Wrestlers: 5 Crucial Exercises You Haven't Been Doing

I know, I know.  The wrestling season isn’t even over yet and I’m already looking ahead to off-season strength training.  Let’s not so much say I’m looking ahead, it’s that I want you to plan ahead.  If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, then you know that the foundational movements of my strength program are simple:  Deadlifts, Squat movements, heavy presses and rows, and accessories for a stable posterior chain and core.  Pick up heavy things, set them down, repeat.  Savagely. 

But what about my favorite strength side dishes to go with the meat head main course?  Most of them are basic exercises like curls and shrugs, but I bet there are a few key movements that you have been leaving off of your plate.  Here are 5 exercises that can be a game changer for you this off season that I bet you weren’t doing last spring.

 

Snatch Grip Dead Lift

Squat down with a narrow stance and grab the bar with a wide, double-over hand grip.  Keep your lower back flat and “pull the bar apart” to keep your upper back tight as you pull the weight off the floor.  This variation forces you to get lower than a conventional or sumo deadlift and it will test your mobility as well as grip strength.

Zercher Squat

Place a loaded bar on a low rack set to the approximate height of your elbows when you are at the bottom of a squat.  With a wide stance, cradle the bar in the crook of your elbows and place your crossed arms on your chest.  Keep the bar close to your chest as you stand up, hipping in at the top.

I like to use this as an alternative to the traditional Front Squat, rotating it into the programming for 2 weeks at a time every 6-8 weeks.

 

DB Snyder Press

Squat down and grab a single DB with one hand.  Using the other hand for assistance, row it up towards your chest, then stand upright as you hoist it to your shoulder in a neutral grip.  Use your legs to push-press the weight up over head.  Be careful not to flare your elbow out.  Lower under control to your chest then perform a good morning hinging at the waist before lowering the weight to the ground.  Switch hands after each rep.  This movement combines all of the elements of a single arm clean and press, bent over row and a good morning.

Bamboo Bar overhead walk

Use bands to hang plates or kettle bells from a bamboo or earthquake bar.  Press the bar overhead and stabilize it as you slowly walk forward.  You may substitute a set of dumbbells or kettle bells if you do not have access to this bar.  The key is to keep your core tight and your arms fully extended.

 

Hanging Hamstring Med Ball Holds

Hang from a pull up bar and curl your feet up behind you, contracting your hamstrings.  Squeeze a med ball between your ankles or have a partner load a heavy one on top of your ankles.  Keep your hips forward and knees back as you hold for 10-30 seconds.

 

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