T Nation

Off Season Wrestler??


This is my first real post, however I have been lurking since 2002, so hopefully this post doesn?t come out as sounding too dumb.

I am a wrestler, and I am trying to plan my off -season training phase. I am looking to gain 10-20 lbs of muscle and increase my PR?s in the Olympic and Power lifts by as much as possible. I already have an idea as to what I am going to do to achieve these goals, however before I begin bulking up, I wanted to try and lose the rest of this baby fat that I have clinging to my midsection. I read one of Don Alessi?s old columns in which he mentioned alternating between Meltdown I and II every 2 weeks for 8 weeks, and I decided to do this.
I?ve made it through the first two weeks of Meltdown I and have lost about 5 lbs of fat. However I?m concerned about the possible loss of strength that is associated with high volume programs such as Melt Down. I was thinking of adding in a few short duration, low volume and high intensity strength sessions in the mornings so as to maintain my strength during my next cycle of Meltdown I. One possible concern with Meltdown is the possible over training that can occur, so I was thinking of doing a body part split even though this is normally something to avoid. I realize that full body workouts are they way to go, however I think that doing those on top of meltdown would just be to much. Intercollegiate wrestling practices have built up my work capacity to a fairly high level and I think I can handle all the volume that this plan would involve.

That being said, I was looking at something like this:

Day 1 Am: Horizontal Pulling

Bent Over Barbell Rows 5,4,3,2,1
Snatch Grip Rack Pulls /w Shrug 5,4,3,2,1

Day 1 Pm:
Meltdown I Day 1

Day 2 Am: Legs

Power Squat 3-4x3

Day 2 Pm:
Meltdown I Day 2

Day 3: OFF

Day 4 Am: Horizontal Push and Pull

Chest Supported Row 5,4,3,2,1

Bench Press 5,4,3,2,1

Day 4 Pm:

Meltdown I Day 3

Day 5 Am: OFF

Day 5 Pm:

Meltdown I Day 4

Day 6: OFF

Day 7: OFF

I realize that I lack leg strength exercises in this routing, but the leg volume in Meltdown is already more than enough for me, and I am more concerned about building up mass in my posterior chain, which I have done through my own modifications to the Meltdown template.

Any thoughts or suggestions?




How much time do you have before the season starts? I think you might want to just focus on adding muscle if the fat's not too bad and cut down all at once before the season.

What you DON'T want to do is come into the season with fat to lose and resort to the traditional starvation diet that most wrestlers use. Go in lean. Less stress on your body and less/no muscle loss caused by extreme dieting.



The season is just coming to an end. We had our conference championship last weekend, and besides practicing with the guys going to nationals my season is over. I have about 6 months until we start practicing as a team again, so i have plenty of time to do all this.
I weigh 247 lbs at about 15-17% bodyfat, and I'm only dropping the fat so as to improve my speed and agility. I wrestle heavyweight. As far as eating goes, I'm just trying to follow the recomendations that CT made in his Carb cycling codex.


My honest impression is that most wrestlers vastly overtrain year-round. At your weight, does your coach make you run the same as everyone else? If so, and you are 15-17% after the season, you are not going to loose the rest of the fat by doing ANY amount of ANY kind training. The only way for you to loose fat is to reduce the stress on your system, reduce the production of catabolic hormones, and reduce systematic inflammation.

I would try the "flame out" supplement based on what I've seen. I would try to eat more often, but try the P+C and P+F method (Alessi's articles I think).

Make every rep of your training count. Don't train for muscle size or fat loss, train for maximal strength, explosiveness, form, balance, and flexibility. You may want to try yoga as well.

Probably not what you wanted to hear. Sorry.


Its not necessarily what I wanted to hear, but I'm open to any suggestions. We do about an hour of live wrestling a day as well as various HIIT type conditioning workouts at the end of practice. From August to October we have "conditioning" practices which consist of 6-7 mile runs 3-4 days a week.
My biggest concern is that right now my body is used to expending a lot of energy every day, and very shortly my energy demands are going to be a lot smaller if I don't keep working out. Its very common for wrestlers to gain 20-30 lbs after the season, and I DON'T want to be walking around at 270-280 again. However I do understand what is being said about wrestlers being chronically overtrained, and wouldn't mind having an easier part of the year so as to let my body heal. Any suggestions programming wise?


During the off season, don't be afraid to let your conditioning take a back seat to strength training. Strength training takes years to build up, while you can get in top shape in a matter of a couple months cardiovascularly.
When I was training, I never actually had an offseason, as the greco and freestyle season was what I excelled in. However, after nationals, I continued to wrestle, but stopped conditioning till pre-season.



I'm not afraid of letting my conditioning slide, I'm worried about gaining weight though. I realize that I can't maintain myself at peak levels of conditioning year round, however I was thinking that meltdown would serve as an effective means of ramping down my work capacity(to an off season level) while burning some extra fat. I was planning on transitioning into a program focused on building strength and power after this 8 week cycle of meltdown. Lack of strenght was my biggest disadvantage this year, and thats why I'm was thinking of incorporating the extra workouts into the meltdown program.


Do you still compete? And if so, at what level?


would it help if I posted a picture of myself with a shoe?


No, but it'd help if you listened.

Are you switching weight classes?

Have you checked out Berardi's book; Grappler's Guide to Sports Nutrition?


he is already at heavy and he said he wants to gain, so maybe you shouldnt chide people to listen if you arent doing it yourself

to the OP, do you have an off season wrestling club?? that is really the best way to get better. how tall are you? if you are kind of fat, why dont you drop to 215?

more to your point, i think iowa or minnesota not sure which has their strength program on a website(or at least they used to)


In NCAA wrestling there is no 215lb weight class, only 197 and 285. I'm 5'11" and about 245 lbs right now. I got certified for 215lbs at 5% bodyfat, so dropping to 197 isn't a realistic option for me. I do wrestle greco and freestyle in the offseason, so that isn't a problem. I've got both the Iowa and Minnesota programs saved on my hard drive, but I don't like either of them because Iowa is a HIT style program and Minesota's program is based upon a bodypart split.

I was thinking of doing a program like Charles Staley's 21 Day itch program or something similar to what Heavythrower has posted on his Crossfit thread. I was also considering WS4B. I was just hoping to find something that can help me continue to lose the fat as well as get me strong.


I'm not trying to get flamed or anything, but CrossFit really fit my goals when I was wrestling. Just a thought...


sorry, it wasnt clear to me that you were in college

have you read Waterbury 10x3 for fat loss??


Yeah I have read the 10x3 for fatloss program. I've done 10x3 before and like it, but his fatloss program doesn't seem like it is enough to really accomplish anything in terms of my goals.

In regards to the other post, crossfit does seem like it would have a lot of carry over for me as a wrestler, however it does tend to neglect the maximal strenght aspect of fitness, which is something I need a lot of at heavyweight.

Maybe do his 10x3 for fat loss program with a few extra days thrown in?


your college team doesn't have an off season lifting program?


Yeah, that's something I didn't really think about... I wrestled at 80kg when I should have been cutting to 72kg, so I know how it feels to be out-muscled. They do max strength days in CrossFit (ie: today is squats), but I don't feel like it happens consistently enough to really develop the big lifts.


Hey if you dont mind me asking, where do you wrestle at? I wrestle at Alabama so I was just curious.


I wrestle at Ithaca College, which is in Central New York, in the same city as Cornell. We do have an off-season lifting program, but it is a joke. We have a spring and summer phase. The spring one is a 3 day week high rep circuit program that uses almost all machines. The summer program is designed by the football Strength and conditioning coach and is a decent program. However based on what I've learned from T-Nation, I believe there are more efficient and effective ways to achieve my goals.

I like the idea behind crossfit, but I would definitly need to add several Maximal strenght days in. Maybe do 10x3 for fat loss with a few of the off days being Crossfit WOD's might work? I want to add mass and strenght without getting any fatter. I figure if I eat clean and follow Berardi's usual guidelines I should continue to lean up from that alone.