How to Get in Shape for Wrestling

two teenage caucasian male wrestlers from opposing teams stuggle on the mat and the one in red tries to pin the one in blue

Wrestling matches might seem short -- a high school match, for example, consists of just three two-minute rounds -- but they can be very intense. Depending on the wrestlers’ styles, a match may include six full minutes of constant activity that tests each competitor’s endurance, as well as his strength and technique. The wrestler who’s in better shape has more energy left in his tank late in the third round, and is often the one whose hand is raised at the end of a match.

Begin your workouts well before your season starts. If you wait until pre-season practice to begin getting in shape, your conditioning will lag behind the competition -- including any teammates who are competing for your spot on the squad. A good conditioning program should begin at least three months before the start of practice.

Perform an aerobic exercise about once each week. Jogging, bicycling or swimming will all elevate your heart rate and improve your aerobic conditioning.

Sprint around a track to improve your anaerobic conditioning. Do intervals, in which you sprint hard for a short distance, walk the same distance, and then sprint again. You can also perform straight sprints, in which you run for 100 to 160 yards, rest until your heart rate recovers, and then run another sprint.

Perform high-intensity strength training three times each week. Develop a circuit of exercises and perform them with as little rest as possible between exercises. Do each exercise for as long as possible until you can’t complete another repetition properly. Work out all your major muscle groups. Your circuit can include plyometric exercises such as jump squats and depth jumps; bodyweight exercises such as crunches, calf presses, pushups, chinups and back extensions, plus weight-training exercises such as dumbbell lunges, Arnold presses, barbell rows and curls, calf presses and bench presses. Add in some medicine ball exercises, including squat throws and side throws. Rest for about 48 hours between strength sessions.