Workouts for Wrestling Strength
For many wrestlers, strength training consists of body-weight drills performed during the regular practice session. Still, committed strength training outside of practice can give you an edge. For the best competitive advantage, stick with body-weight exercises and other high-repetition, moderate-weight training techniques. Otherwise, you risk gaining weight in the form of added muscle to the point where you have to move up a weight class.
Plyometrics put your muscles through a normal motion at an increased level of intensity and force. Their purpose is to specifically improve the explosive power of the muscles they train. This improves your strength as well as the speed with which you can put the strength to use. Box jumps -- exercises in which you spring from the ground onto a platform between knee and hip height -- are an example of plyometric exercises. Other examples include power skipping, clap pushups and throwing a medicine ball.
Weight training is often what people think of first when they talk about strength workouts. Wrestlers can benefit from weight training as much as other athletes. During the season, you should avoid the high-weight, low-repetition lifting that builds bulk and mass. This can interfere with your weight enough to bump you out of your preferred class. Instead, focus on sets of 10 to 12 repetitions, using weights that make you struggle with the last several reps. Dumbbell and kettlebell exercises are preferable to barbell exercises, because they engage more muscles in the same range of motion.
Wrestlers do their fair share of pushups, situps, jumping jacks, squat thrusts and burpees during every practice session. The advantages of calisthenics are that they work, that you know how to do them, and you can do them anywhere without special equipment. The major disadvantage is that you can get sick of them. A related disadvantage is the possibility of developing repetitive motion injuries from doing too many. When you do calisthenic exercises, pay attention to the joints involved. If they start to hurt, move on to another exercise. If they hurt chronically, check with your coach, athletic trainer or doctor.
Although wrestling focuses on several muscle groups, no muscles go unused during a typical wrestling practice or match. For overall strength training, a group fitness class can build strength in an environment wrestlers are already familiar with. Some group fitness classes that train strength include yoga, total body conditioning, gymnastics and water exercise. Avoid aerobics classes, which focus on cardio rather than strength.
Jake Wayne has written professionally for more than 12 years, including assignments in business writing, national magazines and book-length projects. He has a psychology degree from the University of Oregon and black belts in three martial arts.