It’s finally wrestling season! I have been slacking on this website, and apologize for that. Time to get back on track and churn out some good content to make everyone out there a Stronger Wrestler! I’ve had a few questions from parents and athletes regarding in-season training and management so we’ll to a brief Q&A today.
This video gets me pumped!
Question: How should I manage my strength and conditioning training this season?
Answer: This is a good question. One thing I stress on all my athletes is that in the OFF-Season, our focus should be a little more on improving our strength, power, agility, mobility, etc, with wrestling technique still being worked on, but during the season, those priorities flip-flop. Now is the time to clean up your technique, timing, and focus on WRESTLING. If you wasted your off-season being lazy and think that now is the time to get in shape or get stronger, then you’re in a world of hurt.
That being said, we certainly shouldn’t discontinue strength and conditioning work totally. Why work so hard during the off-season just to throw it all away during the season? The goal during the season is to slightly increase or maintain strength. Again, now is not the time to put everything into your strength and power work. Wrestling is the most important thing now. I generally like see wrestlers lift 1-2x/week depending on the volume of work they have that week. For example, 5 practices (M-F) and a 2 day tournament on the weekend would dictate only training one time that week. Whereas 5 practices (M-F) and an open weekend would make 2 or possibly 3 training sessions possible during the week.
It is very important to listen to your body and know when you are being lazy or over training. Everyone has a specific work capacity, and some wrestlers can handle a larger volume of work (practices, conditioning, lifting, matches, etc) than others. If you are feeling lethargic, beat up, or like you’re not performing how you normally do then it may be time to back off a bit and not do your training session that day. Always listen to your body.
The bottom line is…while your volume of weight lifting will change, you should not stop! Check out the chart below to see what will happen to your strength if you stop altogether. Don’t be that guy. For more information on In-Season Training, click HERE.
Question: How should I manage my weight?
Answer: Be disciplined!! Look, I get it. Cutting weight sucks, and that snickers bar your classmate is eating looks fantastic. But…you know what doesn’t look good? NOT standing on top of the podium. Know that eating poorly when you don’t have to make weight for a week or so just means that it will be that much harder when you have to. Cutting weight the wrong way can lead to organ damage, decreased conditioning levels and performance, and a decrease in mental acuity leading to a higher possibility of you making mistakes during your match. Cutting weight IS part of the game, but do all you can to make it easier on you by eating the right things and staying disciplined. Check out some weight cutting tips HERE.
Question: How do I peak for big competitions/Tournaments?
Answer: This is a big one. If you win a match at a dual meet great. Win a small tournament, good job. But none of that matters if you don’t perform during the state series. How can you be at your absolute best when it comes around? Let me list out a few things.
1. Train hard, and train often. The best of the best train tirelessly.
The obvious goals were there – State Champion, NCAA Champion, Olympic Champion. To get there I had to set an everday goal which was to push myself to exhaustion or, in other words, to work so hard in practice that someone would have to carry me off the mat.” -Dan Gable
2. Control your weight. It never fails that every season there are a few athletes who are considered favorites to win or place at the state tournament. However, they do not control their weight and by the time January and February rolls around, their main concern is simply making weight, not becoming a better wrestler. Re-read that sentence. While that person does all he can just to make weight, his opponents are focusing on becoming better wrestlers. Who do you think will win?
3. Don’t be soft. Wrestling is a combat sport. It is not tennis or golf. You will feel beat up, it’s a grind, and it will be hard. Deal with it, and press on.
4. Continue to strength train. As we touched on earlier, you WILL lose strength over time if you don’t keep lifting. It does not have to be as much as you did in the off-season, but you must maintain the strength you developed.
So, you did all of that. You worked hard, you feel strong and mentally tough. What now? If you look at the graph below, we must allow for something called super compensation. While there are no hard and fast rules for the “optimal time” of recovery and peaking, here are a few tips:
1. Do back off on the training volume, but NOT the intensity (1). “Training volume can be markedly reduced without a negative impact on athletes’ performance” (1).High intensity is crucial in competition. Just don’t run yourself ragged.
2. Don’t have a killer practice a few days out from a big competition.
3. Do give your body time to recover. Use nutrition, sleep, water, massage, and any other means possible to recover.
4. Again, Do listen to your body. According to Tudor Bompa, “You can also identify peaking by interpreting subjective data, namely the athlete’s feelings. These include such things as being alert and optimistic,having a good appetite, getting deep and resting sleep, high willingness in training and competitions, and ease in everything the athlete does” (2). A lethargic, tired, un-explosive athlete is one who needs to recover.
StrongerWrestler.Com wishes all of you wrestlers out there an amazing season! Work hard and dominate! If you have any questions, please comment below, or click HERE.