Strength Training for Wrestling
Perfecting your technique is critical if you want to become a successful wrestler. It can be easy for beginning wrestlers to fall into the trap of trying to muscle opponents into submission, when they should be moving more tactically and more strategically. However, if two wrestlers are equally skillful, the one who is physically more powerful will have a significant advantage. Therefore, although it certainly should not lead you to neglect your technique training, strength training is an important part of becoming a better wrestler.
Of course, you need to develop the strength of your entire body to be able to wrestle effectively. However, certain targeted exercises can be particularly applicable to wrestling training, and should therefore become a significant part of your strength training regimen.
Kettlebell training, with its uniquely unbalanced weight style, has become increasingly popular with athletes in recent years due to the functional power it builds. Kettlebell swings can be particularly valuable for wrestlers because it helps develop hip strength -- something that is extremely beneficial for many different aspects of wrestling, but especially for clinch throws. Keep in mind that since kettlebell training is very different from ordinary dumbbell or barbell training, you should have a qualified instructor teach you how to perform kettlebell swings properly. As with any exercise, poor technique can easily lead to injuries.
Squats are another exercise that should be a mainstay of a wrestling strength training regimen. Although squats particularly target the lower body, they provide a significant workout for the entire body at once. The strength that squats can help you develop will be applicable in virtually any position of a wrestling match, both on offense and on defense. Be careful to use proper technique during squats as well; it is an easy to make technique mistakes while squatting. Make sure that you keep the weight centered; that you keep your back straight, strong and unrounded; that you drop your hips back; and that you do not allow your knees to move forward in front of your feet.
For building raw upper body power in the clinch, few exercises can match the old fashioned pull-up. Not only will pull-ups help you develop significant arm and upper back strength, they will also help you build strength and endurance in your grip -- a valuable trait in many different wrestling scenarios. If you wish, wear a weighted vest or belt to make your pull-ups more challenging.
Finally, mix box jumps into your routine to develop both your cardiovascular conditioning and your explosiveness. This can help you maintain a higher pace during a match, as well as increase the speed of your shots. If you are unused to performing box jumps, begin with a relatively short box; move up to taller boxes as your ability develops. Wearing a weighted vest or holding dumbbells in each hand will make this exercise more challenging as well.