Basic Strength Training Guidelines for Youth Wrestlers

Youth wrestlers rely on strength, as well as speed and flexibility, to achieve victory. Young people who participate in strength training routines -- either with weights or through alternative methods such as pushups or pullups -- often benefit from increased athletic performance and self-esteem. Strength routines also reward youth wrestlers with a lessened risk for injury. Understand the basics of strength training to stay safe and compete at your best level.

Kids and Strength Rewards

While strength training workouts that feature weightlifting and other methods are ideal for kids as young as 8 who wish to gain bone and muscle strength, KidsHealth.org reports that only teen wrestlers who have started puberty are likely to notice significant muscle growth. Strength workouts offer a variety of benefits, as young athletes who strength-train typically maintain better cholesterol levels and higher self-esteem. The training also improves concentration -- which can help with performance on schoolwork -- and joints, tendons and bones will be less likely to suffer injury.

Proper Technique

Most strength workouts feature weight machines or lifting free weights, such as dumbbells and barbells. Start your training by learning proper technique, which ensures you’ll gain the most reward from your exercise. An effective lift is performed slowly in an unhurried manner. Exhale as you lift, then inhale when you lower the weight to its original position. KidsHealth.org recommends performing three sets of up to 10 repetitions. Start with a lighter weight for your first set, then increase the weight -- but not your repetitions -- with the following two sets. An effective workout includes at least two exercises for each body part, such as a routine for the front and back of your arms.

Injury Prevention

Youth wrestlers typically receive the maximum benefits of weight workouts by lifting no more than three days weekly. Consider lifting for 20 to 60 minutes and include a warm-up and cooldown to lower your chance for injuries, which can force you to miss a wrestling match. A good warm-up includes a five-minute brisk walk, while cooldowns usually feature light stretching of your muscles for the same amount of time. Give your muscles a full day of rest between muscle workouts to ensure recovery and muscle growth.

Additional Strength Methods

Weightlifting is only one method of strength training. Wrestlers also gain strength by stretching compact resistance bands available at most sporting good stores. KidsHealth.org recommends building strength for a few weeks prior to weightlifting by performing body weight exercises, called calisthenics, such as pushups and situps. Ask your doctor’s permission before doing any strength training, especially if you have a heart condition or suffer seizures. Your coach can also help you plan a safe strength regimen appropriate for your age and size.

About the Author

Toby Pendergrass began writing and editing in 1998. He has served as editor for numerous custom health publications and physician journals. His work has appeared in publications such as Hospital Corporation of America's "YOU." He enjoys writing about cardiology and cancer care and holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.