How To Keep Your Wrestlers Strong In Season
This is an article explaining how to keep a wrestler strong during the season. In this article, I give examples of what to do during the season to help keep a wrestler strong.
First off, maintenance is the key. It will be next to impossible to really add a ton of strength to a wrestler during his season. Especially if the wrestler is cutting weight. Between intense practice sessions, grueling matches, and insane dieting techniques, strength will want to be maintained.
Circuits are not going to do much in terms of helping your athletes stay strong - it will actually compromise their strength. I wish I would've know this back when I was grappling! I look back and I was SO OVER-TRAINED, it was crazy. I was running long distance after practice (big mistake), doing weight circuits 3 days per week, and doing body weight exercises such as pull ups, push ups, 1000's of crunch (another mistake), and body squats. When it came time for state at the end of the season, my body was fried! I hate looking back at my senior year because that was exactly what happened! I had the right mindset, just the wrong training technique. I turned out to be my own worst enemy.
What happens a lot of times, is coaches throw their athletes through brutal weight training circuits after long conditioning sessions then have them lift more weights on top of that! That's too much volume and you're guys will get over trained.
o You need to keep them strong by having them lift heavy weights 1-2 times per week to maintain their strength and muscle mass
o Reps should be around 3-8 max and sets no more than 4 per exercise
o You'll want to keep their volume down and lifting sessions earlier in the week away from weekend tourneys and duals
They will be getting enough conditioning through their practices and actual matches and what not.
I would just make sure you are conditioning the heck out of them in practice (as I know you will!)
Maintenance is simple - keep them strong in the basic lifts - deadlifts, front squats (great specific lift for wrestling) power presses, pull ups (tons of variations) and lots of different push up variations.
Sample workout to be performed on an Monday:
B) Power Press 4 x 3-6
C) Pull Ups or weighted Pull ups 4 x max reps or 3-8
Very simple and easy.
As long as you keep the volume low on these lifts, they will be fine.
Some very good strength exercises to use that are very effective and specific to keeping them "wrestling" strong are partner exercises - partner carries, drags, squats, etc.
These can be performed at the end or during, or even at the beginning of practices to help maintain a grapplers strength as well. The best part about these exercises are that you need NO equipment, it's fast and efficient, and you can get it done during practices to help the wrestler have more recovery time.
Just remember the key to in season training is maintenance. Very few times will you see an athlete really gain a ton of strength during the season. Many times, they will get stronger but this is only when you follow proper volume prescription and application. Keep your athletes strong! Make sure you get them strong before the season. A weak athlete is always at a disadvantage.
I am an ex wrestler and currently a strength and conditioning coach that specializes in training combat athletes such as wrestlers, MMA fighters, tactical personal, and power athletes (football, sprinters, etc.).