5 SIMPLE (NOT Easy!) Wrestling Strength Training Tips


3 days a week I work with the college wrestlers and man, we thrash that weight room! The energy is through the roof and that is an understatement.

The culture of what happens with your team is a HUGE key to their success. A dialed in, consistent off season training program is a make or break factor for a wrestling team's success.

Unfortunately, most teams don't have Coaches who organize a team plan be it in wrestling or strength & conditioning. The Coach who organizes this aspect of a wrestling training program is going to be part of a winning team.

For me, training Wrestlers is simply THE BEST. Here's why....

They are THE athletes who understand hard work and being Relentless. Yes, other athletes also "get it" but Wrestlers tend to be on a different level. And of course, I am talking about the highly motivated wrestlers.

There are plenty of wrestlers as well as other athletes out there who are perfectly happy with average. That being said, THIS article is for the Wrestling Coach / Wrestling Parent / Wrestler who IS Fired up and wants to WIN BIG time.

For the most part, wrestlers don't get too caught up in the fads and gimmicks. They're not asking me about the speed ladder or first step quickness, they are asking about the KEY factors that have been proven for centuries to develop winning athletes:

  • Stronger
  • Faster
  • Tougher
  • Building Functional Muscle Mass

The most successful wrestlers, and other athletes, train year round. They train in season, not just during the off season. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that if you STOP training in season you will LOSE strength.

Loss of strength has been proven to have a negative impact on speed, recovery, confidence and more. A recent podcast with Tim Ferriss discusses research studies done on sprinters showing a positive correlation of how strong a sprinter is on the Trap Bar Deadlift and his / her running speed.

Other exercises were tested as well but the Trap Bar Deadlift had the best correlation of, if you get stronger on this lift, you get faster! As Mark Bell says, Strength is Never a Weakness.

That being said, let me share with you some simple strength training tips for Wrestlers.

If you have a basic weight room set up in your garage or at a school, you can follow these basic Wrestling Strength Tips.

1) The Old standard of 5 x 5 works great for wrestlers.

- 5 x 5 is a solid blend of strength and muscle building. This doesn't mean you always do 5 x 5, but it's a solid set up and I use it often, but certainly not always.

- I like to couple a strength movement with an explosive movement such as a jump variation or med ball throw. This is the contrast method and for wrestlers, it is excellent for developing strength & power.

- I don't always use 5 x 5 on the big lifts, it does vary but it's a standard that has always been great for wrestlers.

2) Wrestlers love variety, BUT, too much variety is a downfall.

- Excess variety does not allow the wrestler to track progress and force adaptation, aka get stronger & faster. So if you're going crazy switching the workouts all the time, you will hinder strength gains. More so than people know, lifting weights is a skill.

Learning how to properly Squat, Deadlift, Clean, etc requires repetition. Strength is a skill.

I like to have our wrestlers follow a program for 2 or 3 weeks and focus on making progress, doing better than week 1. I explain this entire training system in The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength.

The more experienced my wrestlers are in lifting, the more variety they get. Beginners and intermediates need less variety in the lifts, but, you certainly can vary the sets and reps.

3) Focus on athleticism.

Wrestlers need to be athletic.

This is why our warm up includes a lot of sprint work, mini hurdles, gymnastics and even games such as Ultimate Football or Dodge Ball.

Being the strongest wrestler in the weight room isn't the end all be all. I've seen lots of strong wrestlers in the weight room but on the mat they were unable to express or translate their strength into a high level of wrestling performance.

You have to be Agile, Mobile and Hostile.

This is why we do a lot of throwing, jumping, sprinting and gymnastics drills.

4) It's good to have some breaks from wrestling during the year.

Either play another sport in middle or high school or at the very least, pick up on Freestyle and Greco wrestling.

The 1 thing that NEVER stops is training.

You must always train.

Training does NOT always need to be in a weight room.

It can be a Playground Bodyweight Workout like the video below, or it can be Swimming, Biking, etc.

5) Training NEVER Ends.

You always have to train.

Sure, after the season you take a week off and maybe in the Summer you can take a week off.

Otherwise, a Wrestler is always working.

You're always on the hunt to get better.

I will leave it at that.

If you're a Coach, your wrestlers need YOU to lead them.

The younger kids nowadays don't all have the guidance and so they need leadership.

The team that struggles together gets stronger together.

Sign up for team camps and tournaments together.

Build your knowledge with our hundreds and hundreds of Wrestling Strength programs and tips inside The Underground Strength Academy.

I was just searching inside The Academy and typed in "Minimalist Wrestling" and a long list of workouts and Videos popped up.

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2 Responses

  1. Taylor Wright says:

    I found it interesting when you said to try sprint work or mini hurdles as warm-ups. My son is starting wrestling this year and I want to make sure they are having the correct strength training for the kids. I’ll have to bring this up to his coaches and see what kind of regiment they have in store for the kids.

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