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.
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.
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:
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/ .
Dave Coffin, CSCS, USAW
Strength and Conditioning Specialist