It is no secret that the best wrestlers train both on and off the mats all year round. They are constantly trying to round out the edges of their physical development with more and more effective strategies for training. And the best wrestlers attack their training tactically so they get the biggest return on their energy investment. There are many possible solutions to include in a wrestlers workout. That is the confusing part, as wrestlers need many physical qualities to be successful. In this short article, Coach Bott will guide you through the 5 most effective features of an off-mat wrestling workout.
5 Features of Off-Mat Wrestling Workouts
1. Quality Conditioning
It is noted that winners of wrestling workout competitions are less acidic than the losers. This means their workouts include an abundance of high quality conditioning sessions which lead to an improved ability to oxidize fuel and avoid ‘ the burn’ at fast competition paces. Trained muscles consume 1.5 times more oxygen than untrained muscles. Each conditioning session should have enough rest between intervals to recycle the acid produced. You will know you have had enough rest if you can complete each interval at the same pace and intensity. If you are getting slower; you are, in fact, getting SLOWER!
2. Static-Dynamic Work
Off mat workouts must also include phases of static-dynamic work with weights. A static-dynamic protocol involves lifting weights at a very specific tempo which includes pauses to build endurance in the muscles involved. Because wrestling involves holds and explosive movements, both static muscle actions and dynamic muscle actions must be involved in a wrestlers workout. Rest pauses in a set can actually help develop the muscles aerobically.
3. Exploit Power Development
Olympic lifts or variations of them are essential to build power against a high external resistance. A wrestler does not only have to move their own mass, but also the mass of their opponent. This is where Olympic lifting can be very effective. Begin each session with one of these key lifts to exploit power development. However, these lifts are never done with light weights and high reps. This defeats their purpose. Instead work in ranges of 1-3 reps at 80% of your max and higher. Find a coach that can teach you how to do these well.
4. Get Super Strong
Heavy weights (80% 1RM) will access the highest threshold motor units. There is no other way to get super strong. One must lift with high enough levels of intensity. However, during a workout, that involves several sets, do not lift to failure. This causes DISIHIBITION, which is a scientific word for –“you are trashed.” Save the PR’s for periodic and planned testing days.
5. Do Not Mimic the Match
No studies demonstrate the usefulness of doing a conditioning regimine mimicking a wrestling match (3 min on: 30 seconds off). Instead, a number of studies show the negative effects on the muscle fiber structure. Very high acid levels (the burn) lead to direct chemical destruction of structures. Instead, if you want to work very hard for a 3 minute interval, recover for 3 minutes by walking or jogging slowly. Repeat this for 4-5 rounds to build a huge wrestling engine.