Scott Wilks on Strength and Conditioning Training

Scott Wilks, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Hofstra University, tells how strength and conditioning training translates into mental training.

Scott Wilks, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Hofstra University, tells how strength and conditioning training translates into mental training. He also gives his recommendations for High School coaches and athletes looking to put a program together.
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THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND: The proper mental approach

” I remember sitting behind the bleachers about 45 minutes before the deciding match. I was depressed, feeling lousy about everything. Joe Wells, a former assistant coach of mine at Michigan, walked by and said the usual, ‘let that match go, this next one is the one that counts.’ Then he told me a joke and made me laugh. That changed my whole mood. I started to feel better. I got out of my funk and started focusing on what I had to do in the last match.”

carlton haselrigFrom the book Wrestling At The Trials by James V.  Moffatt  ” I remember sitting behind the bleachers about 45 minutes before the deciding match. I was depressed,  feeling lousy about everything. Joe Wells, a former assistant coach of mine at Michigan, walked by and said the usual,  ‘let that match go, this next one is the one that counts.’  Then he told me a joke and made me laugh.  That changed my whole mood. I started to feel better.  I got out of my funk and started focusing on what I had to do in the last match.” Continue reading “THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND: The proper mental approach”

His-Story & Lessons Learned

The rapid growth of club wrestling in recent years has brought numerous positive impacts to scholastic wrestling. Year around training under the guidance of highly skilled club coaches, as well as personal trainers, has raised scholastic wrestling skills to unprecedented levels.

Club Training Issues 

by Dave Caslow

caslow The rapid growth of club wrestling in recent years has brought numerous positive impacts to scholastic wrestling.  Year around training under the guidance of highly skilled club coaches, as well as personal trainers, has raised scholastic wrestling skills to unprecedented levels.  Continue reading “His-Story & Lessons Learned”

So what’s the BIG deal?

This post is being written to give everyone details of THE IRON EMPIRE’S training. I would like to talk a little about the gym and what it is that we have to offer. Also, I would like to give the details of the NEW group training package.

casinoThis post is being written to give everyone details of THE IRON EMPIRE’S training. I would like to talk a little about the gym and what it is that we have to offer. Also, I would like to give the details of the NEW group training package.

First off, let me start by saying that there are clubs and there are gyms. The Iron Empire is definitely a gym. In other words, we have nothing fancy, just everything you need to become REALLY STRONG!

This is a good start, but what really sets us apart is the members. It is the attitude, knowledge, work ethic, competitiveness and the desire to win that makes our gym different.

Everyone who trains with me is serious about getting stronger. For example, some of the former high school and college athletes now may compete in powerlifting. It is a common sight for a new member to see John (teacher and coach) and Dom (All-American baseball player and MONSTER) handling some huge iron.

While it is pretty incredible to see them squatting and pulling 500 or even 600 pounds, how great is it, and how motivating is it to train side by side with some of the best lifters around? What about the importance of them coming over to a new lifter with instruction on technique.

How much extra motivation would you feel as these men, and all the rest of our members are shouting encouragement as you shoot for your personal best? I have been in the iron game for almost 30 years now. I can tell you that the members of this gym still motivate me to lift my hardest!

Another great thing about this is it knocks down “the walls of limitations.” Seeing is believing, and when you see others doing things you thought were impossible; all of a sudden it is NOT OUT OF REACH!

Louie Simmons of WESTSIDE BARBELL talks about the first members of his gym shattering records or so called weight barriers. Once one has done it, others believe that now they to can do it. They had to move the minimum weight standards for his gym’s “elite” club up. “It was too easy and too many people were reaching the old standards”, he said.

I remember clearly the first athletes I had pulling 400+ on the TRAPBAR. 450 came rather quickly after that and then 500lbs was in sight. It took some time but 500 fell and I recall several things…

All the kids rallying around the lifter, the talk changing to “taking out” 550, and the amount of athletes seemingly out of nowhere lifting personal records. Oh, and don’t forget the complete turn around of the football and wrestling teams!

The flood gates were open and my 1st COUNTY CHAMPION and STATE PLACE WINNER set the bar at 575. I would say that that is pretty darn good in itself, but the kid did it with ONLY THREE YEARS OF WRESTLING AND TRAINING!!!!!!!

The following year the previously mentioned John was on a mission to take out some records and did so with a 435 squat and 585 dead. Again, pretty good for any high school athlete going into their senior year, but how about doing it at @ 200lbs body weight!!!!!

Still, 600 would not fall and truthfully I had no idea that it would. Some new things were happening, like Flynn hitting 415 for 10 reps in his first year at the gym and shocking everyone. Then, Marc made my jaw hit the floor with 450 for 10 at @180lbs. body weight going into his jr. year!

But it would be neither of these fine lifters. Josh stated he wanted to be the FIRST TO LIFT THE 600. I have to admit, I thought it was going to be a little too much for him. He wanted the shot and I have had kids blow me away before! To his credit, and with only 2 years of lifting under his belt, HE PULLED IT!

This would never have happened for him anywhere else. He would not have had the training, motivation and belief that he could move such a tremendous amount of iron which leads us to the next point.

I teach every athlete how to lift safely and correctly. A program is set up for each kid’s current strength level. I do not treat a beginner like an advanced lifter. We don’t care if you lift 100lbs. or 500lbs as long as you work your tail off! When you train with us YOU ARE PART OF OUR TEAM!

Well, you may say, this is all very nice but does it help on the mat? In college, two, two-time ALL-AMERICANS worked out with me on my program. We were strong but I would be the first to tell you the training we did was not close to what I teach now.

So let’s take a quick look at just the past 3 years, and the kids I have been involved with coaching and training.

– 10 current or former college wrestlers (there have been other college athletes, too)

– 4 state place winners

– 4 county champions

– 9 county finalists

– and over 20 county place winners!

This is pretty good, but more amazing than these stats, is this…In the past 3 years I can only think of 3 athletes who have trained with me for 2 or more years that did not become all county!

NOW FOR THE BEST PART! Over the past three years I have offered a 20 week package deal for training. At $1000 I felt it was by far the best deal you will ever find.

The training was for 4 days a week and a minimum of 1 hour. Many who knew about it, must have felt that this was indeed a great offer and took advantage of it. Still I was told that I needed to do more and a couple of things happened.

1) Spreading the word was the first of the things that I was constantly told to do. Now, thanks to BILL MILLER and this tremendous website I am given the great opportunity to write about training and my gym.

2) The economy went down the tubes. Money seems to be tight for everyone so people asked and I responded! ***THIS WILL BE A ONE TIME OFFER!

This is the LIGHTHOUSE 1/2 price SPECIAL. It is called 20 weeks, but that is the minimum! IT IS FROM NOW till SEPT. FIRST!!!!!! $500 + gym membership (also currently offering a special of $20 a month).

I also will have a new deal for all college athletes. Just contact me and I will take care of all of you too! This is on a first come basis, if you are interested don’t wait. Contact me at ironwill@optonline.net and we will set up a time to meet. Thank you Coach Ellinger

CONDITIONING

Being in superior condition to your opponent can be a huge asset. Just like having superior strength, a better conditioned wrestler has a distinct advantage. This becomes even more important in the hard fought matches that produce championships at the end of the year.

dangableBeing in superior condition to your opponent can be a huge asset. Just like having superior strength, a better conditioned wrestler has a distinct advantage. This becomes even more important in the hard fought matches that produce championships at the end of the year.

All wrestlers, regardless of current ability level, are training to win the close tough match; matches that are usually settled in the 3rd period by a few points or less. Whether you are one of the top wrestlers contending for county, state or even national championships or a less skilled wrestler battling for every win. Continue reading “CONDITIONING”

GENERAL INFORMATION ON TRAINING.

Over the last few weeks I have been asked several times about the personnel training I offer. I have met many new people and appreciate all the feedback on the website and my articles. Here I will give you all the info you will need to get started. The Christmas break will be a very good opportunity for all to set up an appointment to come on down and check out the gym and some training.

Over the last few weeks I have been asked several times about the personnel training I offer. I have met many new people and appreciate all the feedback on the website and my articles. Here I will give you all the info you will need to get started. The Christmas break will be a very good opportunity for all to set up an appointment to come on down and check out the gym and some training.

The gym is located at 345 Broadway in Bethpage. The name of the gym is TOTALY FIT. The gym as its name implies is set up for all aspects of health and wellness. The lifting program that I run is located down stairs. Here we are set up to do TRUE HARDCORE LIFTING!

The training I offer is the safest and most effective training you can do! If you are willing to do the WORK, I will take care of the rest. You will be taught how to lift properly.  A program will be made for each lifter to 1st establish a strong foundation. From here we will be able to built a tremendous amount of strength in a relatively short period of time.

Our standard work out schedule is M-W-F night at 5:00 and Sun. morning at 9:00. If you would like to come down you MUST contact me first to set up a day and time. Please email me at ironwill(at)optonline(dot)net  with “weight training” in the subject line. I look forward to working with you, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS, Coach Ellinger

NUTRITION 101- BASIC EATING

Many wrestlers have asked about nutrition over the years, with the latest asking just last week. While nutrition can get pretty complicated and in depth, I usually find that some very basic guide lines are what most wrestlers need and are really asking about.

Many wrestlers have asked about nutrition over the years, with the latest asking just last week. While nutrition can get pretty complicated and in depth, I usually find that some very basic guide lines are what most wrestlers need and are really asking about.

I had the luxury of my mom who would prepare great tasting good food for me. She made me breakfast and dinner every night throughout high school. This left me only lunch to possibly screw up. When I went on to wrestle in college I was lucky enough to have one of the top Nutrition teachers in the country at my school, the remarkable Dr. Gesmond.

Also in college it became more important to “watch” what I ate for two reasons; 1) my mom was not around cooking for me each day, 2) I had for the 1st time the need to maintain my weight.

So it is here that a friend of mine and I started taking nutrition classes with Dr. Gesmond. Soon after everyone we knew started taking his courses! He is the kind of teacher that is so good that he could be teaching Pig Latin and every student would be focused on his every word. Like I said, I was lucky. I enjoyed his classes so much that I minored in Nutrition.

Dr. Gesmond taught us many things. I think the most important thing he taught me was how you have to make LIFESTYLE CHANGES. If you want to be a great wrestler you must live an ATHLETIC LIFESTYLE! This is when I changed the way I thought about food. My mind set went from just grab whatever tasted good or was convenient, to FOOD IS FUEL.

A wrestler has to think of himself as a TOP FUEL DRAGSTER. These cars don’t run on pump gas. They take special fuel to put out the incredible horsepower they produce. You can’t perform your best either on crap food! So if you want to be the best, it may be time to make some changes to your diet, too.

Most people develop habits that tend to dictate what they eat and when. For example, eating certain foods on holidays, or special occasions. You may eat some foods together like bacon and eggs or peanut butter and jelly. Specific foods may be eaten at certain times or meals, like cereal and a glass of oj for breakfast. Sometimes different events may dictate what you eat, a hot dog at a ball game or cake at a party.

These are all habits that are hopefully full of good healthy foods, but many times they are not. As a wrestler you must use DISCIPLINE and make some “lifestyle changes.” This will help you in several ways.

1) It will help you to avoid putting on excessive weight(fat) making it easier to reach a competitive weight class. 2) Proper nutrition will help you recover from the tremendous work load a wrestler must face. 3) It is a factor in mantaining good health. 4) It will help you perform to your top potential. 5) In the off season it will help you build muscle when you work out.

Let me give you two basic changes that I made. The 1st one was switching from regular (whole milk) to skim (no fat milk). Dr. Gesmond pointed out that you could get basically all the benefits of whole milk, without the extra calories and fat. Whole milk has 150 calories per cup while skim has 90, seemed like a no brainer.

So I went right out and bought a gallon of skim milk. Only problem was, it tasted like crap! For lack of a better explanation, if you have been drinking regular milk your whole life, it is like someone poured you a glass of water with a drop of milk. I literally could not drink it.

I had the bright idea of “stepping down” by buying 2% and then 1% milk then trying skim again. Truthfully it still was not my favorite, but I had made up my mind to do it. I knew it was the right thing for me to do and mentally I had to make the change. The funny thing about it is that today it is the exact opposite. I can’t drink regular milk now. To me it tastes like Heavy Cream. The skim milk that tasted so watery back then, I will now add ice to on a hot day.

The 2nd example that comes to mind because of the direct relationship, is all the foods I will now drink milk with. When I was dating my future wife, I would often go over for dinner. Once again I had the good luck to have another great cook making food for me. On Fridays, though, it was usually pizza night. Since I train on Fridays before going over, I realized I needed protein with my pizza.

I remember the funny look on my wife’s face when she asked me what I wanted to drink and I replied milk. I have to admit once again, it was not at first my favorite. Like most, you get use to having pizza with a soda or maybe ice tea at the local pizza place. Now milk is my favorite thing with pizza. I will drink it with most anything, like Chinese food, too, when we order it.

Some will still make faces and say “how can you drink milk with that?” It is just one of those things. You make the change and you get use to it. I once read that in some of the big coffee producing countries, the locals prefer what we would consider a very “low grade” coffee. This seemed odd to me until I realized why. All the “high grade beans” are shipped out for sale. So they are left with the lower grade beans to make their coffee. It is now what they are use to and it tastes better to them.

You will find various cases of this kind of acquired taste. For example, people will favor their mother’s sauce over others. You may like a certain brand of product that your family always uses (Heinz Ketchup/ Boars Head cold cuts). Some will like a particular kind (white bread/American Cheese) or flavor (ice cream/yogurt) of others. Here in NY you will always hear people complain that they can’t get a decent slice of pizza or bagel out of state (by the way, I have no idea why that is).

Once you realize that a lot of the food you are eating is stuff you have become use to, it just becomes a matter of changing your habits and acquired tastes and it really is not that hard. I like to start off by telling everyone that when you have the choice of what you are going to eat, make a healthy decision. Then, when you are in situations such as holidays and parties, again try to make healthy decisions when you can. But if you would like to have a piece of cake and can afford to, then have one.

I hope that you all will understand what I am saying here… The reason most diets fail is that they become very restrictive of what you can and can’t eat. That and the limited amounts of food cause people to make too many changes at once. Therefore the person on the diet feels too restricted and “falls off the wagon.” They were not able to make the “lifestyle changes” necessary to succeed.

That being said, I am going to hit most of you over the head with a brick with this first recommendation. You are all wrestlers (former wrestlers, wrestler’s moms, dads) you are suppose to be tough. So eliminate ALL fast foods, candies, cakes, chips, dips, cookies, and sodas. Basically anything that comes in a plastic wrapper, foil container or other packaging that sits on a shelf.

They are loaded with salt, sugar, bad fats, chemicals, and other garbage that you can’t pronounce. Also, they are highly processed with little or no nutritional value. Plus, if you are eating that crap, you are not eating something good for you. Remember FAT has 9 calories per gram. While PROTEIN and CARBOHYDRATES have 4. So avoiding ALL bad fat is extremely important for the wrestler!

Everyone needs to make healthy selections and here is another good idea. Get your family on board. Many sports and especially wrestling become family affairs anyway. So sit down and explain it to your mom and dad sisters and brothers. Mostly everyone can eat healthier, and many of us can stand to loose a few pounds as well.

Most Wrestling moms will be more than happy to get involved with the wrestlers diet anyway. They are always concerned about what if anything the kid is eating. They can help greatly by getting all the garbage out of the house. If it is not there, chances are the kid will choose something that is readily available rather then going out to buy something himself.

One of the basic ideas I recommend is to get a good amount of lean protein with each meal. Please remember this is intended to be a BASIC article with a good starting point on which to build on. So a great deal of amounts and different eating plans I will not be getting into. Some good sources can be milk, eggs, chicken, steak, fish, and yogurt.

Some of the reasons for this recomendation of protien are that lean protein is difficult to break down, has AMINO ACIDS which are needed to heal, recover and repair muscle tissue. It is the bedrock nutrient in the physical renovation process, feeding battered muscles after an intense wrestling practice.

FIBROUS CARBOHYDRATES is another must have! Some examples are carrots, broccoli, greenbeans, salad greens cabbage, spinach and the likes. Certain fibrous carbs require as many calories to digest as they contain. They also have a “roto rooter” effect cleaning you out as they pass through the digestive system. It is important to get plenty together with your protein.

For breakfast good choices would be eggs, milk, juice, oatmeal, and some cereals. When choosing juice make sure it is 100% juice, companies spend a great deal of money playing games with labels. There is an endless amount of choices when it comes to cereals. If you are use to chocolate covered sugar bombs, you may have to make small changes 1st to get accustomed to a different taste. Try something similar to how I went about it with the milk.

Lunch is where you have to be DISIPLINE because you will usually be making the choices of what to eat yourself. Most schools will offer something healthy everyday. If you go out for lunch choose a local deli or maybe a bagel joint that prepares “homemade” dishes. Rotisserie or grilled chicken, steamed veggies and rice, lean cuts of fresh meats are all good choices. Drink 100% juice, milk or water. If you get a sandwich order it on whole wheat bread, have mustard instead of mayo.

For Dinner eat what your mom makes. Hopefully she is a good cook, in any case HOMEMADE is often best. Again chicken, fish, lean cuts of steak are all good choices. Try to choose healthy ways of preparing them. Grill them on a BBQ for example. Have a large salad as the 1st thing you eat. It will help to fill you up and add some important nutrition to your diet. Get fresh veggies for the salad and don’t ruin it with a heavy dressing. Use a little oil and vinegar or choose another “light” dressing.

You can add some more steamed or grilled vegetables and maybe a potato, rice, or a little pasta. Remember, watch what you add to it! It is all the butter, oils, creamy sauces or toppings that can ruin an otherwise heathly meal.

I would recommend that you eat a good amount of fresh fruit also. It is easy enough to throw an apple, orange, banana etc. into your school bag every day. You could also make a healthy TRAIL MIX. I buy a few different bags of nuts, seeds, and other things at TRADER JOES. Buy what you like and mix it up in a big Ziplock bag or Tupperware type container and you can grap a handfull to bring with you.

I mentioned Trader Joe’s and this is a good place to buy many healthy things. Depending on where you live, you may have other similar stores that offer good choices. Whoever does the shopping should find a store that is convenient enough for them to buy the family groceries from.

Another thing I would like to mention is an added PROTEIN/CARB DRINK. After an intense workout you have what is commonly called the WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY to get fuel into your body. This window is “open” for @ 1 hour. Bodybuilders, Powerlifter etc. have been drinking a shake immediately after their workouts for many years. For the wrestler this can greatly aid in recovery, and keep your muscles fueled and strong so you are ready for the next work out.

It is easy enough to do, too. Grab a shaker cup and dump a scoopful of powder into it. Throw it (unmixed) into your wrestling bag. After practice mix with water and ice if available, and drink it down. Don’t go crazy searching for the greatest powder mix. Go to the local heath food store and find one on sale with @ 50/50 mix of Protein and low glycemic carbs. No added sugar and maybe a small amount of fat is ok.

At the start of this article I mentioned how I was lucky to have my mom at home to cook for me. Believe me, what I took for granted then, I don’t now. I understand that in today’s world everything seems to go faster, people are busier and you may have mom and dad both working. This is where as a young man you have to take it upon yourself to shoulder some of the load.

The wrestler can help with the preparation of the food. This can be daily or for very busy families you can pick a time during the week to prepare food in advance. It is easy enough to help mom or dad make a few things either at night or on a weekend when you don’t have a tournament. Make enough for each week or if you feel it necessary, longer by freezing some.

You can help grill some chicken, for example, and put it in a container in the frig. Make some wild brown rice, steam some vegetables and do the same. Buying some pre-made salads when busy will help to save time, if needed. Now you can come home, heat your premade food in a microwave, open a bag of salad and you have a good meal.

Here is one other thing. Drink plenty of water! I understand that some use dehydration to make weight. Being dehydrated will affect your performance and can have much more serious effects when taken to extremes. When you are training hard and eating right, dehydration should not be neccessary.

Hopefully, this basic information will be helpful to you. If you are already doing many of these things, that is great, you are way ahead of most. You may be ready to begin taking another step to more advanced nutritional practices. If you are, or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Coach Ellinger


IN SEASON WEIGHT TRAINING

The wrestling season is now underway and this brings new challenges to the wrestler as far as maintaining his strength levels. The high physical demand of the sport is one challenge as is the amount of competitions one will wrestle over the course of the year. A new strategy is needed which we will discuss here.

The wrestling season is now underway and this brings new challenges to the wrestler as far as maintaining his strength levels. The high physical demand of the sport is one challenge, as is the amount of competitions one will wrestle over the course of the year. A new strategy is needed, which we will discuss here.

Everyone knows how hard practices are and how much energy is burned up to get through them. This is one reason adjustments will need to be made to your standard 4 days a week program. The other is matches and tournaments. It is not uncommon for there to be 2 or more competitions per week. This brings into play the time available to train and preparation/rest for your match.

It will take the most dedicated of wrestlers to adhere to a strict work out program. Every wrestler will have to decide if they are willing to make the extra commitment. Like most things, there is a price. To become a great athlete, as the saying goes, “that is real expensive!”

If you have made the choice that you are going to give everything you have and do everything within your power to become a champion, then let’s take a look at an IN-SEASON work out that should be viable to all. This will be a greatly abbreviated modification of the PROGRAM. There is just no way to keep up with that much work and wrestling at the same time.

Let’s 1st look at possible options as far as when to train; 1)morning (before school), 2) night, 3) before practice (most have some down time after school), 4) immediately after practice, 5) during school hours (if you have free time). Some of these may not even be an option for you. All of these have some advantages and disadvantages like getting up extra early/staying late or having to jog to or from practice, to name a few.

One must remember that the commitment may require others to also make the extra effort too. You may need coaches to arrive early or stay late. Parents may have to give rides if you can’t get to the gym or school yourself. Each wrestler will have to look at his own situation and determine what will work best for him.

Before you make this decision, here is the new program: 2 work-outs a week to go with your wrestling practices and competitions. I would perform FULL BODY work-outs. Hitting upper and lower body on the same day. Also, I would complete this work-out in @ 30-45 minutes. This should be obtainable for everyone.

I would do the same warm ups I recommended in the PROGRAM. If you are training immediately after practice, the general warm-up may not be necessary as you should already be completely warm (one of the advantages to this time slot).

Then I would pick 3 main exercises to do. Squat or Deadlift, Bench Press or Military, and a Rowing variation. I am going to assume that everyone is hitting plenty of Pull Ups and Chin ups in practice? Let’s take a look at a sample “day 1” work-out, where you choose Squats, Bench, and Low Cable Rows.

The GENERAL WARM UP should take you no more then 5 minutes tops. Remember, you are doing them in a circuit fashion from one to another. Another thing you can do to save time is throw your Squat warm up in with them. So it would look like this; Sit ups, Side Bends, ReverseHypers(or another back exercise) and Squats.

You go three times through and you should either be at or near your work sets. For beginning lifters I would stick to 4 sets of 10. More advanced trainees could do 4 X 10 one week and 5 sets of 5 reps the next. As you are Squatting, in between sets, you start to take your warm ups on the Bench. That is to say, you do a work set in the Squat and take a warm up in the bench.

This way when you are done Squatting you are ready to go in the Bench. I would use the same sets/reps as the Squat.Then hit Rows(you should be plenty warm) I would do 4 x 10 and if you stay focused on the task at hand you should finish in a rapid fashion.

The 2nd day (which should be a minimum of 48 hours later) you choose the three other exercises, Deadlift (preferably TrapBar), Military Press, and Barbell Rows. You complete it the same as day 1 and you have two good work outs done for the week. If you happen to have some extra time (i.e. you finished quickly), then you could pick another exercise from the PROGRAM that targets muscles you feel need work. I would not spend more then 45 minutes tops for the TOTAL work out.

If you need motivation just remember…as you’re putting in the extra time and effort, most are not. The price is too high for them. They are getting weaker as the season wears on! You will be getting stronger, and as the big tournaments roll around at the end of the season you will have a big advantage over your competition! I wish you all the luck you deserve. Contact me at ironwill@optonline.net Coach Ellinger.

THE PROGRAM part II

We begin here with Tuesday’s workout. The general warm-up for ALL days remains the same. Please look back at part one if you need to refresh your memory. The specific warm for the BENCH PRESS will also follow the same guidelines as the Squat. You will start with the bar X 10 repetitions and work up with the appropriate number of sets needed to reach your work sets.

We begin here with Tuesday’s workout. The general warm-up for ALL days remains the same. Please look back at part one if you need to refresh your memory. The specific warm for the BENCH PRESS will also follow the same guidelines as the Squat. You will start with the bar X 10 repetitions and work up with the appropriate number of sets needed to reach your work sets.

Here is the MOST IMPORTANT thing about bench pressing; NEVER DO THEM WITHOUT A SPOTTER! The bench press, because of the position that you are in with the weight over your body, can be potentially fatal. It is very unfortunate and all too common to hear of someone getting “pinned” under the bar while bench pressing. Continue reading “THE PROGRAM part II”

The PROGRAM part I

Before we get into the program we have to speak of several issues. As with any work out program or sports activity, you must get the proper MEDICAL CLEARANCE from a doctor. Make sure you lift with the proper supervision, equipment and spotters. Don’t attempt anything if you are unsure on how to do it. First, get instruction from a knowledgeable person.

Before we get into the program we have to speak of several issues. As with any work out program or sports activity, you must get the proper MEDICAL CLEARANCE from a doctor. Make sure you lift with the proper supervision, equipment and spotters. Don’t attempt anything if you are unsure on how to do it. First, get instruction from a knowledgeable person.

Also, make sure your equipment is in good working order and the area is clear and unobstructed. Always remember why you are training. You are training to become a better wrestler and/or other athlete. Stay within your limits and make slow steady weight increases. DO NOT sacrifice good form and proper RANGE OF MOTION(ROM), for heavier weights.

Wear the proper attire when training. We will discuss this a little later in this article. Make sure that you and others are not fooling around when someone is engaged in lifting. In other words, use some common sense and if you don’t have any, find someone who does to help you.

This program is set up for the athlete or team that is training at their school’s work out facility. I have used it for many years with several schools and sports programs. I last used this program in a school setting while working at Plainedge High School. Many have talked about the impact that this program brought to the school.

For example, the year I got there the football team was coming off a poor year, going 1-7 if memory serves me correctly. The wrestling team was also just very average at the time. Within 3 years of implementing this weight training program, combined with the athletes’ commitment and all the coaches hard work, the football team made the county finals and the wrestling team became a perennial power in Nassau County.

What I have done is modify the current program I use to better suit the availability of your average high school weight room. It is a 4 day program that is done on Mon., Tues., Thurs., and Fri. This should make it viable for most schools. It is divided into two lower and two upper body days. Mon. and Thurs. for lower body and Tues. and Fri. for upper.

Let’s talk about what you need to start. You must wear the proper clothes. I understand that shirts to your knees, shorts to your ankles that are 6 sizes too big so your ass is hanging out might be all the rage and you got to look fly. Here though we are not trying to impress the ladies, we are getting ready to work out. The clothes you would wear to wrestling practice should be fine.

The first thing you need is the right shoes. Converse Chuck Taylors(All-Stars) have become a cult favorite amongst Powerlifters. The soles are flat, which is a requirement. They come in the High Top version and this gives plenty of ankle stability. You can find them at most places that sell sneakers for relatively cheap, which is also good. If you have a pair of, dare I say… basketball sneakers that are similar, they will work fine. Some wrestlers will wear their wrestling shoes if they don’t have anything better.

The next thing you need is a notebook to record your work out. I always joke that you can commandeer one of your notebooks from school because this is important. With what’s happening in education these days I am not so sure this is a joke anymore. Just in case, go and buy a MARBLE notebook dedicated to your work out records. You will record the day, date, lifts performed with the weights used and repetitions completed.

This is all you will need to get started, don’t go out and waste money on a bunch of garbage. When it comes time to get a belt I can help you with what you need and where to get it. Absolutely do not buy those funny looking gloves that you see some people wearing. You know right away that they are not serious about training.

Lets get started, Monday is a lower body day and we start right off with the KING. When you Squat you should be doing it in a POWER RACK with the safety bars set at the correct height. This is an important safety issue and can not be over emphasized! The safeties should be set just under the bar height when you are at the lowest part of the squat. This can be the difference between a serious injury or being “saved” as the bars can catch the weight if you have any problems and can’t finish the lift.

You MUST BE TAUGHT THE PROPER WAY TO SQUAT! In the future, I have planed videos on proper lifting techniques. Until they are available I welcome everyone to come down so I can work with you on proper form. I do not know and therefore can not recommend anyone on LI outside of my gym that teaches proper lifting technique. Please, if you feel that you are qualified contact me! I would love to spread the word of your availability to all who visit our site.

Everyone goes through the warm ups listed in TRAIN III. This is your GENERAL WARM UP. We will start here with 10 sit ups on the slant board. 10 is just a starting number! If 10 is real easy, by all means do more. With side bends start light and add weight till you find the right amount that is somewhat challenging for 10 reps on each side. Do reverse hypers in the same general manner, that is add reps or weight as you can.

NOTE: if you do not have a Reverse Hyper Extension machine, do regular hyper extensions. If neither is available you will have to go to other options. please contact me and I will try and help you find the best option in your gym.

You then go to the specific warm ups for the exercise you are going to perform. Everyone warms up with the bar 1st. Young athletes may feel funny about this. I guess they think people will see them and make fun of them? Let me tell you that many big time lifters that I have watched, competed with and against warm up with the bar as do I and everyone who trains with me.

The reasons are simple, you want to warm the muscles and joints that are about to get worked hard. It is the same as wrestling, you don’t go right into live wrestling before warming up. Also, I like to see that the proper technique is being performed with the light weights. For example, and especially with a wrestler, you may have gotten “banged up” a little in practice. Your mentality is to shake it off and keep practicing! That is fine and something I would expect, but if it affects your lifting we want to know early on to prevent any possible injuries.

The amount of warm up sets usually depend on the amount you can lift. The more you lift, the more sets you will need to do before you get to your WORK SETS. Let me list what a warm up may look like for someone who is Squatting 225 for his 1st work set. Bar x 10, 95 x 10, 135 x 10, 185 x 10, then 225. While another person who is Squatting say 115 for his 1st work set might be, bar x 10, 75 x 10, 95 x 10 and then 115.

I am recommending 10 rep.(repetitions) sets. This is not a magical number but a good middle ground to start. By that I mean that you will be able to handle a fair amount of weight and still get plenty of repetitions which is very important. We want to build a strong foundation for future gains to be built on. Once again just like wrestling you want to get in a lot of practice reps. which is like drilling your shots over and over perfecting your technique.

The old saying comes to mind, I am sure you may have heard it. Practice makes; how does that go again? Oh yeah, practice makes perfect, right? Wrong! Practice makes permanent, and only perfect practice will make perfect. you must execute your lifts with proper technique. Whether in the wrestling room or the weight room, don’t just “go through the motions” you’re wasting your time.

After Squats you will move on to some assistance work. Here you will be able or might be able to make several choices. I would recommend Glute/Ham Raises if you have one, if not do Leg Curls. Do 4 sets of 10 repetitions(4 x 10). Then choose 1 of the following Step ups, lunges, 1 legged Squats and do another 4 x 10 with each leg. I would not add weight but rather add repetitions if the set is easy. That is to say, do 15-20 or even more reps.

When you start out take your time. Like all things there will be a learning process that you must go through. Many, if not all athletes who start with me will spend much of there first few work outs mainly doing the squat. We will spend a great deal of time just teaching the proper techniques. I will start out having them squat WITH NO WEIGHT just to make sure they have it down pat.

We then go to squatting with the bar and add weight according to each athletes ability until we find the proper weight for his work sets. THE AMOUNT OF WEIGHT YOU START WITH DOES NOT MATTER!!! Proper technique is all you should worry about. If you stay dedicated to this program you will begin to get strong very fast. Within a few months you will see some great gains.

For example, I had an athlete start with me who was a big kid at over 6 ft. and 330lbs. It was a struggle at first for him do to his size to control the bar and squat 95lbs! In less then 2 years he started develop into his great potential and was squatting between 365-385 for 10. the whole time I would tell him to “just stick with it- it will come”. As DR. KEN LEISTNER would say ” it is not the destination, but the journey.”

I will end part one here, hopefully you will make the commitment to dedicate yourself to becoming the best. Proper weight training will dramatically increase your strength levels, giving you an advantage over your opponent on the mat. Contact me if you need help, GOOD LUCK Coach Ellinger

TRAIN part III

Moving forward with part three I would like to go back to the beginning, WARM-UPS. I have all the athletes who train with me start by doing the proper warm-ups. The warm-ups we do target the CORE specifically. Now the word core has been thrown around lately in the fitness industry. It is one of those “buzz” words that became real popular, and then gets misinterpreted or misused.

When I refer to the core, I am talking about the body’s midsection. We target the entire abdominal muscles and the lower back. The warm-ups are simple enough that once an athlete is taught, he can move about hitting each exercise on his own. We do these in circuit fashion, which means to move from one exercise to another. This gets the heart rate up and the blood flowing. I usually have them go three times through the circuit. I have a minimum of 3 exercises that they must do.

Many of the veteran kids will do more warm-up sets and/or exercises. The warm-ups accomplish several different things; A) the athletes have an immediate direction and work to get done when they enter the gym, B) it works on the most important aspect of getting extra work-outs in: SELF DISCIPLINE, C) it warms the entire body up, and D) the most important thing it does is strengthen the midsection and prevent injuries!

SIT UPS, are 1st on the list. We use a slant board, but if you don’t have a board available you can do them right on the floor. Please note: I said SIT-UPS, I meant SIT-UPS. It baffles me how when EVERY team that I have seen (and I have seen most on LI), the coach says SIT-UPS, wrestlers do crunches. Some genius somewhere must have read how crunches are better then sit-ups. I love the answers I get when I ask, “Why are they doing crunches?” Coach, “it targets the abs. doesn’t involve the hip flexors, and sit-ups are bad for your back.”

I’m not going to go into how ridiculous this is. What I will say is, the real reason they do them is because they are easy and you let them! Watch the wrestlers doing these crunches! They go from bad, where the shoulders barely come off the mat, to worse. I like to call them “turtles”, because they look like a turtle on his back with his head moving but nothing else. Bottom line, if you train like some lady in spandex in an aerobics class, don’t expect great results on the mat.

The second exercise I would like to discuss is side bends. Hold a dumbbell in 1 hand and bend to that side so the dumbbell goes down the side of your leg to about your knee. Then straighten back up using the oblique muscles on the opposite side of your body. Do 10 reps., switch hands, and repeat. You have now hit the front and side of your midsection (CORE).

Now we need to hit the lower back and this is where a “special” exercise comes into play. We do REVERSE HYPEREXTENSIONS(white machine pictured in this article). We have at our gym a Reverse Hyper Bench, and every gym should have one! It was invented by the legendary strength coach and Powerlifter LOUIE SIMMONS of the monster maker gym WESTSIDE BARBELL.

Mr. Simmons invented The Reverse Hyper in part to rehabilitate his own bad back. In Short, a regular Hyperextension has your feet secured and your upper body moving, in the Reverse Hyper your upper body is stationary and your lower body moves. This has several advantages. Louie says, “the motion creates a slight stretch in the spinal column allowing fluids to enter.” This is good for the spine and they point out that, “since Westside started using it, they have had no back problems.”

Another advantage is the ability to use the machine for strength gains by using weight. The bench has a foot attachment so weight can be added easily. You can work up to quite a bit of weight which will help build a very strong back. As Louie stated in one of his latest articles, “A weak man has a weak back, a strong man has a strong back.” I would make the same statement about a wrestler.

When I was working at a local high school and we did not have a Reverse Hyper, I had the athletes use an adjustable “Jump Table” that the track team had. I raised it all the way up so the kids legs could swing under it, and we had a make shift way of performing the movement. Maybe you have something like this or better yet, maybe you should find a new place to train.

We do several other warm up exercises like T-bar and Russian Twists, straight leg sit ups with spread legs, Ape hangers, among others, but the three listed are a good start. I would add in NECK WORK! If you have a mat available, do your bridging! If not, put a towel or the likes on the floor and get your work in. A neck machine is another option.

Your neck cannot be big or strong enough. The unbelievable 21 inch neck of FARMER BURNS immediately comes to mind. Not only was he an amazing wrestler (holding the world title) and coach (trainer of Frank Gotch), his feats of neck strength seem impossible! I will not list them, but here is a piece of advice…DO NOT TRY THEM! You will get seriously killed!!!

We will now talk about ASSISTANT EXERCISE. As was previously stated in this article, you want to train the body as a “complete system.” You must take into account the relationship between your nervous system and your muscles. This is called NEUROMUSCULAR SPECIFICITY. In other words, the general pattern in which you gain strength must be the same as the way it will be used. Again, this is why we try to avoid most machines, isolated movements, and exercises that have you sitting down.

With this in mind here is what we like to do for leg assistants work; LUNGES, many variations to chose. We have an open area down the middle of our gym where we can perform my favorite, the lunge walk. You can also lunge forward or backward and then push back to the start. When you are strong enough, add weight by holding dumbbells or with a barbell.

ONE LEGGED SQUATS is another good choice. This exercise hits the QUADS (front of thigh) hard. It has the added benefits of working on balance and hitting the stabilizing muscles of the ankle too. Once you are strong enough, again, add weight. This time though I would only recommend holding dumbbells because of how tough it is to balance. This way if you lose your balance, you can drop the weights and not get injured.

We also do STEP UPS onto a box. The box height is set so your thigh is raised to a 90 degree angle to your body when you step. Again, when you become strong enough, add weight by holding a pair of dumbbells. All three of these exercises work the legs and hips, plus bring the calves and balance into play.

The SLED is next up and this piece of equipment has endless uses that I will write about in future articles. Now I am not talking about some wooded toboggan heading recklessly down some snow covered mountain with no direction (like your old work-outs maybe?) hoping you don’t hit the next tree. Admittedly this can be loads of fun, and good conditioning, too, dragging the stupid thing back up that hill. No, I’m talking about a weight sled.

You can drag this thing forwards and backwards, pull it with a rope and if you have the right one you can push it. One can train all parts of the body with the SLED and it brings strength conditioning into the equation.

At the start of this article you see the piece of equipment we use for doing the GLUTE/HAM RAISE. A tremendous exercise for the entire hamstring. You need this bench or one like it to perform them. If one is not available at your gym or if the athlete is not strong enough to do them correctly, a leg curl would be the next option.

For extra Triceps work you can do PUSHUPS with a close hand spacing or dumbbell extensions. I feel that STRAIGHT BARBELL CURLS are an important exercise for athletes. Here I must warn you; don’t do these in Kirt Karwoski’s Power Rack or a 45lb. plate may come flying at your head! The Biceps are the primary movers, but I like the fact that they build the forearms.

This should translate into greater gripping power which cannot be over emphasized. All you have to see is the brutal DAN HODGE (who you all should know) break a pair of pliers with his grip strength, and I am sure you will agree.

In conclusion, the 3 parts of TRAIN have given you all the exercises you will need to start a proper work-out program. Next week’s article will outline how to put that program together. Please ask any questions you may have or better still, make an appointment to come down and train. I thank you all for your support. Coach Ellinger

TRAIN – Part II

This dog is rumored to train with Coach Ellinger

In part one I gave you 3 lifts that should be the foundation of any program. When these lifts are performed correctly, amazing things start to happen. Your strength levels climb through the roof, and you start to see muscles you didn’t know you had.

Wrestlers who have trained with me in the past have said things like, “I’m hitting my moves much better and I’m pounding kids I could never beat before.” Others say, ” My mom is pissed because my clothes don’t fit and I have to buy new ones.” Some even say, ” I have all these girls chasing me. What should I do?”

I am always happy to see that the desired results of the work outs are being realized. Wrestlers start winning more matches. I tell the kid to apologize about the clothes. I know they can be expensive these days. As for the girls, I wish I had the answer. Men everywhere for a 1000 years, I’m sure, have been trying to solve this problem. You will have to figure that one out for yourselves. I wish you luck. The good news is, if you do find the answer you will be a very rich man.

I left off with the Bench Press and would like to start here with another important pressing movement. The MILITARY PRESS, sometimes called the overhead press. We perform them standing with a barbell and we press in the frontal plane not behind the head. Many of the past real big Bench Pressers, would do the Military press behind the head. Some could handle tremendous amounts of weight and it was not uncommon to hear of 400+ for reps.

There is a very important point to be made here. You are probably not a top bencher, benching in excess of 600lbs. You should not be training like one. The athlete’s goal is to become better at his chosen sport. This should dictate how you train. When the time comes for you to set records in strength sports, we will make the necessary adjustments to your training.

So I keep the press in front and feel it does not place unneeded stress on the shoulders, which we are trying to strengthen. While we are talking about the frontal plain, I also like doing PULLUPS(palms facing away from you)/CHINUPS(palms facing you) in front. Again for the same reason, to prevent the shoulders from being over stretched. If an athlete can’t perform this exercise, Pull downs using a high pulley can be substituted. It is not exactly the same but is a good 2nd option.

Lets move on to ROWS. There are several different variations. The two I feel are best are;  1) The LOW CABLE ROW and 2) BARBELL ROWS. Along with Pull Ups and Chin ups, these will help build a very strong upper back.

DIPS are another of my all time favorites. Many, including myself, consider them to be right up there with the pressing movements when it comes to building upper body strength. They are a rather tough exercise to perform even with just body weight. Some gyms may have dip/chin assistance machines. These machines are a good option for athletes who can not perform them without help. In our gym this is one of the many things we use JUMP STRETCH BANDS for.

The Jump Stretch Band can be hooked to a Power Rack or Dip station so the person performing the movement can step his foot or place his knee on the band. It then acts like a giant rubber band and adds a boost to the lifter. The Jump Stretch Bands are a relatively inexpensive item that most anyone could buy if not available at your gym or school. They have many other uses that I will talk about in future articles.

Please take note of ALL the exercises listed so far. They are all COMPOUND, MULTI-JOINT exercises. In short, this means you are moving two or more joints, and working two or more muscles. There is no one arm machine preacher curls here! This is for good reason. The body is not intended to work this way. It prefers and responds much better and faster to real lifting.

Once again, if your current gym or training facility has all machines or if the workout you are now doing has you using mostly machines and doing isolated movements, it is time to make some changes. You will find that these lifts are much more demanding. Like the old wrestling saying, ” If it wasn’t so hard – everyone would do it!”

I will end part 2 here and next week part three will go into some special exercises, proper assistance work, and warm ups. In closing, I want to thank all of you who have helped to get LIGHTHOUSE WRESTLING off to a great start! I appreciate all the positive responses and welcome all feedback. This site is for the wrestler. We want to continue to help promote the greatest sport with the coverage it needs and deserves. Please keep spreading the word to all your family and friends. Thank you, Coach Ellinger

TRAIN – Part 1

Once it is established that it is time to start weight training, the question “now what?” has to be answered. In this article I will first talk about what happens most often and the problem with this approach. Then I will give you what every athlete should be doing and the reasons for this.

Once it is established that it is time to start weight training, the question “now what?” has to be answered. In this article I will first talk about what happens most often and the problem with this approach. Then I will give you what every athlete should be doing and the reasons for this.

Let’s take a quick look at the whole ” fitness industry.” Here, with Billions of dollars to be made, is the start of the problem. There is so much misinformation, to put it kindly, that it borders on insanity. On occasion I have to get up in the middle of the night to give my son a bottle. I sit on the couch half asleep and search for something entertaining to watch. This never seems to be easy.

All I can find are the seemingly never ending infomercials. I laugh as I say to myself, “man why do we have any problems at all in this country.” I’m telling you there is everything you can think of out there. They can make you rich, famous, better looking. If you watch long enough they will get you girls, cook your meals, and sell you knives that will cut a truck in half and stay sharp. I mean for 3 easy payments of $29.95 you basically can become a rock star over night, not bad.

Leading all of this is the so called fitness industry. There are so many machines for fantastic abs. that I am still wondering why everyone isn’t walking around with 1/2 shirts to show off their six packs. If there claims are true, you can just buy the latest Bow Master 6000 with the optional quick mixer drink fixer. Pop a few pills and war-la, tell Ellinger to take a hike.

In the last muscle mag. that I had the pleasure to look at, I counted over 20 pages before I came to anything to read that wasn’t an advertisement. There are so many mixes and pills; it is impossible to keep track of them all. Every so often a new member of my gym will ask me what I think. It usually goes something like this. Hey coach what do you think of this animal builder with protein. It has 58 Amino Acids, Creatine fusion technology, and now with 25% more nitroglycerin.

At this point all the regulars at the gym quickly gather round. Some to see me pound the kid and get a few laughs, others to make sure I don’t. The nicer kids remind me that he’s new, and tell me what I always say. “Is it any wonder these kids have no clue with all this @#%* filling there heads. I then will almost always tell them, “Believe nothing that you hear and half of what you see.” The moral, If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

So you have a young athlete who wants to train, he’s bombarded with Bull$hit and he has to make some choices. He can head to the gym with whatever info that he has, and try to put some kind of a program together. He might ask his coach, gym teacher or local gym guru. Maybe he hires a personal trainer.

The Need for POWER

Unbelievable as it may hopefully seem to most reading this. Some in the year 2008 still do not understand the direct relationship of weight training and wrestling (and all other sports for that matter).

Unbelievable as it may hopefully seem to most reading this. Some in the year 2008 still do not understand the direct relationship of weight training and wrestling (and all other sports for that matter). If you have been involved with wrestling long enough, you have certainly heard, as I have, all kinds of comments, suggestions, and wonderful incites to strength training. Continue reading “The Need for POWER”

Welcome to Lighthouse Wrestling and The Iron Edge

To all readers I would like to welcome you to Lighthouse Wrestling, Long Islands newest and soon to be greatest website for all information on everything that involves wrestling.

To all readers I would like to welcome you to Lighthouse Wrestling, Long Islands newest and soon to be greatest website for all information on everything that involves wrestling. The Iron Edge’s goal will be to bring to LI wrestlers the best information on strength training and conditioning as it pertains to the sport of wrestling. Continue reading “Welcome to Lighthouse Wrestling and The Iron Edge”