T Nation

Running, Lifting and Wrestling?


We just entered the pre-season training phase of our wrestling season, and the Coaches have us running 4 to 5 miles 4 times a week. Any ideas on what kind of lifting program I should follow to prevent the loss of muscle and strength that comes with running so frequently? Currently they have us doing 3 high rep(10-15) total body sessions in the weight room a week, but I don't know think this is optimal for me.


I am a wrestler as well. 4runs of 4-5miles or even 4-5km is quite a bit. Wrestling should keep you where you need to be on its own. Limit the running 2 twice a week, one short high intensity session like sprinting and one long run say around 6km-8km at a good pace. As for weights keep the workouts between 40-50mins and if u lower your running frequency you should be ok to handle 3workouts a week, i just wouldnt reccommend tons of volume on the workout.


Stop running right now.

Tell your coach that I said he's an idiot and ask why he wants his athletes to lose. I'm a former wrestler turned strongman competitor with 3 credit hours left in my Exercise Science degree. I've worked with a good numer of strength/strength endurance athletes. Running for wrestling is suicide. My email address is in my profile - have him email me if he disagrees.

As for what's right for you in regards to lifting - how long do you have before the season starts, and what sorts of exercise have you done in the past?



Running for wrestling is not suicide at all, esp. if your doing sprinting, not to mention the extra work helps with handling high frequency/volume of work and keeping the weight down, all which is important in a wrestling. His situation may not be optimal but his coach isnt a complete idiot just because he overworks em a bit.


Work on your posterior chain. The better wrestlers and all americans I coached in the wieght room were the ones that actually could move weight on an ass to grass squat. hit the glute hams hard and rev. hypers.

A lot of coaches do circuits and run forever. They do it at Iowa and Minnesota. I work with the former head strength coach at MN, who worked with Lesnar and all those studs. He said the wrestling coaches wanted to do circuits and and all this B.S. but he wouldn't allow it and convinced them to do higher intensity lifting and get that posterior chain stronger. The posterior chain is usually the weak point in all wrestlers.

Wrestling will get you in wrestling shape, you can't do it in a weight room. Running won't kill you, just suck it up and do what you can to maintain strength.


Running also can help get down to preseason weight without starving so in the end it can help preserve muscle.


Quoth my physiology prof (and I agree): You cannot lose weight by running! You only lose weight by getting your diet in control!

Controling bodyfat should be done in the kitchen. Find a general idea of how many calories are expended in a workout, add it to RMR, and eat it. Pretty simple. Running isn't necessary, nor is it effective. It breaks up just as much lean mass as it does fatty tissue in non-obese people.

Sprinting is definately a good thing, I agree there - I was taking running as meaning the long-duration "cardio" type BS many coaches push. Running places huge demands on recovery abilities and on energy systems. To oversimplify, it wears you out too much to put hard work into other areas, such as weight training and mat work. It also serves NO PURPOSE for a wrestler to do such long duration, low intensity work. It takes explosive power, speed, agility, grip strength, and a keen mind. These can't be developed well if you're wasting so much time increasing aerobic capacity.

In short, as was said - posterior chain. I'd also add explosive leg work (tire flip, quick snatch grip deadlifts from the podium, that sort of thing) and crush grip work.



Wrong. Running is intensely catabolic.

Lifting and sprinting while NOT starving will work MUCH better. As in, it will work.



For the record, I am a freshman on a college wrestling team. The long distance running that I mentioned in my first post is mandatory. If it were up to me I would be doing some kind of sprint or interval work 2 to 3 times a week and doing some kind of total body heavy lifting 3 days a week. I am extremely light for my weight class, and I am not concerned with losing weihgt. My main goal is to preserve my strength and even add a little lean mass if possible. Our lifting sessions are not supervised so I was looking for some ideas to help me with my goal. The program they gave us all high reps with low weight. Anyone who has read T-Nation for any amount of time knows that programs like this are not optimal for strength which is what I am looking to develop. Any advice is appreciated.


Sorry, I actually figured that the running was mandatory - no offense is meant to you at all, you have to stick with the program to wrestle. Just kind of a soft spot for me because I see so many sports training programs at the university level designed like crap. Also, the retarded resistance to incorporating good training methods in combat-style sports (like wrestling and boxing).

Since the running is going to cause a huge shift in certain fibers towards the aerobic pathway, my advice is to make lifting into two main parts - explosive lifting and so-called GPP.

This is assuming an already pretty good base of strength - what sort of numbers are you putting up?

Reason for explosive lifting - you'll need it to improve your rate of force development and encourage stores of ATP/CP rather than increased mitochondia proliferation (sidenote - if you can get away with half-assing the running, I would). Something to the tune of power snatches for 6 sets of 3 or maybe full squats for 8 x 3 @ 70%.

For the "GPP" style of training (after the initial explosive work), farmer's walks, pushing a car around (outside of the weight room, obviously), flipping a tire if you can find someone who has one nearby, stone lifting, sandbag work (shouldering for sets of 5, something like that), really anything a strongman might do. The idea is to emphasize strength endurance for shorter periods of time, say, 30 seconds of work per set. Also, do a ton of rotational core work. Very important to emphasize this style of ab work - I like russian twists and woodchoppers.

If you can't find a way to use non-barbell type stuff, complexes such as The Bear (a search on this site will pop it up) or something like the Tabata method will do as a substitute.

Hope this helps -




In terms of numbers in the weight room here are my maxes as of 3 weeks ago. I currently weigh 255 lbs.

Back Squat: 405 lbs
Hang Clean: 255 lbs
Power Snatch: 175 lbs
Bench Press: 275 lbs
Bent Over Row: 225 lbs
Push Press: 215 lbs
Pull ups: 8 reps at body weight
Dead lift: I haven't performed a max deadlift in quite sometime, but I would estimate my max at somewhere near 500 lbs.

Should I keep one of the repetition days so as to give my CNS a break? How many exercises should I include on the heavier days? Thank you for your help.


I think it would be wiser to go for maximal strength when lifting. Most moves are practiced explosively but you don't get any strength work in practice.


Well, you're right. But running and eating more is better than some of these crash diets that wrestlers will use to make make quickly for the beginning of the season.


that's like saying you can't gain muscle by lifting...


It's more like saying you can't gain muscle by lifting without eating an appropriate diet.

The point he/I was trying to make is that diet is vastly more important than exercise in managing weight/body comp - running is going to hinder the process more than help it as it cannibalizes good amounts of lean mass. You can be lean and healthy without any kind of exercise - you don't need much of a stimulus to use fat as fuel (unless you have a metabolic disorder or haven't moved in 3 years).

In any case, to ICWrestler - I'd focus a little more on limit strength right now with the numbers you're putting up at your weight, possibly using a 4 day rotation of limit / explosive / limit / GPP, using different exercises on limit days to avoid CNS burnout/adequately cover your bases for wrestling.