The Oklahoma Sooner wrestling team, currently ranked seventh in the nation, has dominated opponents from the start of the season. In a Big 12 match later this week, they look to snap an eight-year losing streak against #16 Iowa State.
One advantage the Sooners have is a grueling in-season strength training program, which their wrestling S+C coach Tim Overman describes as both mental and physical prep throughout the season. He says, “There is such a huge mental aspect that goes along with [in-season strength training]. You’re trying to get something out of it other than just the lifting aspect. You’re trying to teach them how to be tough and teach them how to push themselves.”
With a strength training regimen added to their already-difficult practice schedule, Oklahoma wrestlers push their bodies to the limit, fight through adversity in the weight room and mentally overcome a demanding week of training—all for a seven-minute match. Their weight room work not only mimics the mental exhaustion of a match, it also imitates movements done on the mat and helps strengthen their overall power output.
The Lateral Lunge and Press is a great example of an exercise that tests the Sooners’ physical and mental limits. By combining a lower body exercise [Lateral Lunge] with an upper body component like the Overhead Press, athletes are forced to transfer power from their feet all the way up to their hands—simulating the movements they make in matches. The Sooners perform three sets of five to eight reps on each side, right after their Squat exercises. The demand on their bodies forces the athletes to mentally fight through fatigue and adversity, which are common match conditions.
“There is always a direct correlation between what we are doing in the weight room and how we [perform] on the [mat],” says Overman. “Whether you’re pushing somebody off or trying to hold them off with your hand, all that power comes from your feet, and that’s what we focus on.”
By constantly mimicking the physical movements that occur in a match—both in practice and in the weight room—the Sooners are able to finish nearly every match on top of their opponents, with their arms raised high in victory.
Watch the video above to gauge the intensity of the Oklahoma wrestling team’s in-season training. Visit STACK TV for more Sooner wrestling exercises.