For those of you who remember the movie ” Remember the Titans”, one of the words Denzel Washington’s character had his athletes screaming was “Mobile”. The definition of mobility is:
- The ability to move or be moved freely and easily.
Being mobile (and flexible) is a crucial step in the journey to the top of the podium. Wrestlers as a whole generally have tight and immobile hips and shoulders, two incredibly important joints involved in the sport of wrestling. Since it is a constant struggle for me to make sure my athletes are stretching, foam rolling, and performing mobility drills, I am sure that it is for all of you out there. While doing those is rarely fun, the reality is we NEED to do it. Being mobile and flexible will do a variety things to raise your game. Here are a few of them:
Strength, Speed, and Power
One study has suggested just a simple Dynamic Stretching Warm-Up “produced longer-term or sustained power, strength, muscular endurance, anaerobic capacity, and agility performance enhancements” (1). You can imagine that if just four weeks of dynamic stretching contributes to increases of power, agility, and strength then a consistent program consisting of mobility and flexibility exercise will benefit as well.
Follow the trail of success
A review of Elite Senior Wrestlers found that “the flexibility of top-level wrestlers was higher than that of lower level wrestlers” (2). This was obviously among other things such as strength, power output, endurance, etc. but the take home message is that if the best in the world are doing it, so should you.
Increased scramble ability
How often have you been in a position where you felt if you moved the wrong way your knee, shoulder, or hip will snap like a twig? Increased mobility and flexibility will help that. Wrestling is a sport of awkward, unhealthy positions at times and how much your joints can take is dependent on their mobility and flexibility!
So what now?
Dynamic stretch before your workout. Things like walking toe touches, knee hugs, and various hip and shoulder mobility drills will drastically help.
A great hip mobility drill by Strength Coach Joe Defranco
Static stretch after training. This is best to when you are done with practice. The couch stretch, lying quadricep stretch, butterfly, glute stretches, and shoulder traction drills.
Self Myofascial Release before and after. Use a lacrosse ball on the wall to break up tight pec minors. Foam roll tight quads and hip flexors, and use a medicine ball for nasty adductors.
These are just a few things to do to increase your level of performance and decrease the nagging injuries you get as wrestlers. Keep them up and you will see improvements!
1. J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Jul;22(4):1286-97. Four-week dynamic stretching warm-up intervention elicits longer-term performance benefits. Herman SL, Smith DT.