Lifting Weights is for Getting Strong

imagesWrestlers pride themselves on how hard they work day in and day out. The amount of suffering we can tolerate is worn as a badge of honor, and rightfully so. At the end of the day, though, in the words of world renowned strength coach Dan John, “the goal is to keep the goal, the goal.”

What the hell does that mean? Simply put, it means to keep your eyes on the prize, and in terms of your strength and conditioning, it means to focus on the end result-getting stronger, faster, and more powerful. It’s easy to get caught up in what other people are doing just because it’s hard as shit so it seems like it has to be effective. Why else would someone do it right? Well, often times, hard is just hard, but with little to no payoff. Running a marathon is hard, but what does that do for improving you for wrestling? Not a lot. Doing 500 burpees and benching 45 pounds for 100 reps might make you puke and really sore, but it doesn’t make you better.

On the flip side, focusing on big, compound exercises like front squats, incline bench presses, chin ups, and trap bar deadlifts for sets of 5 is hard ass work, but week after week, you add a few more pounds, and it actually makes you better. Remember, when all else is equal, the stronger athlete usually wins. If right now you can do 5 chin ups with just your bodyweight, but after 2 months of slowly getting stronger and adding resistance, you can do 5 with a 25 pound weight vest on, then your hard work brings you closer to your end goal, which is to be the strongest that you can be. You’re keeping the goal the goal.

Strength isn’t the end all be all in wrestling, but if you and your opponent are the same weight, and you front squat 225 for 5 and he front squats a broomstick, then you have a significant strength advantage-you’ll have a stronger trunk and legs and you’ll be able to be physically dominant. That’s what strength training is for, so use the weight room to get stronger and not just tired by doing a bunch of stuff in a death circuit just because some website or jacked guy tells you too.  Pick a few big, compound movements that have the ability to be loaded up and strive to add 5 pounds to your 5 rep max each week. If you can’t complete the 5 with perfect form, then lower the weight a little and progress by 2.5 pounds. If you can do it easily, then add another 5. Don’t make it rocket science, just focus on the big, basic movements, and don’t lose sight of the goal. Lifting weights is meant to get you stronger, not just tired, so train as such.

Train with intent,