Widely recognized as the world's oldest competitive sport, wrestling has featured in every Olympic games since its ancient conception.
The are two styles of wrestling at the modern Olympics - freestyle and Greco-Roman. While the rules are almost identical, Greco-Roman wrestlers must not use the legs to trip or lift an opponent or attack an opponents legs.
Successful wrestling training for both disciplines must develop a high level of anaerobic power in both the arms and the legs and excellent strength endurance (1). With bouts lasting up to a maximum of 5 minutes (depending on the age and level), high levels of blood lactate can accumulate in wrestlers from frequent intense bursts of activity and minimal rest periods.
Anaerobic endurance and capacity are more probably more important to the wrestler than pure aerobic endurance. Aerobic power is average in national wrestlers although values as high as 70mls/kg/min have been recorded in elite level wrestlers (2).
A major consideration for wrestlers is weight management. Rapid weight loss to make a weight category has profound adverse effects on the wrestler's physiology, particularly in relation to strength endurance (1). Both nutritional and training techniques can help to minimize any weight reduction required in the first place and also to minimize the negative effects of rapid weight loss.
Strength training will obviously play a significant role in a wrestler's overall training plan. A bodybuilding approach however is not the most effective use of training time and may result in significant weight gain. Maximal strength training is more sport-specific and is not associated with significant hypertrophy. It can also be converted into strength endurance and power endurance, two physical traits crucial to a high level of performance.
The articles below cover important wrestling training elements. Take a look through the articles covering strength and power training for wrestling, endurance training and planning an a periodized program.
The Sport-Specific Approach to Strength Training Programs
Most wrestlers and their coaches understand the necessity for strength training. However, if the focus is only on increasing absolute strength and muscular size it's benefits are severely restricted. Wrestlers must react with power to opponent's attack and maintain that power over numerous rounds. Simply lifting weights is not the best approach...
How To Design Resistance Training Programs For Athletes
Here is the step-by-step process of developing a sport-specific strength training plan - one that meets the demanding nature of wrestling...
Power Training for Athletes
Wrestlers at any weight are immensely powerful for their size. But how is explosive power best developed?
Using Power Cleans in Sports Conditioning
Power cleans can be useful for developing explosive power (in appropriate sports). Use this technique guide and animated images to see how the lift should be performed...
Plyometric Training for Sport-Specific Power
Plyometrics is a proven form of power training. Drills can be adapted for both upper and lower body power helping a wrestler to move with greater speed and force and generate more powerful throws...
Muscular Endurance Training
Wrestlers require strength endurance in order to maintain a high level of work throughout a bout
Core Strength Conditioning For Athletes
The muscles of the core region act as a link between the upper and lower body. The stronger and more able they are, the greater the synergy of movement can be. Core strength is essential for wresters...
Medicine Ball Exercises
Medicine balls are a classic wrestling training tool. They can be used to develop strength and power and allow the fighter to incorporate very specific movements into his or her routine...
Kettlebell Training Program
Kettlebell training is becoming more popular with combat athletes. Provided they are used correctly they can be very effective training aids for developing explosive power and core strength...
Increased flexibility may reduce the risk of certain injuries. It may also allow a wrestler to move with greater dexterity and finesse
Self Myofascial Release Exercises
Wrestling training is notoriously strenuous. While a bout may not come along too often, wrestlers spend hours every day on a gruelling fitness regimen. Key to the success of any training program is adequate recovery and the avoidance of injury. Myofascial release may help to do just that...