There are so many “conditioning experts”, “sport coaches”, and “guru’s” out there pushing their cure all fitness program, it’s tough to know where to turn for quality advice.
Much of the strength and conditioning advice a wrestler will receive comes directly from their coach. This direction is most often information that has been handed down from one coach to another and is rarely current with modern exercise science findings. It may get you sweaty, tired, and feeling like you had a workout, but often leaves you lacking in the specific strength and conditioning elements that will help you succeed in a real match.
Strength & conditioning for a wrestler is little like strength & conditioning for a runner. You need to spend a greater amount of time training your anaerobic energy systems rather than simply your aerobic energy systems.
Wrestlers have to be trained differently from any other athletes if you want to dominate on the wrestling mat. Additionally, youth wrestlers, teen wrestlers, college wrestlers and MMA athletes must all train differently from each other in order to get the best results on the mat or in the cage.
Keep the following elements in mind when evaluating the strength & conditioning program established for the wrestler.
- Fitness Base – ensure that the wrestler has established a solid fitness base before beginning sport specific training for wrestling. Very important for youth, after injury, or extended layoff from the sport.
- Mimic Movements – exercise movements should be similar in speed, body position, and plane of movement… at least as much as possible.
- Proper Energy System – the sport of wrestling works in short high intensity bouts with breaks in between. Anaerobic endurance is a bit more important than aerobic for this sport.
If your goal is to optimize your training for wresting performance then you must be specific. You must follow a program that is designed to match the above principles. When you do, you will best prepare yourself for dominating on the mat!
Tom, a certified strength & conditioning specialist and peer fitness trainer provides services for the fitness professional and the fitness enthusiast.