Physical training for wrestlers (VIDEO)

• This is not a bodybuilding program. There will be no “Back and bis” or “Chest and tris” days. Generally the entire body will be stressed in one manner or another at every training session. You will never have a day where you go in and “blast your biceps”.

• The great focus of this program will be on exercises that build and strengthen your “posterior chain”. These are the muscles than run up your back from your calves to you neck, muscles that are often neglected by “body building” type programs, and which are crucial to injury prevention and athletic performance.

• You are never to “max out” with a true heavy single. We are training to get stronger, not break weight-lifting records. Finding a true max in many exercises isn’t worth the danger you subject yourself to.

• When building and testing your strength always leave a rep or two in the chamber. The last rep should be difficult, but it should move at the same speed as the other reps, it should be smooth (not wobbling or shaking) and you should feel that if push came to shove you could do one or two more.

• We never train to failure. Stop your set before your form breaks down. Training to failure actually negatively impacts strength, and it slows recovery down. Plus, mentally you will be able to know that you have a string of successes under your belt rather than a string of failures, which should help you remain confident.

• Use a training log. Keep track of the exercises, sets, reps, and weights you use, or the number of sprints you do, or the technique drills you execute when you train. You cannot accurately judge progress, or develop confidence, if you don’t have hard numbers to base decisions on. All the greatest American wrestlers use a training journal, so you should too.

• When it comes to training more is not better. Better is better. Consistent, hard training, that forces you to push yourself, but not kill yourself, is far more effective in building the strength needed to succeed than the 2 hour a day, six- day-a-week programs some poorly informed people recommend.

• Use a bunch of warm-up sets. On your big exercises, the core ones we use in this program, take your time working up to your work sets. Use the bar, use smaller weights, and do a number of sets with reps a few less than your work sets (ie. When your work sets are sets of 5, do warm-ups with sets of 3), or do singles and doubles working on form as you build up. This will allow you to perfect technique and avoid injury while allowing you to perform better.

• Cardio work is done at the end of the workout. Some skipping and mobility stuff is fine as you warm-up, but save your energy for strength building, then deplete it with the cardio at the end of training. Do not waste your energy that could be used for strength building work by doing cardio before hand.

• Avoid long distance running at all costs. It does not mimic the kind of conditioning used in wrestling, it eats away at muscle tissue, and it wears away your knees. One or two times a week find a hill and sprint up it a number of times until you are tired, but not puking kind of tired. One time a week do some incline treadmill walking or elliptical trainer work for 20-30 minutes at the most.

• Intensity is defined as the percentage of your 1-rep “max”. Intensity is not a feeling, it is not being tired, or wiped out, or exhausted. If you are using 95% of your max, you’re working at 95% intensity. You might move the weight fast and easy, but you are using a high intensity level. Sometimes using a high intensity is “hard” and you struggle, but never forget it is defined as a % of your 1-rep max.

• You do not get stronger in the weight room, you get stronger when you rest and recover! Six days a week, two or three hours a day is not an effective way to build strength, but it is a great way to destroy it. Again, more is not better. Work out just enough to build strength.

• If your weights don’t consistently improve you are probably doing to much. Each week you should see some improvement in some, if not all, of your core lifts. If you start to stall, that means you are out training your recovery. More is not better, better is better.

 Learn to love the “de-load”! Every 4th week you are going to reduce the number of reps, sets, and exercises you do, as well as the intensity (use between 40% and 60%). These are important weeks to allow your body to recharge, reduce the stress, and give yourself a chance to improve. If you are going crazy during a de- load week, and feel the need during that week to want to kill it in the weight room, DO NOT give in to that desire. It means your testosterone is high and you’ll get better gains when you move into your next work cycle.

• The training is broken up into a number of 4-week mini-cycles, or blocks, of training. This is important to be aware of, because it will be the 4th week of each block that you de-load. Each training block will have specific sets and rep schemes for you to complete, and will build on the previous block in terms of volume.

• Technique is key. Learn to do the exercises correctly first. Don’t worry about the weight used, it will come in time. Perfect the technique and you will get strong quickly!

Training Structure

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