Wrestling Strength Training: Best Upper Body and Best Lower Body Lifts
Obviously, there are plenty of exercises that will provide tremendous results for a wrestler. Many lifts carryover to the sport, some uni-lateral, some bi-lateral and some total body! For the purpose of this blog, I will play the stranded island game and pick ONLY TWO movements that you would be allowed to use if stranded on an island preparing for a world championship wrestling match (yes, I know this is a ridiculous hypothetical situation).
Upper Body: Rope Climb
I am sure some of the heavyweights are out there reading this and complaining that there is no way they could do a rope climb. That is where you need to step up your training. To be able to execute a rope climb, the athlete MUST have impressive grip strength, strong lats, swole biceps and great core strength. The rope climb is also a matter of acceleration for the lats as the prime movers and this can lead to incredible coordination and even improve the speed of the lats when on the mat working through a front headlock position! If you can’t do a rope climb, work on dead hang pull ups and chin ups. If you still are unable to accomplish a rope climb, substitute it with a standing sled pull on a fat rope (2”) while pulling a prowler.
Lower Body: Front squat
I can hear the grumbling now...but Dane, my wrists hurt when I front squat! Sack up and deal with it, you are a wrestler and front squats work wonders in numerous ways! A front squat has less torque on the knee joint, it can improve overall mobility, it forces the athlete to maintain upright posture, the weight is front loaded just as in wrestling, it transfers well to a clean and it dramatically improves core development!!! Front squats can increase speed, force production and even “mat strength” because there is constant tension in the movement.
Add these two exercises to your next wrestling training session and enjoy the fatigue and thus GAINS you will achieve!