If you want to be a better wrestler, there is nothing better than finding a good partner and wrestling in the off season. Every wrestler practices from November to February. The amount of improvements you make during that time are no where near the gaps you could be closing when everyone else is taking a break.
However, if you think that the world’s greatest athletes only play one sport, you are sadly mistaken. Like it was already said, Cross Country proves to be great conditioning for any athlete. However, its just running and this is a completely different type of training. Have you ever wondered why you spent all summer running for miles and when you step onto the mat for two minutes and it feels like you’re totally out of shape? This is because it is a different type of training and it will help you last through a long practice when season comes around but its not necessarily “wrestling shape”.
Wrestlers are in a match for 6 minutes, and they need to train for that. This is using quick bursts of energy that can be trained for by doing what they call station training. This is when you split up into groups and rotate, switching exercises each time. I like to do six different stations and exercising for one minute each. These are quick sessions when you should be exercising as hard as you can. This means if you are in a push-up group, you need to do as many push-ups as you possibly can in one minute. Some other groups that you can use are sprints, sit-ups, chin-ups, climbing ropes, dips, and high knees. This will get your body accustomed to short bursts of energy like when it is needed to blast through a double leg or making lifts to bring a wrestler down.
This burst training can also be used in the weight room. You can try to partner up and have each group at a different station. Switch stations after each minute and you should lift a weight that you will be able to continue for at least a minute without burning out. You don’t necessarily have to keep count of how many repetitions you complete because the goal is to train your body to be able to utilize short bursts of energy.
I think the best pre-season conditioning program will combine both burst training and long-term training. This is so that you can finish those blast doubles and still be able to wrestle 5 matches each day. If you only consider burst-training… you’re going to be tired after the first one or two matches. This isn’t what we are looking for, after-all… state is a three day tournament and you need to perform from 8am in the morning to 11 or even later at night.
Be sure that you set-up a training program that will help you reach the level of performance you are looking to start at day 1 of the season. Training should be focused to help you peak at the right time… we are most concerned about peaking in February … not December. This doesn’t mean to take pre-season training lightly. If you are doing 50 push-ups a minute in pre-season, you should be doing a lot more by the time regionals and state comes along, don’t allow yourself to slack off.