Recently I received an email from a high school wrestler who wanted to know the best workout to help him become a better leg wrestler...
Then it dawned on me... I need to explain the 'system' vs. the 'quick fix.'
In wrestling, or any other sport, we want success. Success in wrestling is defined by winning matches. The kind of success that makes a wrestler a tournament, state, even national or world champion comes from hard work, day after day, year after year.
Many guys want to have me write them a workout to 'increase mat speed', 'improve takedowns', improve their wrestling off the bottom etc... and it IS something I do for wrestlers, coaches and parents.
BUT... before you can 'specialize' with workouts to turn your weaknesses into strengths, you must first have an overall system of training that works to improve your entire strength and speed levels, as well as your overall conditioning.
This means you need to do strength training year round with an Offseason, Preseason and Inseason. After you have your yearly training system in place, you keep this base of training and specialize with workouts that address your weaknesses afterwards.
Your offseason is where you want to develop more strength and density to your muscles. This is the time of year a wrestler can benefit from doing multi-joint, compound exercises such as:
- reverse hyperextensions
- weighted dips
- close grip incline barbell presses
- trap bar deadlifts
During the offseason is also when we want to develop the 'little muscles' that benefit a wrestler by making them stronger 'on the mat. This is when we train the adductor and abductor muscles in the thighs as well as the rotator cuff muscles.
Preseason training is when we make the switch to 'power and speed exercises' such as:
- Snatch (and variations of it)
- Powercleans (and variations of it)
- Isolateral Training (training one side of the body at a time)
- Hybrid Exercises (exercises that are combinations of single exercises)
Inseason training is when we reduce the frequency of training to 1 or 2 days per week. We reduce the number of exercises to no more than 6 per workout. Try to include exercises that require strength and speed but are easy on the joints. The inseason is no time to get yourself injured.
The other key to Inseason training for wrestlers is to purposely reduce the amount of weight that you would normally use on an exercise during the preseason when you are just training and eating well. I recommend that you reduce weights to no less than 80% of the weight used during the preseason, and stick with this weight. This will allow you to recover and still keep strength loss to a minimum (especially when you factor in weight cutting)
Once you mastered year-round training, then you can decide where you are weak. If you have difficulty on the mat and get muscled by your opponents, you will spend more time on offseason training.
If you are strong enough, but lack enough speed and explosive power off the bottom, you will spend more time on preseason training.
If you want to be a stronger leg wrestler you will add more hip abductor, adductor work etc.
The bottom line is that you have to lay the foundation for wrestling-specific training results, and then concentrate on any weaknesses that you may have...
I look forward to working with you..