A Question Regarding In-Season Strength Training

Hi Everyone,

I got an email yesterday from a strength coach at a high school in Ohio who had a question regarding in-season strength training for wrestlers, so I thought I would share the exchange.

His question:

Coach, I am a strength coach at a high school in Ohio and had read an article you had written and wanted to ask you about in season weight lifting for wrestling. Trying to convince the wrestling coach to allow the wrestlers to lift during season. He doesn’t want them to because he says it doesn’t help them and it hurts the guys who are cutting weight. I don’t agree but wanted to get your take on it from someone who knows a lot more about wrestling training then I do. Could you give me some feedback and maybe an in season workout you would recommend especially if it’s a positive for the wrestlers and it’s something you would recommend. Any feedback is appreciated.

 My response:

Hi Coach, how are you?  In season training is EXTREMELY important for every sport, wrestling included.  The most obvious benefits of training in-season are strength maintenance (and gain), reducing the likelihood of injury, and retaining strength and lean tissue, especially for those wrestlers who are cutting weight. 

 While training in-season is important, it is also important to consider the grueling demands of a wrestling season.  I know from personal experience our wrestling practices in high school were 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours.  This included drilling technique, live wrestling, as well as conditioning (which, just for the record is completely unnecessary in-season).  For strength training, a basic template could look something like this:

Day 1

A1 Deadlift Variation

B1 Standing Press Variation

B2 Pull Up


A1 Squat Variation

B1 Bench Press Variation

B2 Row Variation

I don’t like to have kids get hung up on numbers.  I typically have kids lift “by feel” in-season.  This means that kids are going to have days where they feel strong and days where they feel weak.  It is our job as strength coaches to make sure the kids know that this happens and is normal, especially In-Season.  Please remember that this a template that has worked for the training age and experience of the wrestlers that I work with.  You may have to modify it for your own set of circumstances.  In addition, I typically keep the lifts the same for the duration of the season to prevent any excessive soreness from training. 

You can check out the original article here http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/sports-training/strength-training-considerations-for-the-sport-of-wrestling/  .

Best regards,

Dave Coffin, CSCS, USAW

Strength and Conditioning Specialist



2 thoughts on “A Question Regarding In-Season Strength Training”

  1. Dave,

    I like how the template is very balanced and each workout hits the entire body. I also think it is VERY important to go “by feel” and adjust workouts depending upon how the kids are doing physically. Good stuff.

    Just curious is there any reason you “pair” (B1 with B2) the upper body exercises, but not the lower body ones?

    Do you use mostly barbell variations or is it a mix of other implements?

    Also what kinds of sets and reps do you use with your kids in season?

    Just curious. Thanks for the information I am always looking to see what other strength coaches are doing.


    Educate, Motivate, Dominate
    -Coach Gaglione

  2. Hi Coach,

    Thank you for checking out the article. I really appreciate it. In regards to your questions, I pair the upper body exercises for time effeciency however a straight set set system would work just as well if time was not an issue.

    I use barbells for the bench press and standing press but dumbbells would work. Whatever works best for your situation. For sets and reps I would again have the kids work “by feel” but keep the rep scheme around sets of 3-6 depending on the lift and the athlete.

    Thanks again for checking out the article Coach. I really appreciate it.

    Best regards,

    Dave Coffin, CSCS, USAW

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