For peak strength and maximum takedowns, wrestlers should look to train a variety of bodily muscles. Contrary to popular belief, huge biceps aren’t the number one asset for serious wrestlers. When you find yourself pinned on the ground with your hands behind your head, chances are you’ll wish you spent more time building a solid core and a strong pair of thighs. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of exercises that can help you train the muscles you need to succeed on the mat. For best results, establish a weekly strength-training regimen that works different muscle groups on different days, like abs on Monday, arms on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday and so on.
Tone your core muscles by engaging in regular abdominal workouts, such as the bicycle maneuver. Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed against the ground and your hands behind your head. Lift your knees at a 45-degree angle to the ground and begin pedaling with your feet as though you were riding a bicycle. Alternate touching your left and right elbows to the opposite knees as you pedal, creating an intense workout in your abdominal muscles.
Load a barbell with a safe amount of weight and lie down on a weight bench. Perform the bench press exercise by gripping the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and lowering it towards your chest. Stop the bar an inch from your chest and slowly push upward with both hands, sending the barbell towards the ceiling. Perform sets of one to three repetitions with heavy weights for maximum strength benefits for your chest, shoulders and arms.
Build strength in your quads and calves with regular leg exercises like the jump squat. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and squatting down as low as you can go. Leap into the air as high as possible and straighten your legs so that you land in a standing position. Try performing as many reps as you can during a 30-second period, with 30-second rest breaks in between.
Work your glutes, hamstrings, spinal erectors and other posterior-chain muscles by practicing bag throws. Select a weighted punching bag and practice throwing it from a squatting position, mimicking the body mechanics of a takedown. Squat down and grip the bag so that both hands are firmly attached to the bottom. Straighten your legs and explode upward as you hurl the bag forward so that it flips over and over before hitting the ground. Perform as many reps as you can in 30 seconds before taking a break.
Tips & Warnings
One of the best ways to develop strength for wrestling is simply by going to wrestling practice. Find a team or club in your area that meets regularly, or enlist a friend who can wrestle with you on a weekly basis.
Talk to your doctor before engaging in any strength-training workouts to make sure you are healthy enough to participate. Always lift weights in the presence of a spotter, coach or personal trainer to prevent injury.