6 Best Exercises for Wrestling – Garage Strength

6 Best Exercises for Wrestling

Combat athletes like wrestlers need blast impulse, power endurance, and strength. Blast impulse is needed to develop the skills to produce a large amount of force in a very short period. It happens regularly throughout a bout.

Power endurance is needed because combat sports athletes like wrestlers are asked to perform powerful, explosive movements for an extended period. Being able to hold 90% of your power output late in a match pays off in bringing home the win.

Your absolute strength is important as well. Exercises like a back squat, zombie squat, bench press, pull-up, or rope climb help build brute strength. Absolute strength carries over to combat. If you think about the supporting exercises for absolute strength, like a forearm roller or plyometrics, all factor into moving heavy weight fast. 

Exercises like these are incorporated into the wrestling strength programs found inside of Peak Strength, so let's learn a little more about them before you start using them. 

1. Gwiz Skater Squat Into Single-Leg Bounds

The Gwiz jump is a great exercise. The movement begins with you putting yourself in the bottom of a skater squat. Have your knee on a foam balance pad to lend support. Make sure the back leg is flexed at the knee so the toes are elevated from the ground.

The exercise exposes asymmetries. The exercise helps with stability, and mobility, being more reactive for blast impulse and having better dynamic trunk control. The exercise can be done on an athlete's day or at the end of a workout.

You want to begin by performing three skater squats while holding the ankle of your back leg. After the third squat, you want to bound over mini-hurdles with a series of single-leg bounds. The exercise is great at mimicking the precarious positions wrestlers and combat athletes can end up in.

You can do this exercise for 5 sets of 3 squats and 3 jumps on each side of the body.

2. Rope Climb

When you are wrestling or fighting it is good to be heavy on someone’s head. It is also nice when you are explosive in your lats. The rope climb is the best exercise to develop this strength.

Using a larger rope helps with wrist control and getting heavy on the head. Pay attention to how explosive you can be climbing the rope hand over hand. You can train power endurance by doing as many reps as possible in the time frame that mimics the length of a match or bout. Collegiate wrestlers can use a 7-minute timer to do so.

Rope climbs also train the grip to be explosive. Every time the rope is grabbed you are recruiting high-threshold motor units.

If you are more advanced and want to deliberately target dynamic trunk control you can hold a dumbbell between your feet. The trunk will provide stability and the lats and grip will still be targeted. L-sits will also help with specifically targeting the trunk as well.

3. Single-Leg Squat

Single-leg squats if done with an open-face trap bar, can help develop your pulling position. You can also put a bar on your back.

In wrestling, you get in weird positions. You want to learn how to change your level and be strong in weird positions. The single-leg squat will also help you in unilateral positions, like taking a shot. The exercise also develops absolute strength. 

Do 4 to 6 sets of 4 to 6 reps on each side.

4. Banded Dumbbell Single-Arm Press

If you want to use a PowerLastic band and dumbbells there are greater co-contractions in the shoulders. Having prominent co-contractions in the shoulders creates extreme stability.

Lying on an incline bench with the PowerLastic band wrapped around the back, you will do one-arm presses with the dumbbells while holding the other arm in a lockout position. Your upper back and triceps will be on fire.

The exercise will teach your body how to co-contract in the shoulders, enhance pummeling ability, and create good strength endurance to help throughout and late into a match.

powerlastic bands press

5. Zombie Squat

Not having dynamic trunk control can result in you getting pulled forward from a heavy collar tie. You instinctually come back up and your hips and feet are open. 

This exercise movement can help you when someone is heavy on your head. It gives you better ab strength for dynamic trunk control.

The zombie squat forces you to be super upright. Your hips will become more mobile and your back will strengthen. The movement also contributes to absolute strength.

The zombie squat is extremely safe. Do 4 sets of 7 reps or 5 to 6 sets of 3 to 4 reps. You want to use zombie squats regularly to improve dynamic trunk control. 

6. Assault Bike Tabata

You want to do this to get “in shape” for wrestling. Sitting on an assault bike for 30 minutes is a great long, slow distance. You can also use different time frames and set various distance or caloric goals to achieve.

In this instance, you want to perform a Tabata on the assault bike. A Tabata lasts for 4 minutes. You go for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds for 8 rounds. Don’t cheat the time and go as hard as you can for the 20 seconds on. At some point, you will be able to do the Tabata for two or three 4-minute rounds. The goal is for you to sit around 80 RPMs for the duration of the Tabata when not resting.

Do this and you will be in pretty good shape.


Wrestlers and fighters have to factor in how to maintain their power endurance and conditioning while increasing their blast impulse and absolute strength. Maintaining strength helps with joint integrity and overall strength. 

If you're looking for a training program to improve your performance as a wrestler, sign up for Peak Strength and get 5 free workouts specific for wrestlers. 

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