Here are 4 tips when developing the perfect wrestling-specific training system for highschool wrestlers… These are by no means the only ones I have for training high school wrestlers but are a really good start.
Tip #1 – Begin with Mobility/Flexibility/Torso work
The first thing your high school wrestling trainingshould begin with is a way to loosen up the hips,posterior chain (hamstrings, lower back, glutes) as well as the shoulders.
I like to have wrestlers hip circuits, scapular pushups,and PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation)stretching first thing. PNF stretching is excellent at this stage in a high school aged wrestlers development.
We then move to static active flexibility exercises…
These are things such as lunge variations, where we hold the full lunge position in various ways to wake all the muscles required for high- performance wrestling.
We finish with torso work in this first stage of the workout… but not crunches, situps and such.
We use Side Raises, and Plank variations. A lot of holding in place and pause reps with these exercisesto really strengthen the core for increased mat speed.
Tip #2 – Movement Prep
The next thing I have the high school aged wrestlers do are multi- directional movement prep exercises such as jogs for 20 meters in various forms (forward, backward,carioca etc).
This is followed by joint dynamics such as butt kicks, high knees, high skips etc. to really warmup the hips while preparing them for strength training.
We follow this with some sort of Rythm exercise that involves fast, foot contact with the ground or mat. We use things such as ladder drills, quick feet or pepper knees.
The last thing we do in this part of the workout is a strength training exercise combined with full range of motion for the body. This means we use lunge walks, walking good mornings or long bear crawls/long crab walks.
Tip #3 – Strength Training
Now we are ready to get into strength training with weights.
But we are going to consider the fact that the high school aged wrestler is growing… they are not fully developed so therefore we use strength training exercises that address this while also getting the anaerobic system prepared for the rigors of the season.
This is where we add Hybrid Exercises that are simply a combination of 3 or 4 other exercises. An example that I had a team do this week was a hang clean, followed by a front squat, followed by a forward lunge with each leg.
Since it’s the offseason as we did this, we then used a weighted dip and a trap bar deadlift, each for 15 reps.
Tip #4 – Cool Down with ROM
The last thing the high school aged wrestler should do is cool down with range of motion exercise. This means exercises such as side lunge protract, or undercut retract.
The tips above will get a high school wrestler into great condition while getting stronger. They will activate many muscles that they never could if they simply lifted weights and went home.