Stop Working Out and Start Training! Part 1

Iowa State's Jake Varner celebrates his victory over Nebraska's Craig Brester in a championship bout in the 197-pound weight class at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships, Saturday, March 21, 2009, in St. Louis. Varner, who was runner up the past two seasons, finally wins a national championship.(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)To be a championship caliber wrestler, you need to be strong, explosive, flexible, and have a gas tank that allows you to wrestle aggressively for 6 or more minutes (ALWAYS TRAIN WITH OVERTIME IN MIND!). How you design your program will be the first step in being more prepared than the guy you shake hands with under the lights, and I’m going to show you how in this 5 part series.

First, we’ve all seen how fast Jordan Burroughs gets his double leg off right? It’s out of this world explosive. Heavy weights alone won’t develop that lightning fast speed, but a combination of jumps, sprints, and Olympic lifts can. This is the first section of any well designed program, and it’s done after you’re warmed up and freshest so you can move fast and explosively. This is where short sprints, hang cleans and snatches, medicine ball drills, and jumps fit in.

After we’ve done our power segment, we can move to the strength building movements. This is where your more traditional barbell and dumbbell compound lifts should be done. Pick a push, pull, squat, hip hinge, and loaded carry, and have at it. This is the stuff that is going to give you that real strength that when you’re hand fighting, your opponent really feels it and thinks twice about letting you get your hands on them.

Every session is going to finish up with conditioning. Cardio is what you see people doing on elliptical machines at a nice easy pace so they can watch their favorite reality TV show on the attached flat screen. Cardio doesn’t do us much good, but conditioning is pushing the envelope and really working your tail off. We’re going to utilize intervals, as wrestling is a lot of fast actions, followed by bouts of slightly slower paces. Whatever you choose to do for conditioning should jack your heart rate up, and then be followed by a period of rest to let it come back down before repeating again. This is going to mimic that hard set up, shot, scramble, followed by you scoring and ending up on top and trying to work for a turn. Being on top isn’t exactly a rest, but it’s not requiring your heart rate to skyrocket the same as a scramble.

If you’re currently missing any of the 3 sections above, it is absolutely vital that you add in the missing piece. Remember, you’re only as strong as your weakest link!

In the next installments, I’ll break down each component into more detail. In the meantime, though, I’d suggest bagging your “workout” and starting our monthly online training program.

Get after it!