T Nation

Wrestling Training


Hello all first some stats to start this off:

-16 years old
-lifting for 2 years
-Wrestler for varsity team
-5 foot 8 1/4
-160 lbs 10-11% bodyfat
-3 full body lifting days a week, olympic style program. MWF
-3 conditioning/wrestling days a week TTF. All prowler and sprinting work when not wrestling that night

-Best lifts to date:
185 squat 4 sets of 8
120 bench 2 sets of 8 1 of 6
210 deadlift 4 sets of 8
95 snatch 4 sets of 8
125 powerclean 3 sets of 8
140 front squat 3 sets of 8

Alright from september-earlier november im going to be cutting from 160 to 145, if you saw my other post I have the diet worked out. Im about to finish my 2nd 8 week program of an olympic lifting type routine that I worked on with my strength coach on my team. Looking now to change it up, either to a upper lower split or 5 3 1. I haven't yet bought the 5 3 1 ebook and was planning on it based on recommendations here. I guess my real question is, is 5 3 1 applicable for athletes? And whats the best way to add in snatches and powercleans? (I know theres an article where Jim talks about this but i can't seem to find it anymore)

  1. Considering your low BF levels, are you sure you want to diet down? You'll lose most probably lose a lot of strength... at 145 you'll be almost only skin and bone.

  2. Sets of 8 don't help all that much with strength... also, are you doing them to failure?

OTOH, knowing myself (155 @ 5'10") and seeing your stats, I guess you could still get (much) stronger than you are now even at 145...


Have you ever wrestled? Varsity, coach tells you to go down to a weight class and you do it or you don't wrestle. Trying to do it as smart as possible to prevent losing a lot of strength. Personally, I wish I could keep on trucking to somewhere near 200 then reevaluate my body comp. But on a varsity sport, not much of an option. Plus I know that I'd have an easier time wrestling 145 even if I do lose some strength. I will consider it though, going to get to 152 before i make the final jump to 145. Will see how everythings going.

Any recommendations on if 531 is accepttable for athletes? And how to add power cleans and snatches?


Most wrestling coaches are morons and have kids competing in weight classes they have no business in. Unless you're good enough to get a D1 scholarship, why do something that undoubtedly keeps you in an underfed and relatively malnourished state? I truly wish that the governing body's would really get their shit together in this regards.


Oh man, I wish I had gotten some advice when I was in your shoes.

I wrestled 140 my senior year in high school, walked around in the off season at about 180 or so. Walked around during the season at about 165. I did not cut weight healthily, and I had absolutely no room for weight training, or so I thought. In MN in 2004, they did weight certifications, BMI measurements to determine the lowest weight you could legally cut to. I dehydrated myself before that to get certified at 139.8. I basically had no fat, no water, and a ton less muscle than I should have. Wrestling practice allowed me to keep a minimal amount, but we didn't do much weight training. I wish I would have, for football as well.

Anyways, for high school, I think you need to determine exactly what your goals are. If it's wrestling, you are probably gonna have to cut some. If your BF is actually 11%, you will lose muscle cutting, even to 152. This is obviously not very conducive to progress in 5/3/1. Also if you play water weight games, and you lift heavy, you risk injury.


Thats basically what I did for wrestling this year 145 to 134 in a period of 12 hours. But in high school I do want to have some amount of success in wrestling, but in the end I want to get somewhere in powerlifting during my college years so I want to start training hard for that now. I will probably cut to 152, see how I feel strength wise, and decide on the best course of action from there.

And anyone with best way to incorprate cleans and snatches into 531?


Like mkral said, they have to be certified. If he is told to cut and wants the slot, he needs to do it.

I had a guy who trained with us who walked around 215 and had to wrestle 185. It's just how it goes. Don't like it, don't wrestle. It's really that simple. That's wrestling.

I was in Junior High, weighing 80#'s and ran stairs in garbage bags to make 65#'s and was basically told not to eat so I starved myself for days. This is moronic. I was fucking 11 years old and this was 30 years ago.

At the HS and collegiate level, given the certs, it's about as good as it gets. It will never be perfect.

At least here in MN, most coaches are not morons. They are actually pretty talented. People move from all over the fucking country to wrestle at Apple Valley High School. Look it up. We are surrounded by incredible coaching.

So, the first question is have you been certified to wrestle that weight? I would be surprised if you have this early in the season and if not, it's not yet a target for you.

Additionally, compound movements are the key. Upper back strength in the horizontal plane is a big deal. We would usually have our wrestlers who trained with us for PL go to 2X week and they would do all three lifts (sq, bench and dl) the same day. Our goal was to maintain. Never to increase. If you can maintain strength under those circumstances you are doing real well. If you are not, (and this is the likely circumstance) the total training volume is too high and you need to reevaluate and back off. More is less right now.

BTW, we had 2 guys who trained with us who were rope climbing and rope running animals (overhead rope strand exercises for reps) and they just pulled and squatted 2X per week both on the same day. No additional upper body work.

The reality of things is it is real easy to underestimate the amount of work your body is getting at practice. Moving weight around and moving bodies around are 2 different things and involve different muscles. It's like when all us meat heads would show up to move furniture in the summer (this was my college summer job). The vets would laugh at us as it took 2 weeks to get our 'moving muscles' going again (largely a conditioning issue).

Train for strength in the off season, train your sport in season. The best you can typically do is maintain the strength gains you made. In particular in a weight driven sport like wrestling


Yeah, I thought everyone realized this this is still the offseason wrestling will not start until November 28th. I wanted to start dieting down early to make the slot efficiently and not have to cut water weight the day before a match. Last season cutting water weight left me drained and exhausted, I had lost too much strength that way. This year I planned on starting in September to cut down using a diet rather than the night before a match in theory saving myself as much strength as possible. This sound correct?


Thats not really enough time to make gains with weights, imo. It is enough time to get a head start on a diet and conditioning though. I know my junior and senior year I had no choice but to start early, to even get certified for that weight. I was at a small school that had some trouble filling out a full varsity roster, so I knew pretty well where I needed to be. If your team has some flexibility, 152 should be fine, and if you are walking around at 160 you dont have anything to worry about.

Apwsearch has some good advice, train for wrestling, hit the weights like a mad man after the season and be a brick house next year.


Same for my school, varsity roster of 8 people, 2 of which are in the same weight as each other.


I wrestled. I would say you would be a fool to drop that king of weight. Work on your strength and power. If you are good enough you should be able to beat out guys at higher classes. At your age you can really hurt yourself long term by becoming too thin.


Not really sure what to do here deffinetely have to get to 152 to have a fighting chance at districts this year.




That's what the young man who had to cut 30#'s did. He started early.

He wrestled HW the previous year and there are a few guys that are like 280 and it was just brutal on him. I literally watched this one guy in the second period from top position pick him up around his waist and set him on his head and shoulders like a rag doll. He managed to get out of it without getting stuck but it was ridiculous. He walked up to me after the match and said, "Well, that sucked." He faired much better at the lighter weight even though it sucked geting there. The interesting thing is he now walks around about 200 and is stronger than he was at 215/220.

Basically, its about all you can do.

The only thing that concerns me is you will be certified based on predictions of your weight at 7% BF wet. If you are over weight and close on BF at that time, you're done. Simple math indicates you don't have the margin.

Have you discussed this with your coach or are is this based solely on your own planning?


My coach and I have discussed where I need to be and considering I have 3 months, Im keeping careful tabs on weight daily. trying to shoot for 1.5-2lbs lost a week until i hit 145. And you are right, theres very little margin for mistake here because of bodyfat certifications, careful planning now will hopefully place me in a nonstressful spot when I do have to certify.


Yes, you are right. We have kids that will drop from 135-140 down to 118 but they start pretty early like you are doing, and typically come out OK although you will lose lean mass doing this. There's no way around it. This takes a lot of discipline and is a day to day activity. Obviously, keeping track of your morning (dry) and night time weights (wet) will help you understand how your diet, etc. is affecting weight and also give you good handle on how much you can comfortably lose via dehydration.

Fast and furious on the weight training right now. No more than 45 minutes in the gym and listen to your body. I probably would't weight train more than 3 days a week. The downside of weight training right now is if you are not recovering you could injure yourself or predispose yourself so less is more right now and take advantage of the metabolic and hormonal effects immediately following training. Do you have access to ropes? I think climbing and running ropes are a very transferrable strength and I would work on building your reps (just like weight training or pullups, build the number of sets x reps over time). The effect this will have on grip strength alone is big. Just a thought and this will help keep your upper body healthy and be easier to recover from.

Good luck, man. It's a couple months away but PM me or post somewhere to let me know how you did/are doing.


Will keep posting here on stats on PRs and weights on a weekly basis at least. Already do train 3 times per week, full body/olympic kind of program. Ill keep you updated, as I started diet today, and thanks for the advice.


5/3/1 rules. It might even keep you lifting close to the same weight. I cut from 155 to 146 in a few weeks, not fun, but my weights were about the same cause i was like 20%bf, i think you can do a nice cut and still have decent weights. nevertheless 5/3/1 will help you no matter what your doing, even if you dont lift more at the end of it.


Will give it a read sometime soon, little busy with school starting but hopefully I can start it soon.


Jesus christ, wrestling sounds stressful.