If you take the whole summer off, a good pre-season wrestling training program can make up for lost time very easily. The idea is to arrive at the first practice already in excellent shape, but bigger, faster and stronger than last year. With the right program, all of this is possible. The best way to ensure all attributes are covered is to set up a program with attention to micro and macro training cycles. The micro training cycle is your weekly program. A great split to use is lifting weights on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; wrestling practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays, no training on the weekend. Plan weightlifting sessions to focus on strength/power, strength conditioning, and speed/explosiveness. Plan the training macrocycle as a gradient that develops pure power and size with weights only at the beginning and ends with speed movements and explosive strength exercises specifically related to wrestling and cardio work. This way, fighters will have time to build muscle power early on, but also have their agility, speed, and lungs ready when the season starts.
If you have 12 weeks to work, divide the macro cycle into thirds. The first four weeks are primarily for strength and power, the second four weeks for strength conditioning, and the last 4 weeks before the season should focus on speed, explosiveness, and cardio work. While every four weeks they will focus on a specific attribute, they shouldn’t do it entirely. For example, during the power cycle, a small percentage of exercises should also cover strength, endurance, speed, and explosiveness. During the strength, endurance, and speed phases, include one or more exercises each week to also build power. If you don’t do this, you’ll lose some of the hard-earned strength you gained at the beginning of your program by the time you reach the end as you focus on speed and cardio getting ready for the mat. A good pre-season training program should be well balanced to get the maximum benefit from all the attributes trained.
When setting up the power cycle of your program, make one day lower body, one day upper body, and a third day devoted entirely to core strength and posterior chain development. For lower and upper body days, choose a heavy compound movement for your first lift, keeping reps below 5. Use spotters to keep your lifts as safe as possible, however you should push yourself with weights. heavy if you want to get stronger. . Keep track of how many lifts you do for 3 reps, and repeat the same exercise at least once throughout the cycle to try to beat your old number. Achieving this will guarantee strength gains. After the first main lift, choose supplemental exercises to target the muscle groups you just used in the main lift. For example, if you just benched, 1-2 accessory lifts should be performed for muscle groups in the following order of importance to the main lift; triceps, lats and shoulders. If you’ve just squatted or deadlifted, do 1 or 2 accessory lifts for muscle groups, including your hamstrings, lower back, hips, quads, and abs. Do no more than 4-5 accessory lifts total and keep your reps in the 8-12 range.
Strength conditioning is a type of strength training that all wrestlers and wrestlers will benefit from. It consists of performing multi-extension compound movements for repetitions, for example power cleans, clean and press, overhead squats, etc. Super fit or giant fit weightlifting exercises with moderate weight also work very well. The point is to develop an enhanced type of cardio while lifting weights. This type of training is great for the wrestler or wrestler who must strain their muscles and perform a variety of positions for an extended period of time (2-minute periods, 5-minute rounds, etc.). In the strength conditioning phase, an example of this type of lower body training would include a power movement first, squats for 3-4 sets of 3 reps. This is to maintain the strength of the athlete. Next, power cleans for 3 sets of 8, kettlebell swings for 3 sets of 1 minute, back lifts for 3 sets of 12-15 reps, and finally 50-75ft. run to the end.
An example of an upper body strength conditioning workout would start with a heavy compound movement first; floor press for 3-4 sets of 2 reps. Good accessory lifts to follow would be close grip push-ups for 3-4 sets of 15 reps to failure, hang clean and press for 3 sets of 6-8 reps, and weighted pull-ups to failure. Grip training can also be done at the end of upper body sessions and/or at the end of the week as last exercises. As the strength conditioning phase progresses, switch to exercises that are more related to wrestling and will work the entire body. Some examples are carrying and throwing grappling dummies, training with sandbags, pulling sleds, and practicing shots with a weighted vest. Exercises that mimic events seen in strongman competitions are also great to implement during a strength conditioning phase. These include tire flipping, farmer’s walk, dead lifts and cleans with a shaft bar, and carrying heavy weights for distance. If you have harnesses to pull, pulling vehicles on a flat surface for time is excellent work for both the lungs and the legs.
Finally, have the last 3-4 weeks of your pre-season wrestling training emphasize speed, explosiveness, and developing cardiovascular conditioning for the upcoming season. For at least the last three weeks, just before the season starts, lighten the weights of the first heavy compound movement to 40% or less. Do 6-10 sets of 2-3 reps as fast and explosive as possible. The best exercises for this are the box squat, bench press, and deadlift, however, perform only single reps with the deadlift. Continue with accessory strength-conditioning lifts such as cleans, kettlebells, sleds, and strongman exercises. Finish off your speed weightlifting session with plyometric box jumps, depth jumps, drop jumps, resistance band throws, and short sprints. During the last 3-4 weeks of speed training, add 2-4 cardio sessions to your week, increasing the time as the weeks go on. For example, week one you do three 30-minute cardio sessions, week two you do three 45-minute cardio sessions, and week three you do 3-4 cardio sessions that are between 45 minutes and an hour each. Take the week directly before the wrestling season starts without doing any training for a complete break.