Wrestling season may be over, but year-round conditioning can lead to on-the-mat success. So how can you encourage your wrestlers to stay in shape between seasons?
When exercise feels monotonous, offseason conditioning is more likely to fail. If you want your athletes to stick to it, help them find varied workouts they’ll look forward to doing.
You can also remind athletes that they don’t need a fitness center to be successful. In fact, some of the most fun and effective exercises can be done at home, in the backyard, or at the local stadium.
Hitting the weights isn’t the only way to get strong. Here are some alternative strength and agility exercises your athletes can do just about anywhere:
- Crunches and planks
- Push-ups and pull-ups
- Plyometrics like box jumps, tuck jumps, and high knees
Speed & Endurance Training
Share these ideas with your athletes to help keep speed and endurance training fun and challenging:
- Work toward a personal best mile. This can make running feel more purposeful.
- Throw in some intervals. Sprints, hills, stairs, and bleachers are great for speed training, and they can help break up the monotony of running.
- Lap it up. Swimming is another effective form of cardio training, and it’s a great alternative to running for athletes who need to avoid pounding the pavement.
- Two wheels, not four. Swap the car for the bike when possible, take the long way home, and make rides more challenging by choosing hilly routes.
A Closer Look
Here’s a sample summer workout from Brendan Buckley, former Division 1 wrestling coach and executive director of Beat the Streets Wrestling™ in New York City1:
Jump Rope: 3-5 sets. Start with 100 jumps in a set (30-second rest). Over the summer, build up to 200, 300 jumps in a set with a final goal of 1,000 jumps.
Push-ups: 3-5 sets of each with hands narrow, wide, on books, and claps in between
Body-Weight Squats: 3-5 sets of 25 or more. Also mix in varieties like 5-second descend and 5-second pause at the bottom each rep.
Pull-ups or Timed Hangs: 3 sets to muscle failure
Lying Leg Raises: Hands under the butt (up to 90 degrees): 3 sets of 25
Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 10
Crunches: 3 sets of 25
Knee-High Jumps (for maximum height): 5 sets of 10 (30-second rest)
Lunge Jumps: 4 sets of 10 each per leg (30-second rest)
High Knees: 4 x 25 yards (30-second rest)
Butt Kicks: 4 x 25 yards (30-second rest)
Acceleration Sprints: 5 x 50 yards (30-second rest). Start slow and in a crouch, rise up and accelerate to top speed by 30 to 40 yards.
Keep up the Skin Protection
It’s easy to forget about skin health when athletes aren’t hitting the mats every day. Remind them to reach for Theraworx Protect for advanced hygiene and skin support.
1. Keys to a successful offseason strength and conditioning program. Team USA website, USA Wrestling. https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Wrestling/Features/2015/June/25/Keys-to-a-Successful-Offseason-Strength-and-Conditioning-Program. Accessed March 22, 2018.