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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…

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…

State Series Checklist

April 30, 2014


Did you do everything you could to prepare for this night?

Did you do everything you could to prepare for this night?

The magical period where dreams are either realized…or crushed. In order to help you do all you can to be prepared, here is a small checklist highlighting a few things I make sure my athletes’ stay on top of as the time approaches.


Is your conditioning in order? Have you been pushing yourself in practice and not holding back? While I believe the absolute best way to get in shape for wrestling is to wrestle, you must also make sure you are doing extra work on your own as well to continue developing your work capacity. While it’s very important to have high intensity days, it’s equally important to have some lower, moderate intensity conditioning workouts. Things like light drilling, jump roping, moderate bike riding, etc. will go a long way in increasing your ability to recover during a match and recover on days when you have multiple matches.

One thing I like to do with my wrestlers is attach a rope to the prowler sledand do a push pull drill in the tabata protocol form. 20 seconds they pull and/or push with 10 seconds rest. Repeat 8 times for a total of four minutes straight. This gives me a great gauge on their pulling strength/endurance and leg drive strength/endurance, two very important parts of making it to the top of the podium.


When you know that you have done EVERYTHING possible to be the best version you can be when competition time comes, it’s easy to be confident. As State draws closer, every day matters. If you’re not preparing the way you should be now, you won’t wrestle the way you should when the time comes. Every wrestler I have worked with that has won a state title has had laser focus the last month or so leading up to the tournament. If it isn’t constantly on your mind, if you’re missing workouts, or taking shortcuts in practice you will not make it to the top of the podium.


Are you stretching and foam rolling enough? If you’ve had a nagging injury have you had it looked at, or are you just “toughing it out”? It’s hard to compete at high levels when you’re not 100%, especially when a lot of small injuries are preventable like lower back stiffness (tight hips, hamstrings, or weak trunk) and sore shoulders (too much internal rotation). Make sure you are stretching and taking care of your body.


This is a big part. If you’re tired from your weight cut and dogging it in practice because of that, just know that:

Every day you should ask yourself who's working harder and making better choices; You, or your opponent?

Every day you should ask yourself who’s working harder and making better choices; You, or your opponent?

Whether it is skipping practices, cheating on your diet, staying up late and not getting enough rest, or not doing extra conditioning because you want to hang out with your friends, just remember that the one who is the most disciplined is probably the one who will get their hand raised when it counts.


This is an incredibly important aspect. If your diet is clean, not only will you feel and perform better, but you will also make weight cutting much easier on yourself. For more info on weight cutting, check out this post.


Make sure you sleep and recover! It is great to “Embrace the Grind” you must also remember that working too hard and not resting will have a negative effect on you. The goal is to work very hard (a period in which you will be fatigued) but then back off a bit so you can peak for state! You want to be fresh, not burnt out for your big tournament.


Notice the RECOVERY portion

Make it count

And finally, Make it count. You put all this work into achieving a goal that the worst thing you could do is wrestle “not to lose” instead of wrestling to win!! Go out there and put it all on the line. Good luck!!