T Nation

Wrestlers Are Not Human


#1

guys,i am fascinated by athleticism of wrestlers! they have great relative strenght and also great muscular endurance.i always thought that those are opposite extremes-great endurance vs.great relative strenght.
these guys are animals!
i know a few wrestlers personally and they are strongest people for they size i know.their handshake is crushing.their necks are scary big,they do full splits easily and can pump calistenics for zillion reps.
do you know a good strength routine for wrestlers?


#2

I can't give you any specific strength routines at the moment. But I do agree with your assessment.

Plenty of people around here go on and on about Gymnasts. Granted Gymnasts are tremendous athletes. But Wrestlers are the true anomaly of our time.

As you indicated, they have great relative strength, endurance strength and their cardio is off the charts.

All of that wrapped up in incredible mental toughness and self discipline.


#3


You got the point there,wrestlers are for sure one of the strongest athletes.For instance take Igor Karelin,olympic gold medalist.the guy is monster,275 pounds,7% bf.Russian top MMA fighters said that he is even too strong for sparring.He kicks your ass and makes leather jacket out of you.


#4

Same thing as with gymnasts.
There is not a specific wrestling "program". It is a lifestyle.


#5

Karelin gets my vote as the possibly the most incredible athlete ever. The man is unbelieveably strong, fast, and flexible. He can put his leg behind his head standing up and throws around 270 pound men like toys.


#6

Igor Karelin had only one point scored on him from 1990 to 2000!

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/olympics/newswire/2000/09/01/49245022217_afp/


#7

This is true. Not that you should neglect training if you're a wrestler, but the best training for wrestling is wrestling. There is no way around it.

The easiest part about wrestling practice was running for 30 minutes before practice started. Wrestling a six minute match is unbelievably tiring.

P.S. If I was training a wrestler, I would have him train the hell out of grip. Wrestling guys with a strong grip really sucks.

Bear


#8

I was really disappointed with the way Rulon Gardner beat him in his last Olympics...getting awarded a point for illegal grip and then just laying there like a fat plug. I was rooting for him, but not to win like that.


#9

Here's a Wrestling workout from the University of Michigan, enjoy:

http://www.naturalstrength.com/weightroom/detail.asp?ArticleID=129

MICHIGAN WRESTLING WORKOUT
By Jason Cole

Assistant Strength Coach
University of Michigan

When I took over the University of Michigan Wrestling strength program I was shocked. I have been involved with sports ranging from football to gymnastics and I thought I had seen some of the toughest athletes the sporting world had to offer.

The intensity and dedication to the sport of college wrestling is another level. The practices these guys go through would crush the most hard core athletes. Not only is wrestling a grueling sport physically, it is one of the most mentally challenging sports I have ever been involved with.

The challenge I had was to try to come up with a strength program that would produce physical gains, as well as challenge the athletes psychologically. The thing that made it difficult is that wrestlers are some of the most overtrained athletes in the world. Constantly monitoring their weight, competing and training at a breakneck pace, and performing well in the classroom were all factors I had to take into consideration.

Lifting sessions were to take place at 6:30 AM after about 45 minutes of hard conditioning. As if it wasn't hard enough to get college kids motivated to train hard at 6:30 in the morning they were crushed from an intense running session!

I don't know how many of you reading this have been blessed with the opportunity to train a collegiate wrestler, but you will not find an athlete who is more in tune with their body. Most of these kids know what they have to do to be in peak physical condition. I decided to give them the opportunity to make some choices on their own instead of force feeding them exercises. Here is a typical day in the weight room with Michigan Wrestling:

Manual Neck - we always train our neck. If you have ever seen a wrestling match you know why this is a main point of emphasis.

Any Shrug - whether they choose dumbbells, barbells or machine shrugs, I don't care. Just train HARD.

Any Shoulder - pick any shoulder exercise you want. You MUST get 20 reps. I try to get them to pick a weight that they can get for 10 hard reps and try to get 20 unassisted reps. It may take 2 or 3 attempts to get to 20.

Chin ups - a set of 20 rep chin ups. Now if you have ever told an athlete to do a high rep set of an exercise the first thing that breaks down is form. NOT AT MICHIGAN! Every rep starts form a dead hang, no swinging of the legs, you must pause at the top for a full second in order for the rep to count. The athlete does as many perfect reps as possible, and continues until he gets 20 unassisted reps.

Hammer Flat Bench - Using a double progression you must get at least 8 reps. Once we get to 10 reps the weight goes up. One set, a few forced reps until momentary muscular failure is achieved.

Rope Climb - 4 sets. We have the benefit of having 2, 15 foot ropes hanging from the ceiling in our wrestling room. Climb until you touch the ceiling, that's 1. Some of our kids can climb using no feet, while our heavier guys need an extra pair of feet to get to the top. But they all GET IT DONE!

Hammer Incline - one set must get at least 8 reps. Once they get 10 weight gets jacked up.

Straight Bar Curls - by this time their grip is pretty fried. Wrestling comes down to grip.

Rope-a-Dope - we use a 40 foot tug of war rope. Standing in a good athletic position you must pull your partner the length of the rope, TWICE. If their grip wasn't fried before....I think I smell smoke. This is a great exercise for core strength.

Ground Base Push/Pull - again concentrating on core strength. We usually vary the reps but during the season we use higher reps with heavy weight to make the workout a little more metabolically challenging.

Dips - 20 rep set. Concentrate on perfect form, one second pause on the top and bottom of the movement. Do it the hard way!

Any Bicep - 20 reps, last upper body exercise.....finish strong!

We have now concluded the upper body portion of our program. Our leg routine is very brief and intense.

Hammer Leg Press - 30 reps. We don't do many forced reps, but concentrate on perfect form.

Wall Sit - I like this exercise because it is hell on the psyche. Upper thigh parallel to the floor, feet shoulder width apart. I like to get a little bit of inner thigh involved by having them touch their knees together. The key to wall sit is to get them IMMEDIATELY on the wall from the leg press.

Blocks - I have a nice collection of about a dozen pieces of 2 by 4s. They are cut into about 6 inch long blocks. I have the kids get on all fours similar to a bear crawl position. With their hands on the blocks they must push the blocks the length of the hallway. Down the hall and back is one, they must do 6.

Calves - we usually just do these on the Hammer leg press. 20 reps to finish off a nicely roasted pair of legs.

This workout takes about 30-40 minutes. Each athlete pairs up and one partner goes through the entire workout before his partner.

I could not ask for a better group of athletes to work with. Our kids are dedicated and highly motivated which makes my job easy.

GO BLUE!


#10

Karelin is by far the most amazing athelet e I've seen in my life, not to mention he has some nice things to read from on his site.

http://www.karelin.ru/eng/?about

Specifically, about his training

"
About the main things I love:

Favourite colour? - Dark blue.
Employment (occupation)? - Wrestling.
Film? - I do not know.
Book? - Dostoyevsky, all of his books.
Song? - "Boston Waltz " by Rozenbaum.
Season? - Autumn.
Place on this Earth? - Novosibirsk. Talking of Siberia - Western Siberia.
Favourite way of looking? - From under my brows. I am like my grandfather in it.
Idols in childhood? - Bogatyrs.
And what was your dream in childhood? - To become the driver of a large lorry like the Dad.

INFORMATION:

Alexandr Alexandrovich Karelin. Born on September 19, 1967, in Novosibirsk, Russia. He graduated from Novosibirsk Motor Transport Technical College and Omsk Physical Training Institute.
He earned a degree of Candidate of Pedagogical Science after writing a dissertation ?Method of a carrying out of contra-holds from bend throws?.
In 1981 year he started to be engaged in Greco-Roman wrestling in wrestling section of Novosibirsk Electrical Engineering Institute. His constant trainer is Victor Kuznetzov.
Alexandr Karelin became an Olympic champion three times: in 1988, 1992 and 1996 years. He won Europe championship 12 times and Russian championship ? 13 times.
In 1997 year Alexander Karelin was rewarded with the highest award of Russia ? Golden Star of Russian Hero for his great services to his homeland. In September 1997, A. A. Karelin was recognized as a Man of the Year in Novosibirsk, and in July 1998 he was given the title of Novosibirsk Honorary Inhabitant.
A. A. Karelin takes a place among the 25 best world athletes of 20th century. There are such famous persons in this ?list? as Pele, Larisa Latinina and Muhammad Ali.
In 1995, Karelin begins to work in Administration of Federal Fiscal Police Service as a leading specialist of the Physical Defense Department. He lives and works in his native town Novosibirsk. In December 1995 Karelin was given the rank of colonel of Fiscal Police Service.
On December 19, 1999, A. A. Karelin stood for a member of the State Duma (low chamber of the Federal Assembly). He received 80 000 votes (26 % from total number of voters who took part in the elections in his electoral district in Novosibirsk). According to the law, after the elections A. A. Karelin send in his resignation from Fiscal Police Service.

About my attainments
I don?t think that I have attained all I could, or I would hang my wrestling jackets on a nail. I suppose you?ll be agree with me that it will be right to count medals and titles and sum up my sport career only after finishing of my setting out on a "big mat".

These days I am preparing to my fourth Olympic Games. I am training in the national team according to its plan. Therefore I, like other favorites in each category, have understudies (or, if you prefer ? rivals) who want and are possible to take my place in the team. The right to protect the colors of the Russian flag at the Olympic Games and world and European championships can'? be handed down. Candidate-members of the team Russia pass through many trials, but this selection is elite one. Only the best of equal sportsmen can get the right to represent their Homeland at extra-class tournaments.

Olympic Games are the most prestige competitions in the big sports world. It?s honor to take part in Olympic Games. It?s more honor to become a winner or prizewinner of this forum where the best athletes of the planet get together. Some sportsmen manage to take part in the Olympic Games only once. I have luck to experience this bright and emotional sports festive occasion three times. Now I am a candidate to go to Sydney to take part in my fourth Olympic Games. My participation in the Games will depend on the definitive decision of the Trainer Council. If my Mother country will entrust me I?ll strain every my effort to correspond my feelings and senses to expectations of my compatriots and many foreign funs and supporters. The Olympic Games are closer, the more letters and cards are sent to me with the best wishes. Such intent attention obliges me to meet the requirements. Because of that, for the last half of the year my constant trainer Victor Kuznetzov and I are occupied with solution of the only task ? how to approach to the main starts of the four years? having a good fighting condition. On the other hand, Olympic Games connect modern athletes with Antic Heroes. This competition is the priceless cultural heritage of our civilization like works of the famous ancient Greek philosophers and Acropolis.

About injury
I understand that after European championship in 1996 in Budapest observers regard my sports career in the aspect "before and after injury". I don?t think that this injury became some borderline in my sports career. First, it?s happened because all rehabilitate treatments were carried out under control of professional doctors. The high-class sports doctor Valery Okhapkin became an author of the unique method of rehabilitation. Secondly, on the first stage of rehabilitation only my trainer Victor Kuznetzov helped me to find right exercises for recovering my muscle. Also he created the base for more hard work (in an aspect of loads) before Russian, European and World championships and Olympic Games in Sydney. Thirdly, I had no the thought to leave wrestling at all. I sensed an unanimous support of my relatives, friends and comrades-in-team. It turned out that everything is reparable; it needs only to have a wish to work. Of course, on the World championship in Wrotslaw in 1997 year I wrestled as first time, but won. It was a hard victory. First of all, wrestling is a getting over difficulties. If you can ?gather your will in a fist? and endure a pain ? you can count on a fortune?s good graces.

About rivals
Usually my constant trainer Victor Kuznetzov speaks about my condition because I am a result of his training method. I consider that I am close to the ideal condition because I could win the championship of Russia and cope with big loads according to training plan of the national team. Thanks to my discipline (I didn?t miss trainings) I could prepare myself to the championship of Russia. The national championship took place in only two weeks after the State Duma elections. I couldn?t miss this competition. In another case I wouldn?t have a moral right to pretend on a taking part in European championship. There are good wrestlers in the super-heavy weight in Russian team. They are young fellows with arrogance: masters of sports Yury Patrikeyev, Alexey Tartabarin and Alexey Kolesnicov.

The most part of my life, for 19 years from 32, I wrestle. They would write before ?Wrestling made a man from unknown Novosiberian boy Sasha Karelin who is known in the whole world?. That?s right. Wrestling became my favorite occupation. I enjoy it very much because such wonderful peoples as my trainer Victor Kuznetzov, Olympic champions Mikhail Mamiashvily, Shamil? Hisamutdinov, Mnatzakan Iskanderyan and 5-time world champion Gogi Koguashvili work near me. They are colleges and friends who candidly love Greco-Roman wrestling and try to transfer their feelings to associates. I am proud of my being a representative of our home classical wrestling training.

Last years a youthful fervor and heat can be read on the faces of my rivals. My opponents don?t know fatalism. Because of that each of them want to become an author of a sensation and dreams to win. Some of them even loudly declared the period they need to defeat me. Russians have no such rule to promise before competition. We prefer an action to words, maybe because we don?t spend our forces for long talking and team Russia leads on European and world championships and Olympic Games. It?s not necessary to be afraid of a defeat. It?s necessary to think how to train to evade such trouble. And only ones, who can tear themselves away from a captivity of binding emotions, can become champions.

From another ones a fear can do likeness of waxen dolls. Think over, do I need to be afraid of something if I carried out all trainer?s aims, if I won all my rivals in the test-fights, if there are three holds which I can apply to any rivals? What do I need to do be afraid in this case? Maybe my own shade? A psychological stability is the one of the components of a victory. Self-confidence can be reached by hard work ?on a mat? and in the training halls.

16 athletes will take part in Olympic Games in the weight-group up to 130 kg. It?s necessary to give a special attention to the wrestlers who are trained according to the Russian method. I can name them: Bulgarian, the champion of the European championship in 1997 year and prizeman of Olympic Games Sergey Murejko; Cuban, Olympic champion in Barcelona in the weight-group up to 100 kg Gecktor Millian. The US team can bring a surprise because there is a rather sharp competition at US national championships in the heavy weight-group. Generally, all rivals are not from a hospital bed; all of them are worthy of respect. It seems Sergey Murejko is the most inconvenient opponent. In the present Olympic cycle we met three times: at the World championships in Wrotslaw and Athens and in the final of the European championship in Moscow in 2000 year. These three duels were finished with the equal score 2:0 to me. My victory is the best commentary of my shape and training.

About Novosibirsk, elections and something outside mat
My Homeland is Russia, Novosibirsk; in the both cases ? by the capital letters. I don?t understand why I must exchange the place of living. I have attained everything exactly as an inhabitant of Novosibirsk. I was born in this town; my parents, trainer and friends live here. I don?t see a reason to move to another town of our country or world. More than once I have been abroad, but nowhere feel such mental comfort as here. Novosibirsk is an unofficial capital of Siberia; it is the biggest scientific and cultural center. Therefore we can?t be called provincials. I have personally accepted the decision to take part in elections. Before that I was applied to became a member of some (if not one than the other) political party. But I wasn?t satisfied by a role of mute. Sergey Shoygu and Alexander Gurov offered me to work and try to apply my public life experience to solve Russian problems. Novosiberians supported the idea of my nomination. I think so because I had several hundreds meetings with voters. People had a hope and believed that I can help my fellow-countrymen to solve their problems. One of such problems is a building of the medical neuro-diagnostic center. There are two neuro-surgical Institutes: in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The third similar center will be built in Novosibirsk in autumn. It?s one example of my work as a deputy. After Olympic Games I will have more time to work on solving of voters? troubles. I think a deputy chosen by people must spend more time in the hometown. The regular association with people, who empowered me, gives me much useful information to think about and stimulate to work effectively. It?s pleasant to know that I can do something for my fellow-countrymen as a sportsman and a public figure. Last 8 years I have been estimating from these two positions and I am glad to know that my marks are positive.

Vladimir Putin is a pragmatic and consecutive politician. I was his proxy during the President elections and this role was very honorable. Not only Putin?s declarations and concrete businesses concerning of the unti-terrorist operation in Chechnya show his determination, but also his way of disputing of OUR RUSSIAN point of view in this questing in the face of representatives of another countries at different meetings and forums. RUSSIA is the World Power, because of that we have a right to determine our policy independently. During the election campaign we declared our wish to turn our life for the better. Now these ?abstract? theses (how some our opponents said) became to come the truth. The strengthening of the power?s vertical line, the strengthening role of the State in the life of our society, creation of the information security system and reform of the tax system are the taken place President?s steps.

I don?t believe those people who speak that in our country the State gives sport little attention. Just in the situation of new economical conditions the previous forms and methods give results not always. Modern Russian sports can survive only having an extra-budget financing. In the many regions of Russia enthusiasts of sports developing find methods how to support children-youthful sports school and teams-masters of individual and playing kinds of sports. But such cases happen not everywhere. To change the situation in the whole country, it?s necessary to create a system of laws and rules of playing which will regulate co-ordination of the State and social, industrial and commerce organizations to perfect sports. Taking into account that the State Duma works up and pass laws, my wish to sum a rich experience of my colleagues became the other reason for taking decision to take part in elections. Sport is a part of a social system as an economic, culture and politics. Everything is connected. A political stability of a country gives a favorable invest climate, works and plants will start to work. It will influence at a filling of budget. If State budget will be entailing no deficit; therefore the State will get an opportunity to finance a social sphere ? education, medicine, culture and sports. In our country everything is OK with developing physical culture and sports. I can judge as an immediate participant of this process.

The matter is that in Novosibirsk region there is the public organization ?Federation of sport wrestling of Novosiberian region?. It acts not first year. It was created for solving of finance troubles of Greco-Roman and another types of wrestling schools and for propaganda of healthy way of life. The brightest project in my sport is the Youthful International Competition for ?Karelin?s Prize?. In this year it?ll take place for the ninth time. It?s the business involving troubles, but we have many allies, such as Russian businessmen and heads of some Siberian regions. According to statistic, for period of existing of the ?Karelin?s Prize? the number of children, training in wrestling sections, is increased 300 % more. And an existing of certain quantity means an opportunity to select and create new sports ?stars?. We have the iron rule ? trainings in our sections are free. The same processes are going on in football, ice hockey, swimming, gymnastics and others. Good successors are growing up. Naturally, there are many problems; sometimes we have not enough money even for training Olympians, but the situation is getting better every year. I will repeat ? we won?t return to that plan system of assessment of budget money, which had a place in the USSR. Now priorities in financial assessment must directly depend on a quality of work of sports school and sections. Differential approach to financial assessment will allow to direct budget and extra-budget means to successful types of sports. There is another showing, which can refute the opinion that sport in Russia is not given an attention. This showing is a number of sports newspapers, magazines, TV and radio programs. Mass media help us very much and create a very favorable background for upbringing of young sportsmen. The many competitions on the Greco-Roman wrestling as ?Karelin?s Prize?, ?Cup of Victor Kuznetzov? and another ones took place in Novosibirsk, Barnaul, Tomsk, Omsk and Kemerovo last year. These tournaments had an advertising support free.

I don?t train children. Not each, even very talented, sportsmen can be a trainer. This is gift of God. My constant trainer Victor Kuznetzov has such gift. He has trained more than 10 000 boys already. Now only two his pupils are famous ? the 4-time world champion Vladimir Zubkov (now he trains Austrian national team) and I. I have many such titles as ?the most titled wrestler of the planet?, ?invincible Olympian from Novosibirsk?, ?Siberian giant?. These titles directly concern to Victor Kuznetzov.

As to life without mat ? I haven?t thought of it yet. It will be easier for me to think on this subject after Olympic Games. In any case I am not going to stop training in my home sports hall ?Dynamo?.

I like reading and listening to good music. I prefer an active rest to inactive one. My friends and I play football and wrestling basketball twice a week. I like walking in the pine forest within the city. To tell the truth, my training regime is very hard and I almost have no time free during periods of preparation to responsible competitions. But I don?t complain of my fate.

About my trainings
I train myself 6 times a week. Usually on Mondays my mornings begin from running. I run in the pine forest in the suburb of Novosibirsk. My usual morning training goes on for an hour or an hour and ten minutes. The distance is a little more than 10 km. My evening trainings on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday constitute a work on a mat with sparring-partners. Wednesday is the day free, but we, wrestlers, have a very specific rest. We play wrestling basketball. It looks like American football, but we don?t use protective ammunition and throw a ball to a basket to get points. On Saturdays we play football (soccer). This is my usual regime. Trainings become more intensive during period of preparation to Russian, European and World championships and Olympic Games.

All in all, my wrestling trainings take 8-10 hours a week and more. However, everything depends on my condition and an opinion of my trainer Victor Kuznetzov who determines a plan of trainings and loads.

As I mentioned, running is a very important component of my exercises and trainings. Crosses help me to do my shape better. Special effect can be reached during series of trainings at the mountain sports bases. Good breathing is the component of a success for any athlete. Experienced wrestlers know that oxygen starvation can be a wrestler?s weak spot. This sense is very unpleasant.

I visit an athletic hall regularly. The base of my trainings is the method of Victor Kuznetzov. Such exercises as a press in horizontal position, exercises with dumb-bells for biceps and triceps are usual types of a physical load. It?s very important for Greco-Roman wrestling to choose a right weight of apparatus. Usually a load is chosen to allow sportsman to do 2 or 3 ?approaches? with the maximal number of reiterations (12-15 times) each. And a weight of the final ?approach? is more to be able to do 8-10 reiterations rightly.

I have no a diet because I never had extra-weight problems. In spite of it I have no the habit to overeat. I like tasty meal. I go to small restaurants and cafes to try national cooking of the country where I am. However, to me the Russian cooking is the most acceptable one. I prefer natural food. I change my regime of eating during Orthodox fasts. But it is not a reason for somebody?s anxiety. I have the wonderful book about feeding during fasts. This book contains about thousand of recipes of the tasty and healthy-giving dishes.

Except Greco-Roman wrestling I attended to skiing, basketball and heavy athletics. My trainer Victor Kuznetzov opened the world of wrestling for me. We have been working together for 19 years."


#11

Ya know, you're absolutely right. I'm a wrestler... and it's true, I'm a damn stud. And what's really cool, none of us are conceited.

-CJ


#12

This thread is exactly right.

People can make fun of wrestling, "oh thats gay", but they will always respect wrestlers. I hear people bash wrestling and wrestlers, but they will never mess with us.


#13

It's only gay if you make eye contact.


#14

Alexander Karelin is the most impressive man in sports i've ever heard of.


#15

you are absolutely right!


#16


#17

thanks guys for your posts.
hey,balkan boy are a lumberjack?


#18

Being a wrestler and proud of it; we are the best :slightly_smiling:
seriously I think the thing that strikes me the most about wrestling is the need for every single different component of fitness: speed, agility, strength, strength endurance, flexibility, power, anaerobic alactic, anaerobic lactic, aerobic, stamina (you have 4-5 matches in one day semi-regularly at a tournament) wrestling is one of the few sports that challenges every level. Obviously it is impossible to hit every one of these components really well, but personally I try to wrestle for 2 hrs a day and do an hr of running and weights each so to speak. Obviously I don't do this every day due to exhaustion but that is the plan (the runs and lifts are more like 45 min and the wrestling includes a warmup and depends on intensity etc.)

The best way to get in shape for wrestling is wrestling; even a week of just running and weights and I feel like shit out there on the mat. A lot of wrestlers train by wrestling EXCLUSIVELY, throwing in some running when they need to make weight. (I know a member of the Canadian Nat' Team has never touched a weight and he wrestles at a weight where you wouldnt expect this to be the case). Generally I find wrestling to be the same as MMA or boxing when discussed in these terms of fitness, except wrestling is more intense and shorter.

In terms of strength training, do way more neck and grip work and more pulling exercises than you are probably doing. In terms of the wrestler look, besides wrestling, train your neck like crazy, hit your ears with hammers, apply cuts and bruises to your face, dehydrate yourself and never eat more than lettuce for low body fat, don't be taller than 5'8, and unless wrestling, walk with a limp and show off a variety of debilitating injuries.

Seriously for the conditioning equivalent, HARD RUNNING, Tabata protocols, Crossfit-y intensive 2 minute weight/"cardio"/calinsthetic combos, and HIT style no rest training (Dan Gable was the only person to ever complete a HIT Workout on the first try) are all good, besides actually wrestling. Of course I suggest you give the sport a try. It is addictive as hell!


#19

Very wise words!

The best way to get better at any sport or exercise is to actually do it!


#20

Hope this picture goes through, not wrestling... but the same gist.