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How to Build Muscle for Wrestling

By Zach Lazzari

Strength is critical to wrestling success and specific exercises are required to build muscle. Wrestling is an anaerobic sport and static strength training does not properly prepare the muscles for competition. Endurance exercises, explosive exercises and training through oxygen depletion are the key to building muscles as a wrestler.

Endurance Training

Wrestling competitions and practice are a drain on your muscles and endurance is an absolute necessity. You will compete in numerous matches during the course of a single tournament and your muscles must be capable of cycling through warm-ups, competition and cool-downs at least four times in a day. Endurance training includes running at a moderately fast pace for three to six miles at a time. Include hills and stairs in your running workouts to build strength and endurance simultaneously. Combine your endurance workouts with daily wrestling practices for maximum results.

Resistance Training

Incorporate resistance training into your wrestling practice and morning running workouts. Throw a medicine ball with a partner; do shoulder rotations with a resistance band; and perform static dumbbell lifts, like rows and shoulder presses, to build a base of muscle to protect your shoulders and knees against injury. Wear a resistance harness while you shadow wrestle as well. Practice your takedowns and escapes with the harness to build muscle and explosive energy. Improve your muscle endurance and strength by doing pullups and pushups on a daily basis.

Explosive Exercises

Explosive exercises are the key to building the fast-twitch muscle fibers that create quickness. Do plyometric box jumps, knee tucks and jumping sequences as part of your wrestling practice. Plyometrics build the strength required for making quick takedown and escape moves. Also focus on Olympic-style lifts in the weight room. The clean, the clean and jerk and the snatch are excellent lifting exercises for wrestlers. The Olympic lifts simulate the motions required for lifting an opponent off the mat. These lifts build the strength for finishing your moves under resistance from the opponent.

Mat Work

The most effective method of building muscle for a wrestling match is the actual act of wrestling. Maintain a stance for your entire practice and do repetitive technical drills to build the specific muscles required for each move. Find a partner close to your size and do one move as many times as possible in 30 seconds, before switching partners. This not only builds muscle but it also develops calluses through contact and hardens your muscles for future contact.

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