ve seen many so-called experts who insist that in order to build more power and speed in a wrestler, they must strength train fast. This is not always the case! The faster you throw weights around, the more prone you are to injury. I don’t mean injuries in the muscle necessarily, but injuries to your joints. If you throw the weights around, instead of ‘working muscle’ you are leaving your low-back, shoulders and wrists open for injury. Show me a wrestler who has these injuries, and I’ll show you a wrestler who is ineffective against tough opponents. Your strength training should minimize momentum. You should always lower the weight twice as slowly as you raise it. This will incorporate more muscle fibers, and lead to overall strength gains that will carry over to the mat. You may want to incorporate olympic lifts into your routine for variety… just make sure you listen to your body and switch them up frequently.
3. Plyometrics: Plyometrics are basically body weight movements done with speed. Exercises such as box jumps, side-to-side jumps, explosive pushups are good examples. I like to have wrestlers do these prior to multi-joint/compound exercises (such as cleans, presses, and squats). One word of caution… plyometrics are only to be used sparingly. They can be counter-productive if done too often, or on an unconditioned body. I have wrestlers do these during pre-season phases.
4. Stationary Bike: Do you use the stationary bike when conditioning for wrestling? It is a popular choice amongst wrestlers because it can be done in any weather. It should be used correctly however. I like the stationary bike because it keeps the hamstrings and soleus muscles (the soleus is one of the two posterior calf muscles – it can only be activated when the knee is bent) under constant tension. The key is to keep a higher tension on the bike pedals in order to force you to drive your feet into the pedals. This will help incorporate the same muscle fibers you need while wrestling from a standing position.
5. Wrestling-Specific Running: All too often we see wrestlers jogging endless miles in order to increase their level of conditioning. Then we notice that these same wrestlers are getting ‘gassed’ before the second period is finished. Jogging endless miles isn’t specific to the needs of a wrestler. Remember, wrestling strength training should be totally different from the needs in a match. Wrestling conditioning, however, should mimick the needs of a match.
Wrestling-Specific Running should include 2 essentials – Uphill running, and jogging interspersed with wind sprints.
Uphill running is the fastest way to get your body into complete aerobic and anaerobic condition for the mat!
Find a steep hill… then run up it as fast as possible. Walk down, while allowing your heart rate to come down. Then repeat! This should be done on one of 3 weekly wrestling-specific running workouts.
On another day, you will want to jog, but include 100 meter sprints while jogging. This will help with those matches that go for all three periods, with all-out efforts involved.
** See our Wrestling-specific running programs for a more detailed training! **
6. Jumping Rope: This is an old favorite of many wrestlers. It is a great conditioning exercise. I like to have wrestlers work the jump rope following strength training. It can be done instead of running, when the weather is not cooperating, as well as when your ankles and knees are sore. Use variety in your jump roping.
Incorporating these 6 training methods will quickly turn your body into a wrestling machine!!
You’ll soon realize that half the battle to becoming a State, National, Olympic champion is Deciding that is the GOAL of your training. The other half is actually putting in the work, making the sacrifices and preparing your body and mind for as many obstacles and roadblocks you may need to overcome. So in the end, it’s not LUCK or a SURPRISE….. You EXPECTED to WIN that finals match 😉
“WHEN IS THE PERFECT TIME TO START TRAINING?”
There will always be a debate on when to start. The answer will always be determined with your decision. If/When a wrestler decides he is going to WIN THE TITLE (or multiple titles), training will start THAT DAY.
Realistically, the majority of wrestlers WAIT until the season starts before they establish goals/targets, etc.. which often leads to a very disappointing season…. and excuses 😉
My experience tells me, only the STATE CHAMPIONS start their preparation well before the first day of practice.
Knowing that, if you want to be better than ALL THE REST, you’ll have to start working out during the OFF SEASON.
All year round, you should mix in some wrestling, drilling, live goes, even actual competition. If you’re serious, you would understand that competition should be part of your plan. The bottom line, it would be very difficult for you, regardless of your skill and or experience to win a state title simply by strength training alone. You will need to practice hard, train like a madman, condition like no-other, drill like crazy, eat clean foods, stay hydrated and compete.
Wrestling workouts during the off-season could be practiced as little as once per week (unless your training for an off-season tournament), while training to be stronger, more explosive and fearless NEEDS to be done 2-3x per week. By combining both consistently throughout the spring, summer, fall, you will be AMAZED at how much better shape you’ll be in come NOVEMBER.
BUT MOST STATE – NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS aren’t until March?
There is a method behind training year round… One that includes training for strength, improving speed, reducing body fat (safely), peak conditioning even taking a few breaks and still have fun… Not many know this formula.
Coaching usually always plays a major role in how well you’ll perform in March.
Now it’s your turn to decide?
ATTEND THIS WEEKEND’S OLYMPIC TRAINING CAMP or NOT ? …….. Just kidding (kinda 😉
Additional Resources: Steve Preston- Training for Wrestling Performance