Dr. Ralph Cornwell

Dr. Ralph Cornwell

Concussions have been an incredibly prevalent and controversial topic over the past few years. The NFL recently settled a landmark lawsuit, and many other sports, both male and female, are seeing large instances of brain trauma due to concussions. With athletes becoming bigger, stronger, and more physical every year, it seems this problem will only get worse. Thankfully, Dr. Ralph Cornwell is working on changing that.

Recently I had the pleasure to interview a cutting edge neck researcher in Dr. Ralph Cornwell. Dr. Cornwell has worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at numerous programs including Westpoint and the Washington Redskins. Since that time, he is now currently traveling the world educating Professional, Collegiate, and High School Sports programs on the benefits and protocol he has set up for training the neck. He is as passionate as he is knowledgeable on neck strengthening, and I learned a great deal from him. Check out his research dissertation here.


I had initially planned on making it a simple interview similar to what you’ve seen previously in the interview series. However, due to his passion in his field, and our shared mutual interest in improving and strengthening the human body, we tended to veer off-topic. I’d like to post some things that I learned from that I believe will help you in your wrestling as well as concussion prevention.


Concussions may not be 100% preventable, but we can get close.

Continue Reading…

One of the searches I see the most to my website is something along the lines of “how to get stronger for high school wrestling” or “in-season high school wrestling strength training”. Y’all asked, so I’m gonna answer. In fact, if you stay with me through the whole article I’ll give you a free program I use with my wrestling athletes.

Before we get started, here are some of the common themes I see in the successful high school wrestler when it comes to Strength and Conditioning:

Consistency and discipline

If you want to become stronger for next season, you must be disciplined, and you have to want it! Training will require a lot of consistent hard work, as no one becomes strong by training “every once in a while”. If you’re prepared for that, then you can expect great gains. Just like practicing once a month won’t do anything for your wrestling skills, inconsistency will rob you of any results in the weight room. The mark of a true champion is someone who does things that others aren’t willing to do.


Embrace the Grind

Embrace the Grind

Wrestling Specificity

It’s important that you train the way a WRESTLER trains. Football players, hockey players, and wrestlers do not train the same way. You need to realize that.

A wrestlers strength training and conditioning program should include a steady diet of Squats (Back/Front/Zercher), Deadlifts, Pullups, Rows, Direct Grip Training, Neck Exercises, Shoulder Presses, Sprints, Broad Jumps, Anterior AND Rotational trunk work, and lots of flexibility and mobility drills.

While that is by no means an exhaustive list, it’s a great start and significantly better than the standard “Squat, Bench, Clean” list you see in most high school programs. Once you start training specific movements and exercises that mimic wrestling, you will see your strength on the mat skyrocket.

Willingness to be “uncomfortable”

It’s imperative that you are willing to be uncomfortable. Do the things you’re bad at because it will only make you better.

Do you suck at pullups? Do more pullups.

Is your deadlift weak? Deadlift and strengthen your trunk.

Is your grip strength embarrassing? Do more grip work.

Many people shy away from things they’re bad at. Not you though, you’re a champion; and champions embrace being uncomfortable.

Goal setting and goal getting

If you don’t set goals and track your progress you will not reach your highest potential. That is a fact proven over and over again. In fact, in the book “The One Thing”, I recently read research that “individuals with written goals were 39.5% more likely to succeed.” Furthermore, “those who wrote their goals down AND sent progress reports to friends were 76.7% more likely to achieve them”.

The point is this: Not only should you write out your training goals (the sheet has space for that), but you should also have progress reports too. Thankfully, in weightlifting progress reports are fairly easy. If your weights are going up, you’re well on your way to success.


Attack mode

Every great wrestler I’ve ever worked with had what I call an “Attack mentality”. Once they got into the weight room, they were ready to attack their session-that was the only thing on their mind.

Too often people at the gym are busy taking selfies, checking facebook, and talking on the phone instead of training! If that sounds like you, then either stop it or get out of the gym. You’re wasting your time.

He's right

He’s right


Without further adieu, here is the program as promised. Simply enter your email below and you’ll be immediately taken to the page with a free downloadable wrestling pre-season program. For anyone who has questions about various exercises, please email me at info@strongerwrestler.com.

Remember, those who train hard now are the ones who stand on top of podiums in February and March.





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Editors Note:

*While this isn’t specifically wrestling related, it is an important read. As wrestling grows, parents are more and more inclined to keep their child wrestling year round. While I only have anecdotal evidence to back it up, most of the best wrestlers I have worked with played multiple sports at some time in their life. Those who only wrestled often times were less fluid in their movements, and it became a disadvantage later in their careers. The Eastern European Wrestlers are notorious for taking time off to play soccer, handball, and other sports not related to wrestling. Just a thought…

Tiger Woods did it

So your kid should too…right? Here’s the blueprint:

Step 1: Pick and start one sport at the age of two.

Step 2: Only play and practice that sport.

Step 3: Win amateur championships.

Step 4: Get a college scholarship.

Step 5: Turn pro and make a billion (with a B) dollars.

Little Tiger

Little Tiger

Just stop

I’m not advocating this. In fact, I think it’s ludicrous. As a society I fear we’ve gone to the extreme on both spectrums. Continue Reading…

Zercher Squats

September 2, 2014 — Leave a comment

Zercher Squats

You don’t know squat..

If you’re a wrestler, you should consider adding Zercher Squats to your programming. Here are some reasons:

-Increased Isometric Strength at a position that translates well to wrestling

-Increased Lower Body Strength

Continue Reading…

You need to understand…

About 3 years ago I had a new athlete start come to my gym. He was already a well established wrestler who had had a lot of success but he was moving up a weight class and needed to get even stronger for the next season. One of the first few weeks he was there, he walked in wearing a shirt that said “Everyday is training day”. I really liked the shirt and wondered if he would live up to the words.

Every. Damn. Day.

Every. Damn. Day.

Continue Reading…