Wrestling, which dates back to ancient times, has long been considered one of the most difficult and demanding sports. Olympic champion Dan Gable put it simply when he said, "Once you have wrestled, everything else in life is easy."
Throughout the year, wrestlers' bodies take a beating from practices, meets, tournaments and weight demands. The physical strain causes many wrestlers to lose some of their strength and power over the course of a season.
To stay strong throughout the season, perform bodyweight exercises like the Single-Leg Reaching Deadlift, Push-Up With Knee Tuck and Broad Jump. Add these three fundamental exercises to your workout program once or twice a week.
Single-Leg Reaching Deadlift
During a wrestling match, you find yourself on one leg more than you might think. You spring forward on one leg when shooting in on an opponent, or hop on one leg to resist a takedown. The Single-Leg Reaching Deadlift increases single-leg strength to help maintain balance and control when moving around the mat or fighting off an opponent.
- Assume single-leg stance
- Kick hip back and bend slightly at knee
- Lean over and touch ground with hands; keep body in straight line
- Extend hip and knee to return to start position; keep opposite foot off floor
- Repeat for specified reps; perform set on opposite leg
Sets/Reps: 2-3x10-12 each leg
Push-Up With Alternating Knee Tuck
Upper-body pushing exercises are important for pushing an opponent away, resisting a takedown and avoiding a pin on the ground. You also need sufficient core strength and hip mobility to move without restriction to get into position to attack or defend. The Push-Up With Knee Tuck increases upper-body pushing strength, hip mobility, core stability and coordination.
- Assume push-up position
- Lower to ground and simultaneously bring right knee to right elbow
- Drive up off ground and extend right leg behind body to return to start position
- Perform rep with left leg
- Continue in alternating fashion for specified reps
The last exercise for wrestling is the Broad Jump, a plyometric exercise that develops lower-body power. Generating force from the ground is essential in wrestling, especially when it comes to taking down opponents.
- Assume athletic stance
- Lower into quarter squat and swing arms backward
- Explode with legs and swing arms to propel body forward as far as possible
- Land on balls of feet with bent knees to absorb impact
- Repeat for specified reps
Incorporating these exercises will help you maintain strength and power throughout the grueling wrestling season. If you're facing an athlete who matches your skill at the end of the season, you'll have a clear advantage if you've been working through these exercises throughout the season.
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