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College Wrestler In-Season Lifting?


hi im a college wrestler who's currently in season. I always lift hard in the off-season-about 3-4 times a week and try to do the same when i have a chance during my wrestling season. Its very hard for me to keep lifting regurarly however, with all the meets and tournaments.

Can anyone give me any advice on some good programs for an in-season athlete. Ive resorted to only lifting about once a week and ive considered crossfit. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


This was a pretty good workout we would do mon. wed. and fri. workeds pretty well for us.

Warm Up

Clean pull 2x5

Part 1:
10 rounds of each exercise as fast as you can. 1 min. rest between each round.

Power Clean (~60-75% max) 5 reps
10 pull ups (add weight if needed)
10 box jumps (high as you can go)

Part 2
5 rounds each exercise as 1 min. rest between rounds
RDL (same weight as power clean) 8 reps
25 crunches
25 push ups

Part 3
Same idea as before only 3 rounds this time

Standing shoulder press 10 reps
barbell high pulls 10 reps
curls 10 reps

this is a very general summary of what we would do. usually it would change a little based on time and just to mix it up. the main idea is to really bust it hard. this as you may notice can help a lot with conditioning. now somebody else may have better advice but this is a pretty good program i feel.


gives an inseason template 2/3rds down the page. Tested and true.



Was that 10 sets of 10 power cleans in every workout as just one of 3 parts to the workout?

I am not sure if you can manage sets of 10 at 80% of max if I read you correctly but an interestingly constructed circuit and an impressive amount of work none the less.

I think that I would burn out far too quickly if having to do that training 3 times a week on top of practice and competing but others might be able to handle it. It looks good for once a week although not sure I could get through the 10 sets of part A.


We did not put a big emphasis on lifting
in college.
Div 3 we had no weights so thats 2 years no weights. It didn't hurt me at all.

Div 1 we might have managed 2 maybe 3 1 hour sessions a week at most.

I think it depends on recovery- how banged up are you from the rest of your training?

And what weight class are you in?

If you are in the heavier weight classes
where strength plays a bigger role, then I can see the need for it.

If you are a smaller guy, not as much.

If you absolutely needed to do some lifting
I would suggest something like this.
aside from your other conditioning.

People can debate the merits of any in season program or the exercise selection
I would stick with the basics and avoid
things that wont help you
like a big bench.

power cleans
snatch grip dead lifts or high pulls
weighted pull ups
one arm OH press with dumbells

front squat
bulgarian split squat.
one arm snatches or full snatches
(if you can or if your body can take it)

throw in plenty of hanging leg raises

you can do these heavy like
3x3, or 4x2 or 8x2

Or you could do barbell complexes...
for some conditioning
and naturally a really small load will kick your ass.

bent over row
hang clean
front squat
oh press
reverse lunges
jump squats

8 reps each don't ever put the bar down
do it for four or five rounds

we did crap like this
when I got to Div1 program with plenty of plyometric and sprinting
more like this later when I got to the OTC.

I left out all plyo,bodyweight,stuff, etc
because arent you getting that in practice?

anyway really I found its about being strong where it counts
and having more speed/conditioning.

Now you might find the crossfit stuff
is good for you, and the randomness of it might help breakup your training.
and just keep it fresh.



You should be getting adequate conditioning during practice in-season. Crossfit will likely be excessive as an anaerobic and CNS stressor on top of practices.

In-season, the focus should be on strength maintenance (low volume, as little as a few doubles and triples around 85% is sufficient for me to maintain strength in the major lifts) and prehab/mobility work to keep you healthy. Upper back, shoulder, and hip integrity and mobility are key.

Wrestling beats the crap out of you. LESS IS MORE.

I was about to write out a weekly program here, but realized that Cprimero's post is basically exactly what I was thinking of. Go with that.


Personally this is something you might want to discuss with your coach and get his opinion. You also don't want to be doing shit that is going to sap your energy for practice.

^ya, damn even I can't do that shit and I'm a borderline freak.


only thing i MIGHT add is ONE interval type set up...

30s 1 arm snatch
30s burpees
30s barbell jerk
30s back squat

Thats 2 min, you can run through it a few times however you want between 2-5min imo and rest as you feel necessary. do maybe 2-3rounds if you'd like. but tailor it to YOUR wrestling.

Hell imo have that be just ONE workout. do that and then call it quits.

as someone above me said... in season LESS is more.

you're not going to improve much strength and evening conditioning-wise 2-3weeks b4 a match. What you want to do right now is MAINTAIN. that is your best bet. That complex i posted is fucking PUSHING it.


my bad i meant 10 sets of 5 reps. yea 10 reps would be a little much haha. and as far as lifting 70-80% of max thats just an general number. you want to be able to move the bar with explosiveness and speed the whole time so you probably will start out lighter then work up to 70%. play with it a little and find out what makes you want to puke and that is the weight you should use


if you had a sick pull though (ie already very strong), and needed to gain weight 10x10 power cleans and 10x10 back squats just sounds like it would put slabs of muscle on you. I might play with that sometime... i like ideas that really go against the norm... no idea how im fitting it in this year though


a really good goal to set for yourself as sort of a test is to be able to do the following:

10x10 power clean (lift your bodyweight)
1000 pushups in one week
1000 pull ups in one week

you aim to do the power cleans 3 times in one week while the pushups and pullups are spread out throughout the week


I always got plenty of conditioning and speed work in practice. I always thought my energy was better spent in practice, so I didn't do much lifting in season. I would just do limit strength work.

Maybe twice a week pick an upper body and lower body exercise that you can move a lot of weight with. Do heavy doubles or triples. Clusters would probably be good, especially with movements that really don't lend themselves to heavy doubles or triples.

DL and weighted Pull-ups
GM and weighted dips
Squats and some kind of heavy row

In season I would be careful with pressing exercises, but that's just me. I always air on the side of saving my shoulders and wrestling beat the shit out of my shoulders.

I always thought my pressing strength was essentially worthless in wrestling. Upper/Mid back, arm, and grip strength are probably more important. I did most pressing work and that was probably a mistake.

As someone else mentioned before, it probably depends on your weight class and current strength. If you do your work in the off season, in season weights should be minimal. I was always strong for my weight class, so my energy was better spent on the mat where I needed the most work.


I think that most here agree that:

  1. Wrestling takes priority
  2. Training in season then has to fit in with the demands imposed by competition not the other way round.

Having said that just looking at stand alone anaerobic sessions some of you may have come across an article entitled ?Wrestling and Olympic style lifts: In season maintenance of power and anaerobic endurance?

The program consisted of one modified Olympic lift such as the power clean performed every 5-10 seconds for 2-3 minutes repeated 2-3 times.

A similar approach is by Ethan Reeves with his ?10 minute drill? designed for wrestling:
2-3 reps of an explosive exercise every 30 seconds for 20 sets say 12-15 secs per combo with 15-18 secs rest.

I have no idea whether this intermittent approach or even a more traditional 30 secs on/off approach works better in practice than say:

Xen?s 4-6 x 30 seconds for a 2- 3 minute session or any other continuous combination including:

Variations of Javorek complexes
Crossfits 5 x 1 minute ?Fight Gone bad?
Martin Rooney?s Hurricane training
The Crawl- praised by Sentoguy
Lyons4398 prog above

Any experience?


I mean, all that stuff is pretty cool, and I'd love to try it, but I walked on to a D1 wrestling team freshman year of college and did a bunch of extra conditioning work in addition to practice (mostly Javorek complexes and CrossFit), and frankly it hurt more than it helped. If there are extra workouts in addition to practices, I think they should be oriented toward strength maintenance and rehab/prehab rather than additional anaerobic conditioning. Anyone who's wrestled in college will tell you that practice is conditioning all the way through.


I had to bust ass to get to D1 after D3... and I had to do
a bunch of extra workouts...and have to agree with extra work being sometimes too much.

I ended up doing huge amounts of roadwork,
to the tune of 10 to 13 miles a day-
that is what was popular then
Really it was to let me eat more.

I spoke earlier about what we did in the weight room.
If your a bigger dude... 185+ then some more lifting might make more sense.


our program was more of a maintenance program. we would spend off season building strength then use this program to keep conditioning and strength. most work outs were done outside of practice though


In season, cross fit would be excellent if you have any energy left after practice.

Wrestling conditioning in my experience basically is cross fit.

As far as weight lifting, just try to maintain the strength you built in the off season.

Between all the cutting, energy expense at practice and in meets, travel etc it will be very tough to expect any kind of gains.

In your next off season build up more strength again.