No one goes down willingly in a wrestling match. Your opponent will do whatever it takes to get out of your hold and make a move. That’s why a strong core, which can transfer power throughout the body, is essential to becoming an elite wrestler. And training your core in a circuit fashion—one exercise after another with minimum or no rest—will prepare you for the constant stress of a match.
Consider adding Indiana University’s Core Circuit to your off-season training program.
Josh Eidson, IU’s strength and conditioning coordinator, emphasizes hitting the abs in all planes of motion. He prescribes four core exercises; and his wrestlers perform them in circuit fashion, taxing their aerobic capacity, getting a metabolic workout and preparing them for the rigors of intense matches.
Eidson calls this a full-body workout that emphasizes the core. Holding a weighted plate, lie down on your back and touch the weight to the floor behind your head. Use momentum to sit up and explode to your feet in a squatting position. As you stand up, press the weight over your head before going back to the ground in a controlled fashion.
- Perform in one fluid motion
This Sit-Up exercise, with straight arms and a weight plate, increases strength in the shoulders while working the core. Start on your back with knees bent and feet on the ground, holding a plate straight out from your chest. “As you sit up, the plate will go above your head,” Eidson says.
To maximize the benefits, go through the full range of motion, touching your chest to your knees and coming back down in a controlled fashion. Eidson suggests holding tension in your core by taking one or or two seconds to descend back to start position.
- Touch chest to knees and stay under control
To work the obliques and rotational force, sit holding a weight plate at your chest with your legs bent and feet off the ground. Twist your torso by moving your upper body and the plate to the right while your legs move to the left. Use the force generated in your core to quickly rotate your upper body back to the left and your legs to the right. Repeat.
- Shoulders should be in line with space between knees when twisted.
This exercise builds strength in the low back. On a hyperextention machine, straighten your back in a controlled fashion. Hold for a second before returning to start. Go through the full range of motion, but do not overextend. “The biggest thing with Hyperextension is, you don’t want to overextend,” warns Eidson. “If you swing or overextend…you can actually fracture your spine.”
The video above demonstrates how to perform the entire core circuit. Adding it to your workout will improve your ability to withstand force when an opposing wrestler makes contact and give you the rotational force and strong core necessary to take him down.