Explosive Speed for Wrestling

Training explosive speed for wrestling, we need to think that this workout will be done the second or third day of the week. For wrestling, athletes do some real heavy lifting; wrestlers do a leg day and an upper-body day, which leads into a day of plyometric work to really focus on speed.

On this day, with five key exercises, we are looking at attacking this from a unilateral aspect as well as a bilateral aspect. All elite wrestlers are fast when they take a shot and super quick when they react.

1. Single-Leg Hurdle Hops W/ Leg Trapped

The whole point of this movement is to simulate the leg being held up and having to defend. The leg is put up on a band. The other leg jumps side to side over a mini-hurdle.


The whole goal is being nice and easy to react to. With folk-style wrestling, we will see takedowns this way. Now, this isn’t where we want to be offensively, but if we can react quickly and have the explosive speed from a bad situation, we can get out of it and get ourselves into a better position.

Do five sets of three jumps on each leg. Focus on good stability and good hip mobility with dynamic trunk control.

2. Single-Leg Elevated Steps

In a split squat, nice and easy, we want to build quad strength and good reactiveness all throughout the knee. In the back leg, we want to be slightly plantarflexed to create an isometric action to help take a quicker, better shot from the isometric action developing that plantarflexed strength. 

The rear leg stays grounded while the front leg’s foot bounds to a risen surface, like a plate, in the neighborhood of 3-5”. The front leg needs to be quick and rhythmic the whole way through. Athletes can keep the hips at the same height, but can also change the level of the hips during sets. 


This one burns the quads. Do this movement for two to three sets of five to ten reps with each leg. 

3. Hurdle Walk Under To Hurdle Hop

This exercise improves hip mobility and bilateral explosiveness. We step under the hurdle, plant the right leg, rotate, square up to the next hurdle, and jump over. We then step under the hurdle again, plant with the left leg this time, rotate, square up to the next hurdle, and jump over again.

The goal is to try to get more explosive from that lower position. It improves hip mobility and the athlete’s explosiveness from the deep position. 


Do four to five sets. A set is two step-unders and two jumps. Just make sure to lead with the opposite leg on the second rep than the first rep. 

4. Depth Drop To Bound

This movement works on reacting and driving forward very rapidly. So we drop off a box and then bound twice in succession. Simply put, the movement is a drop and two bounds.


We want to think about changing levels and reacting quickly when performing this movement. We want to perform two to three sets of one depth drop into two rapid bounds for a maximum distance twice

5. Knee Jump To Hurdle Hops To Box Jump

This exercise is tough. Starting on the knees, with good hip extension and quick reaction with the feet, land in a half squat/crouch position, do two hurdle hops, and finish by landing on a box. It is important athletes control their landing and stay in place. 

The whole goal is big hips from the knees. Think about sprawling and hammering the hips into the aggressor’s head. Try to have a quick reaction upon landing from the knees to the crouch to the first hurdle hop. 


This is the last exercise. We want to do five or six sets of this jump series.

Recap

Think about how these five exercises will apply to the mat. As wrestlers, we want to be strong, do the big lifting, and hammer the upper bodywork. But wrestlers also need to be quick so that they can handle all of those scrambles and explode through opponents to score all the takedowns, falls, and major decisions on the way to victory. 


DANE MILLER

Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.

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