As the wrestling season comes to a close for many, I thought I would put together a list of ten considerations for strength and conditioning programming for wrestlers in the off-season. Here goes.
1. Fundamental exercises such as cleans, squats, deadlifts, presses, pull ups and rows must form the basis for any good strength development program irrespective of the sport.
2. Don’t get carried away with turning all of your training into a conditioning stimulus. Long, finish rest periods of 2-3 minutes amid heavy sets of lifting are necessary.
3. Wrestling is the most specific form of conditioning for wrestling. This is called specificity. Most good wrestlers are taking part in off-season wrestling clubs, travelling to tournaments, etc. It is improbable that a wrestler will get out of “wrestling shape”. Sprinkle suitable amounts of conditioning into your strength and conditioning program but don’t over do it. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.
4. Wrestling is a sport that requires athletes to carry out in a fatigued state. This is where strength endurance circuits would be an suitable training application.
5. Performance enhancement is second only to decreasing the likelihood of injury. According to Grindstaff et al, the most mutual injuries for wrestlers include ankle sprains, rotator cuff strains, knee collateral ligament sprains, neck strains and contusions. In addition, they suggest that “individuals with decreased strength, balance, proprioception and neuromuscular control at a dandier risk for injury”. Fairly apparent stuff, but it is good reinforcement. Basically what this proposes is that weaker wrestlers are at more outstanding danger of injury than their more inviolable counterparts. Really? Go figure.
6. In addition to the aforementioned exercises, some outstanding injury preventative action measures when it comes to exercise selection for wrestlers may likewise include the development of single leg strength, direct rotator cuff strengthening exercises, direct neck strengthening exercises as well as the development of strong torso musculature.
7. While the basic exercises form the foundation for the program, implementing strongman variations such as farmers walks, sled dragging, keg carrying and tire flipping are outstanding exercises that will have vast carry over to sport.
8. Nutrition and recovery is percentage of the training process. Eating rubbish and sleeping four hours per night is hardly optimal for recovery and the fact of the matter is performance will suffer in the gym and on the mat.
9. A successful strength and conditioning program must be designed with all of the athletes other activenesses taken into account
10. If you placed 5th in the state tournament this year and are hoping for a state championship season next year, preparation does not begin next week, next month or in the summer, it begins now.
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