Wrestlers: 10 Tips To Finish The Season STRONG
The end of the season is almost upon us! Don’t let all of your hard work go to waste. Follow these 10 simple tips to stay fresh and on top of your game as you close in on the ultimate prize.
1. Avoid overtraining
Wrestling is a grinding sport - but don’t confuse simply grinding as training. There are certain times of the year when more is better, but as you enter into the final stretch you need to train smart. Sprint work and heavy conditioning may be good early in the week but two days before the tournament keep your volume low and conserve your power for the big show.
2. Continue to lift heavy - but lower volume
One of the biggest mistakes that wrestlers make is switching exclusively to high rep, low weight circuit style lifting (by their reasoning, to build endurance) and abandoning heavy lifting late in the season. When done too often, these high rep circuits will simply wear down and fatigue the muscle, causing loss of strength and power when you need it most. Continue to lift heavy on your big compound lifts (Deadlift, Rows, Bench Press, Squats, Lunges) but keep the volume low - rep range of 1-3 with an emphasis on clean, crisp form and bar speed.
3. Rehydrate properly
Those 6lbs of water you lost in the practice room? That fluid was filled with lost electrolytes that need replaced, and simply drinking water won’t cut it. I recommend some diluted Piedialyte after an intense practice, with some added Max Effort Post for recovery and proper intra muscular rehydration (Glutamine plays a major role in driving fluids back into the depleted muscle cells).
4. Don’t gorge after weigh-ins
Want to perform your best on the mat? Then quit stuffing your self full of junk from the concession stand as soon as weigh ins are over. Stick to simple carbs and foods that are easy to digest and will give you quick energy. Fruit, bagels, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and coconut water are all great post weigh in options.
5. Don’t abuse the 2lb allowance
Here in Ohio and many other states, high school wrestlers are allowed a 2lb allowance after the mid point of the year. Don’t use this two pound cushion as an excuse to eat bad or mismanage your weight cut. You should be making weight easier now, be settled into your nutrition plan, and making the weight with ease. Be just as disciplined with that extra 2lb cushion and use your newfound energy to continue lifting weights instead of cutting weight.
6. Avoid too much (of the wrong type of) conditioning
Listen to your body. Knees hurting? Take a break from the road work and swap running for the bike. Having trouble making weight and your energy is low? Cool it on the sprint work and do some easy steady state work on the jump rope, bike or air dyne and sweat but don’t suffer.
7. Prioritize Sleep
Put down your phone. Turn off Xbox. At this time of year more than any other, your body needs proper rest and recovery. Prioritize your sleep schedule over your social life and allow your body to recharge and heal. Burning the candle at both ends increases your risk of injury or illness - and the last thing you need is the flu.
8. Take care of nagging injuries
By now you probably have a few minor injuries from the grind of the season. Don’t ignore them tough guy - talk to your team doctor or chiro and get started on a solid rehab/prehab plan to minimize the injuries influence on your training plan.
9. Eat to Replenish, Repair, and Energize
I cannot stress it enough - you are what you eat. Give your body the proper nutrients to fuel your intense training session and to repair the damage done. Foods that you should eat plenty of daily: eggs, green vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy carbs like brown rice or quinoa, olive oil and lean meats. Do NOT skip meals to make weight! If you eat the right things all week you should never have to starve yourself at the end.
10. Don’t settle for your ranking
It’s the end of the season - anything can happen. The rankings and the message boards have you picked to fall short of the podium? None of that matters. Show up, focus on your effort, and control the controlables. Do you really think their is a big difference ability wise from the kid that looses in the blood round at states and the kid that places 6th? Usually not. Sometimes the athlete that falls short was just “happy to be there” and the guy on top of the podium believed in his or her destiny. It’s up to decide which mindset you take into the post season.
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