3 Exercises To Increase Speed & Power For Wrestling

Dustin Myers


     Some of the most common questions that I hear from parents and coaches is “how do I get my athletes faster?” or “how can my wrestlers get more explosive?”.  Many of these same coaches and parents have tried (and failed) to accomplish this goal using olympic lifts - snatches and hang cleans.  While olympic lifts are an excellent way to increase speed and power, they are skill lifts that - in my experience - require technical expertise and the time that is spent perfecting the movements is not worth the trade off, at least when it comes to youth or high school athletes.  So that’s not to say that olympic lifting is not an effective power development tool, it is just an ineffective (and dangerous) training implement when done incorrectly or with too heavy of a load.  Even when programming for elite college and olympic level wrestlers I rarely employ olympic lifting, instead opting for sled work and plyometrics.

     Plyometrics are a much easier (from a coaching standpoint) entry point for athletes to begin power and speed development.  However, the most common mistake I see coaches and athletes make is using plyometrics as a conditioning tool.  If you want to do timed minute rounds of box jumps for conditioning, that is fine, but that is not the ideal way to develop explosive power.  To focus on power development, the reps must be kept low, have sufficient rest between sets, and done with crisp form in an explosive manner.  Here are 3 great plyometric movements that will help your athletes increase power and speed:

1. Seated Box Jump - start by placing an 18” box 2-3 feet away from a higher box.  Sit, rock back and then swing your arms up infant of you as you explosively jump onto the box, landing with your entire foot on the surface.  Stand up to extend the hips and then step down (do not jump down) carefully.

Rx: Sets of 1 - 3, with jumps spaced 15-20 seconds apart.  Give yourself full recovery (2-3 minutes) between sets, which can be an optimal time to do upper body band prehab.


2. Pop Up to Broad Jump - kneel down and let your hips drift back to above your ankles.  Pop your hips and bring your feet out from under you as you jump forward, landing in a full squat with your hips back.  Immediately transition into broad jump, jumping out as far as possible. 

Rx: Sets of 3-5 with 10 seconds rest between reps.


3. KB Swing - start with a kettle bell out infant of you with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width.  Drag the kettle bell between your legs, then “pop” your hips to extend into an upright position.  Continue to hip hinge and extend the hips to swing the kettle bell.


In my next article I will show you how to contrast these movements with heavy compound lifts to further increase your body’s fast twitch response and recruitment.


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