T Nation

High School Wresting

I am going to join my school’s wrestling team next year, and I was hoping if guys could give me some training advice. I know that technique is the most important aspect of wrestling, but what I am here for is some training advice for over the summer

My current stats are:
Weight: 210
Height: 5’6"
BF%: my guess would be 20%, give or take

Bench: 215
Squat: 295
Deadlift: 405

By the end of the summer, I am hoping to cut down to around 185 (want to wrestle at 189, for height reasons) while at least maintaining (hopefully increasing) my strength.

Right now I am on Rippetoe’s Starting Strength (no bb.com mods, just the program from the book). On off days I work my grip, neck and do cardio.

For those of you unfamiliar with Rippetoe’s it is pretty simple.

Workout A:
Squat
Bench
Deadlift

Workout B:
Squat
OHP
Power Clean

I was thinking of adding Bent-over Rows/pull ups and switching one of the days to include either front squats or overhead squats, rather then back squats.

I was hoping that some one here could tell me if I am missing something from the equation or if I need to totally rethink my approach.

Thanks.

I’m a blue belt in bjj and I’ve worked a lot of wrestling as well. Conditioning is going to be way more important than strength and not the kind of conditioning you develop with running. Crossfit/Gymjones stuff works well along with HIIT. I’d look into some of that stuff along with regular strength training.

The mental side to head to head competition like wrestling, boxing, MMA, or jiu-jitsu is a whole other animal as well, its god to have a mentor who can work with you on it. A lot of the competition in combat sports is determined mentally rather than physically.

See if you can find someone to wrestle with. Sprints and high intensity stuff will help a lot, but there’s nothing like actually wrestling all out with someone. I’d also throw tabata method in there once or twice a week. Good luck.

Seeing how this is the strength sports forum I will give you some advice on your strength training.

I think your plan looks fine and you stand to do pretty well on a program structured like that.

The only question I would ask is what determines your weight progression. In other words, I assume you are using some form of periodization. What does it look like?

Your desire to cut 25#'s concerns me a little but if it is done slowly you should be fine.

Try to go to some training camps over the summer if you can, look for some type of class.

Also, a lot of people will tell you to focus on technique, but in high school if you get strong enough you really can out muscle most guys.

[quote]Fitnessdiva wrote:
I’m a blue belt in bjj and I’ve worked a lot of wrestling as well. Conditioning is going to be way more important than strength and not the kind of conditioning you develop with running. Crossfit/Gymjones stuff works well along with HIIT. I’d look into some of that stuff along with regular strength training.

The mental side to head to head competition like wrestling, boxing, MMA, or jiu-jitsu is a whole other animal as well, its god to have a mentor who can work with you on it. A lot of the competition in combat sports is determined mentally rather than physically.[/quote]

I would second this advice but would add if you don’t want to go with Crossfit or the like you should check out Ross Enamait (www.rosstraining.com/).

Also – you are heavy. And for your size the weights you posted are underwhelming. Meaning per pound you are very weak. I would suggest doing everything possible to drop your body fat and get as strong per pound as possible. Right now a low skilled but strong wrestler in your weight class would crush you. If you have never wrestled before – you too are low skilled. So your only hope, unless you are somehow gifted, is to get as strong as possible to make up for your lack of skill. Of course at the same time you still need to work on your basic skills as well. Because even a weak but skilled wrestler can crush a strong but clumsy wrestler.

Id look into Westside For Skinny Bastards for your strength program… Throw in some HIIT cardio, maybe Takus intervals & some wheelbarrow work. Work them hard & you should have pretty good conditioning.

i’ll just echo what everyone here said
you need a prepatory phase to get yourself in wrestling shape
then focus on getting your lifts up while maintaining your condition

and go to as man wrestling camps as possible

i hope kombatathlete can chime in.

Thanks for all the advice guys, just figured I would add some comments on some of your replies

Yeah, I know my weight:strength ratio is pretty poor, I meant to acknowledge it in my first post.

The weight progression I am using is just adding at least 5lbs to the bar every workout, while maintaining form.

It is 25lb’s over about 3-4 months period, which means I would be losing about 8 pounds per month or 1-2 a week.

I am planning on going to a few camps over the summer. I have wrestled briefly before and have done some bjj, so the learning curve shouldn’t be as steep as it would be otherwise, but I know I will need to work at it…hard.

Again, thanks for all the help.

You aren’t as weak as some of the above posters mentioned for your weight, for the most part. The top 25% or so are stronger than you, as is the occasional oddball, but if this is your first year then you shouldn’t be thinking about that level of competition. Many elite wrestlers have been wrestling before middle school and/or are genetic freaks who could have very good records if they fell out of the couch and onto the mat. Set realistic goals for yourself and proceed from there. That’s probably the most important thing you can do for yourself. You aren’t going to be going to the States your first year.

I think you will be surprised how little “strength” in the conventional sense matters. Technique beats strength as long as you aren’t totally outmuscled, which you won’t be too often. Although the upper echelon will probably consistently be outmuscling you, technique is your first priority. Go to as many folkstyle clinics as you can. Make sure the camps you go to aren’t going to be over your head. If you wrestle hard a few times a week and do sprints or something similar once or twice a week, your cardio should be fine. You should work your grip more than normal, because just about everything in wrestling involves it.

You should cut to 189. Honestly, 210 to 189 isn’t that big of a cut. For a fitness enthusiast or a layperson it is, but not for a serious strength or combat athlete. It would be unusual for someone at that weight and height to stay at 215 unless your body was one giant slab of muscle. 215 and 189 are different worlds. 215 gets a lot of 220-240 lb monsters sucking weight because they don’t want to wrestle 275.

In the fall I wrestled with someone who was around 175/180 and would kick the shit out everybody around his weight, including me (I was about 20 lbs heavier). At the end of the season I watched from the stands when he wrestled in the sectional finals at 145, and he barely placed in the section the year before. And that weight was lost pretty close to crunch time. I’m not condoning that kind of weight class, just putting it in perspective. The 20 lbs shouldn’t be a problem for you. You’ll probably lose 10 lbs from practice anyway, so don’t lose too much weight beforehand.

Also, make sure to speak to your coach. He may need a 215 or 189 lber.

I should add that you should focus on your upper body more. Wrestling does involve the legs a lot but it involves the upper body a lot more. You only use the legs on the feet, and even then its about lower body speed for the most part. On the mat and in most situations on the feet its upper body dominant. I used to emphasize legs more until I saw many good wrestlers who would qualify as “light bulbs” and realized why.

Thanks a lot KombatAthlete, that was really informative.

I will definitely be working on my upper body strength since that is a weak area of mine.

I also know what you mean about technique. I remember while doing bjj and during my brief stint with wrestling (it was really only a few months) being put to shame trying to muscle guys.

I wasn’t really worried about the cut, was just answering a concern from one of the above posters.

Also, I was thinking about possibly wrestling at 171, if I reach my current goal of 185 sooner then expected.

I talked to my coach and he has a lot of weight classes graduating this year. 171, 189, and 215 were all mentioned, but I feel I would be best fit for either 171 or 189 because of my height.

Thanks again for all your help.

I’m just gonna warn you,(as a strong unskilled wrestler) that strength really really helps. Sure a well skilled weak guy will rip you a new asshole. But he would rip two new assholes in the weak unskilled guy.

I’d suggest you cut to 195 and work mainly on getting very very lean and strong. Cutting to 195 will give you more time and energy to work on other stuff than 185. Also condition like crazy. Do things that are probably unhealthy but prepare your psychological toughness. Do 5 mile runs in 105 degree weather. Jump rope in a sauna in 5 layers of clothes. Do everything from that one Dan John article in one workout (10 min lift, tabata, then 100 singles). These may even make you a worse athlete, but they will prepare you mentally for how pathetically tired you will be in the 3rd period. When you want to die but you still have to move explosively.

I’d like to note that compared to KombatAthletes post, mine is shit.

I still recommend the mental conditioning things. Practice shooting single after single after single.

If your going to focus on strength, learn the hiptoss. Learn it well. Practice it constantly.

I would contend that the lower body is just as important, if not more important in wrestling than the upper body. Now days wrestling matches are won and lost on the feet. The tactic of takedown-let him up-takedown-let him up wins a lot of matches. You get 2 points for a takedown and he gets one point for an escape. As the saying goes, if you get more 2s than 1s you?re going to be the winner at the end.

If you think about it when you are on the feet in the tie-up all of the pushing and pulling (the basis of the setups in the tie-up) is done with the legs. In a double or single, all of the drive is done with the legs.

Even on the ground if you are applying a half-nelson you turn the guy over by pushing with your legs while isometriclly holding him with the half nelson and staying chest-to-chest. This isn?t to say that there aren?t a lot of pushes and pulls using the upperbody in wrestling, but I think that most of the power comes from the legs in nearly all of them.

In the end though, technical ability is going to win or lose the match. You will never just out muscle someone who has better technique than you.

If you want to the answer the legs vs upper body debate, look at the physiques of the top wrestlers in the room the next time you are at a tournament or clinic. Most are very upper body heavy, which I think is one of the main reasons many wrestlers look much heavier than they really are. If you get muscled out of the tie-up, you will never have the takedown to begin with.