Trans4mind Home Page

10 "Strength Training Commandments For Wrestlers!

By Steve Preston

In part one of this series I discussed some tips to keep your strength and muscle, or even gain some during the wrestling season. In part two of this series I will give you ten sure-fire tips for improving your "wrestling strength and therefore your wrestling performances. These tips apply to both in-season and off-season training.

1. Train the "Posterior Chain"

The posterior chain muscles are comprised of the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. This extremely powerful area of the body is a key section to overall wrestling performances. By improving strength in this area you will notice a marked improvement in speed and power in the neutral and bottom positions. Some exercises that you might want to consider in order to work the posterior chain are good-mornings, stiff-leg deadlifts, deadlifts, barbell squats (bar low on shoulders). My two favorites are the reverse hyperextension and the Russian glute-ham-gastroc machine. They are the ultimate in working the posterior chain muscles.

2. Strength Train SLOW, Wrestle FAST

You want to be fast and strong on the wrestling mat. Don't think that you should throw weights around when you strength train though. When wrestlers try to move a barbell quickly in their workouts, they are using momentum to help move the weight. You should minimize momentum, and maximize the amount of muscle that gets worked by slowing down. How fast (or slow) should you move a weight when strength training? When you are raising a weight (or contracting the muscle) try to do it in 2 seconds. When you lower the weight, do it twice as slowly. You should take about 4 seconds to lower a weight.

3. Brief Workouts

Your workouts should never exceed 35 minutes in duration. If they do, YOU"RE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH! By completing your workout in no more than 35 minutes or so, your body's hormone levels are optimal. Your ability to recuperate from the workouts, and therefore develop more strength, is increased. Avoid long, drawn-out strength training workouts. They will eventually cut into your body's ability to recuperate, and lead to over-training.

4. 12 Exercises Or Less

When I develop sport-specific strength training routines for my athletes, I always adhere to this. This number of exercises will allow you to hit the "wrestling muscles with just enough, but not too much. Any more will almost guarantee that you will send your body into an overtraining syndrome.

5. 2 Sets Or Less

Read this one carefully, and try to really absorb the content. You should do no more than two work sets (the sets that count. These don't include a warm-up set) for any given exercise. If you are working hard enough, this is plenty. You do a warm-up set for an exercise, then move to your top weight. After you complete that top weight, reduce the total weight on the bar or machine by 20% and repeat. If you are really training intensely, you can do just one work set per exercise. This is the ideal. If you can hammer a muscle with one perfect set of an exercise, there will be no need for another set. I advocate a second set with a 20% weight reduction because many people don't quite hammer that muscle with one set.

6. Fail In The Gym To Dominate On The Mat

Other than your warm-up set for each strength training exercise, you should train your sets to "momentary muscular failure." This is the point where you can no longer complete another repetition with perfect form. By training to momentary muscular failure, you are forcing the muscles to adapt, and therefore get stronger. Let me clarify training to "failure." Training to failure is not "almost taxing the muscle." It is the point where you cannot push or pull another repetition no matter what. Is it safe to train this way? Absolutely! The first few repetitions of a set are actually more dangerous. When an athlete is not using good form, and slower speed, it is usually during these first few repetitions that an athlete gets hurt.

7. Use Machines And Free Weights

There is a common misconception amongst athletes and coaches that you must use free weights when strength training. Free weights are great! So are machines! Your muscles don't know the difference. The intensity is the most important thing when trying to improve your strength for wrestling. The tool that you use to get there is not. I like certain exercises for certain muscles. It also depends on injuries that a wrestler might already have. You can work "around and injury and still give the body a thorough strength workout. If you have access to Hammer Strength machines, I highly recommend that you include them in your wrestling strength workout.

8. Use A Thick Bar

If you don't have access to a thick bar, get one. This is usually a hollow metal tube that you put free weights on the end of. A thick bar forces you to hold on tightly when performing exercises. It develops fantastic forearm and hand strength. It should be part of every serious strength training program for wrestlers. You can do curls, reverse curls, rows, and presses with it.

9. Keep Up The Protein

Whether you are trying to cut weight or go up a weight class, you need regular feedings of protein. Protein helps to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. It is vital to keep up protein feedings if you are trying to cut weight unless of course you don't mind losing muscle and getting weaker. Try to get at least 5 protein feedings per day. The difference lies in the carbohydrate intake. If you need to cut weight, you should begin slowly dropping carbs, but never completely. You can't wrestle if you have no energy. Carbohydrates are you body's preferred source of energy. Contact me at if you're interested in a personalized meal plan for wrestling.

10. The Trap Bar

The trap bar is another incredible piece of equipment when trying to gain wrestling strength. The trap bar is a hexagonally shaped bar. It allows you to perform deadlifts with maximal stimulation of almost every muscle vital to improved wrestling performance. If you've never seen one, do a search on the web. This is an exercise that all of my wrestling clients use. It will make your entire body stronger. If I were limited to only one exercise in order to increase the strength in my wrestlers, this would be the exercise that I'd choose.

Copyright 2005 Sports Strength

About The Author
Steve Preston is a Sports Performance Specialist in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He specializes in helping wrestlers and other athletes improve performance through sport-specific strength training. He is available for phone consultations and clinics.

From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

The New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
We think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
Copyright © 1997-2018 Trans4mind Ltd