Central Michigan’s wrestlingteam has won eight straight conference titles and four consecutive conference tournaments. But the Chippewas don’t dominate the Mid-American Conference mats just by showing up. According to their strength and conditioning coach, Craig Swieton, the Chippewa grapplers sustain long-term success by working their linear speed so they can control opponents like puppets.
“Having linear speed helps you keep opponents in front of you, which is always important,” he says. “We want our athletes to initiate the shot, because you never want to move backwards or to get driven back by an opponent.”
Swieton loves using the Plate Step-Up with his team. It helps them gain lighting-quick linear speed and also works their grip strength. “With this exercise, we really stress a good, explosive knee drive to strengthen their hips,” he says. “We combine that with holding onto the plates during the movement to increase grip strength, which helps wrestlers engage and hold an opponent.”
The Chippewas perform the following exercise once a week throughout the year.
• Stand in front of 18-inch plyo box while holding 25-pound plate in each hand at sides
• Step up with left foot, then drive right knee up as high as you can
• Come to full standing position on left leg, then step down with right leg
• Perform same movement on opposite leg
Sets/Reps/Rest Time: 3/6 each leg/45 seconds
1. To increase grip strength, hold the edges of the plates.
2. Never allow the leg that is exploding to touch the box.
3. Stay flat-footed on the box when you explode.
4. Focus head straight forward, with your eyes looking slightly upward.
5. Stand tall and maintain good knee drive throughout the movement.