08 July, 2011
Conditioning Drills for Wrestling
Wrestling takes significant athletic ability, but the most athletic person does not always win a match. Every match comes down to strength, speed, agility, balance and endurance, which you can improve through training. If you work hard on your conditioning, you can beat an opponent who might have more natural athletic ability than you.
Work on your endurance by doing sprints, followed by a period of light jogging to recover. Your sprints should last between 30 seconds and two minutes, as most individuals cannot keep a high-intensity sprint going for much longer. Since a wrestling round lasts for two minutes, you do not need to sprint for any longer. A wrestling round rarely requires 100 percent intensity for the entire round, which makes this type of interval training useful.
Increasing your functional strength provides more value than improving your weightlifting strength. Focus on exercises that mimic the movements in a wrestling match. When exercising your legs, squat heavier weights for a shorter period, as this makes your legs more powerful. This helps with your takedowns and lifts in a match. When exercising your arms and shoulders, do more reps with lighter weights to increase endurance. Focus on a variety of movements, since your arms end up in various positions during a match. Use a stability ball to work your back and trunk. This improves your functional strength without taking away flexibility.
Agility allows you to set up your moves and complete them before your opponent can stop you. It also helps you stay upright when an opponent attempts a throw or takedown. Simple drills like jumping rope, lateral lunges, bear walks, crab walks and the limbo help you maintain balance and make the transition from a dangerous position to an advantageous position quickly. Agility training helps you get back to your feet when an opponent has you in trouble, and it can possibly save you from a pin.
Balance remains a key to success in wrestling because you make it more difficult for your opponent to control your body. Use an exercise ball to work on your balance, starting by lying stomach down on the ball with your arms and legs outstretched. Try to lie in this position for 30 seconds and then add arm and leg movements to your routine. This mimics par terre position, where you have an opponent behind you attempting to compromise your balance and put you in a wrestling hold.
- "Wrestle and Win: The Wrestler's Guide to Strength, Conditioning, Nutrition and College Preparation"; Steve Kimpel; 2010
- "101 Wrestling Drills And Games"; Keith Manos; 2006
- Jeff Randall/Digital Vision/Getty Images