6-Minute Conditioning for Wrestlers

March 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaches Corner, Training

A long time ago I figured out that wrestlers are still busy students and family members.  You have to go to school, wrestle, eat, sleep, and do it again for months at a time.

That’s why strength and conditioning begins to diminish as the season progresses.

… not good!!

That’s why I came up with the 6 Minute Conditioning Program for Wrestlers a couple of years ago.  It’s a body weight program that helps develop strength, power/speed and conditioning at the same time… with nothing more than a stopwatch and some guts!

The other thing about the program is that the exercises I’ve chosen will work synergistically to give you wrestling-specific functional development.

I like it as a little extra at the end of wrestling practice!  Check it out below:


6 Minute Conditioning for Wrestlers Program

How To Develop Strength
Getting stronger is actually quite simple.  You need to create an environment of Progressive Resistance – that means you want to keep challenging your muscles with continuous, increasing stimulus.

The other thing that is important to getting strong as far as training is concerned is something called Overload.  Overload is when you ask your muscles to do something that they can’t do. In other words, you want to challenge your muscles with a working stimulus that eventually becomes impossible to continue using.

This is sometimes called reaching failure…

I like to refer to strength training as one of the few times in life where you ‘want to fail.’  This ‘good failure’ simply means to train your muscles to the point where another repetition in good form is impossible to complete.

Training a muscle to failure the premise behind getting stronger on this program.  When you begin this program you will get to a point within 6 minutes where you can’t force your muscles to continue with one of the exercises – you will have failed during that exercise.  This sets the initial tone for muscular strength gains.  Over time you may need to add additional stimulus in order to continue Progressive Resistance for your muscles.

Also, because you are accomplishing the point where you reach Overload in your muscles during the short workouts, you ‘might’ allow your body to release powerful hormones (Testosterone and Growth Hormone) naturally to induce more gains in strength and development.  With all things equal, if you can accomplish the same amount of work in less time you will get stronger over the long run.

One of the cool things about the program is the introduction of Lunges and variations of them which really lend themselves to complete ‘wrestling-specific’ exercise selection.  Further, Lunges that are done with static holds start to build that neuromuscular connection throughout the posterior chain area… and this results in faster takedown speed as well as faster defensive wrestling.

How To Develop Power
Power and speed are attributes of an athlete who is strong.  A stronger muscle is a faster muscle… to a certain extent.  Once we make a muscle stronger, we see more power and speed.  At that point we can increase power and speed even more with specialized training.

One of the ways to train for more power is through multiple, low-repetitions sets of particular exercises.  These exercises must be multi-joint exercises that use most of the body at the same time.  These exercises are performed explosively for just a few repetitions, for multiple sets.

We can now use faster repetition speeds.  When you are getting stronger, you never actually move weight (or in this case body weight) fast… due to muscle fibers getting tired.  When training for power we want to explode and move fast in order to incorporate more muscle fibers in an all-out muscular effort that works synergistically to create faster athletic effort.

This program addresses power and speed by incorporating speed, and frequent sets of some of the best body weight exercises in order to address the power and speed needs of a wrestling match.

I’ve chosen ‘fast exercises’ for this program – ones that parallel the competitive spirit as well as the energy output of a growing wrestler.  These exercises are easy to learn too… in fact most of them you’ve probably done in the past in some form.  The difference is how we put them together and the intensity level place on them.

You’ll clearly see in the videos (links are at the end of this manual) how to do the exercises without cutting corners.

How To Condition

Wrestling is an anaerobic sport… bottom line.  Therefore, it is best trained with anaerobic-type conditioning programs.

I never was a fan of traditional Circuit Programs for wrestlers because they wind up being half-assed strength workouts combined with half-assed aerobic workouts.

The issue with traditional Circuit Training, as I watched in one Division I Wrestling Program was a stopwatch being set for 60 seconds and the wrestlers would go from station to station for 60 seconds, grinding out as many reps as they could on each exercise.  But what does this become?  It becomes a guy throwing the weight around as fast as possible with crappy form.  This involves momentum which reduces muscular output.  As a result they get less overall muscle stimulation for increased strength.

In the 6 Minute Conditioning Program we don’t throw weight around.   We don’t need to…  The program is set up so that you fail… in order to get stronger.

When you begin the 6 minute set you are at your strongest, and you will be able to train each exercise fast… with proper form. This means you will be developing speed and power.  As the stopwatch continues, you will get more tired… and this means you will eventually hit momentary muscular failure.  This is the point where you are getting stronger.  Now… do to the fact that we are going to have
alternate periods of hard exercise followed by brief rest for up to 6 minutes, we are training similarly to the needs of a wrestling match.

If it sounds confusing…. don’t worry about it.  I’m going to give you the list of exercises next.

Be sure to give me feedback after you do it too… I want to hear from you:

The Exercises

    Full Body Weight Exercises:

• Burpees
• Jumping Squat
• Burpee Jumping Squat
• Mountain Climbers
• 8 Count Bodybuilders
• Combat Squats
• Pushups

    Static Contraction Exercises:

• Wall Sits
• Lunge with Vertical Contraction
• Lunge with Horizontal Contraction
• Lunge with Twist
• Plank
• 1 – Leg Plank
• Prone Cobra

How To Do The 6 Minute Conditioning Program

• Pick one exercise from the Full Body Exercise list and one exercise from the Static Contraction Exercise list for each workout.  They exercises are arranged in the way that I personally like them but you can mix and match as you see fit.

• Set a stopwatch for 6 minutes and begin.

• Do 5 repetitions of the first exercise (full body exercise)

• Immediately follow with 20 seconds of the second exercise (static contraction exercise)

• If you have a static contraction exercise that uses both sides of the body, then do 10 seconds of one side of the body, followed by 10 seconds of the other side of the body.

• Alternate between 5 repetitions of the Full Body exercise with 20 seconds (or 10 seconds of each side of the body) of the Static Contraction exercise as long as you can.

• If you can do the entire 6 minute program you add another 6 minute combination.

If you’re interested in the complete 6 Minute Conditioning for Wrestlers video program you can get them as a bonus with the Ultimate Wrestling Strength program or by membership at Wrestling Performance.