What’s the best wrestling workout?
The short answer? There isn’t one. A lot of factors come into play when designing a wrestling training program. Things like season, weight, age, training age, strengths, weaknesses, practice schedules, and more come into play. However, there are a few important guidelines to follow when building your wrestling workout. Here are some of the best rules to follow.
Train for your sport
This is a pretty obvious one, yet is the most overlooked I see in other training programs. Wrestling is a very different sport compared to others. The muscles used and conditioning needs of wrestling are unique and cannot be ignored.
Traditional sports like football and basketball emphasize speed, agility, and explosive power to create separation. Now, this isn’t to say wrestling doesn’t require those attributes, but the nature of the sport is different. Wrestlers don’t create separation, they create contact.
The ability to not be moved (core muscles), the ability to grab and not let go (pulling/grip muscles), to be be fast and powerful on standups and shots (explosive power), and the conditioning to withstand tremendous continuous output without long breaks in between (many energy systems) all play a part in the differences of wrestling needs vs. other sport needs.
Some people train to look good. We train to kick your ass.
Another thing I see often in younger wrestlers is bodybuilding style workouts. The large majority of bodybuilders are weak relative to their muscle size. We don’t want big, weak muscles, we want dense, strong muscles. Training like an wrestler instead of a bodybuilder will help this immensely.
No matter the training program you choose, it won’t work if you don’t. The best in the world show up day in, day out, week after week, and year upon year. They know that small gains every day are better than occasional big gains with periods of regression.
The most important thing when it comes to any training- whether strength and conditioning or wrestling practice- is being consistent. Good things happen when you show up every day.
Focus on the important stuff
As we discussed earlier, making sure to focus on important things for wrestling is key. This doesn’t mean you should never bench press, but it does mean to focus on muscles and movements that are unique to wrestling.
Grip, Posterior Chain, Neck, Core/Trunk, and pulling muscles are all emphasized a bit more in a great wrestling workout. Adding exercises in your training program to build those will go a long way in making you a stronger wrestler.
Be mindful of your seasons
In-season, pre-season, and off-season all play important parts in planning your training program. You should peak for big tournaments and make sure you aren’t overtrained going into them.
Wrestling practice happens a lot more in-season than off-season, so you should plan your strength and conditioning accordingly. These are all factors to consider when building your wrestling strength and conditioning program. It can of course, be confusing at times. If you would like a custom program built for your needs, StrongerWrestler can help you reach your goals.
Rest, Nutrition, Hydration
This is incredibly important too. No matter your training program, if you don’t allow your body to recover and rebuild, you won’t get all of the benefits from your hard work.
Sleeping 7 hours or more helps increase testosterone and growth hormone, it allows your body to repair, and also helps improve performance in practice or training the next day. If you aren’t sleeping enough, you need to be. Put the phone away, turn the tv off, and sleep 7 hours or more.
Nutrition is an incredibly important piece to improving your wrestling strength and athleticism as well. Since wrestling is a weight dependent sport, increased body fat will significantly hurt your competition chances. Eating the right types of food, rich in protein, good carbohydrates and fats, and minimizing sugar and fried foods will go a long way in your competition goals.
Lastly, hydration is incredibly important both for your recovery and performance. A good rule of thumb for athletes is either drink at least half an ounce per pound of bodyweight, or even better, drink water until your urine is clear.
In a sport known for it’s non stop work ethic and never say die attitude, overtraining is very prevalent in the wrestling community. Allowing your body to recover from hard training sessions, and knowing when to take a day off will go a long way in allowing you to consistently train and perform your best.
Furthermore, maintaining your flexibility and mobility in your body will help you minimize injury risk and allow you to continue training and competing at a high level.
The best conditioning for wrestling is wrestling. However, there are tricks and specific protocols to utilize to gain a conditioning edge. Sprints, Sled dragging and pushing, and odd implement training can be used to mimic a wrestling match in terms of energy systems used.
For more information about conditioning, check out this simple, but hard, protocol to improve your conditioning.
Now go train
Even though the perfect wrestling workout doesn’t exist, there are guiding principles in building one. If you follow these principles, you’ll see your strength, power, and conditioning increase and you’ll be dominating opponents in no time.
If you’d like help in building your own wrestling workout, contact us here.