The Fitness Five for Wrestling

by Mike Torriero

The Fitness Five for Wrestling By Mike Torriero, Journey Wrestling

The short is that the sport of wrestling has brought me all over world, and I’ve experienced everything from the beginning levels to the most elite….

I was a training partner for the United States 2001 World Cup Team held in Washington DC, I was the 2010 USA Team Leader for the World Championships held in Moscow, Russia and my day job is coaching the inner city youth of NYC for the Beat the Streets Wrestling organization.

Below are 5 characteristics that I’ve witnessed in wrestling champions from the most infant level to the world stage:

1. Consistency is Paramount:
"Victory belongs to the most persevering." – Napoleon

No matter the challenge, consistency and persistence are the answers. This single characteristic will supersede all others in a face to face bout. However, success on the wrestling mat, similar to life, doesn’t consist of one ingredient. Just as you can’t bake a cake without flour, you can’t win at the highest levels without a consistent and persistent work ethic.

The rock of the earth is strong, but water over time will create a canyon.

The short: show up today, tomorrow and every day following. Success will follow.

2. Being Strong in the “Unknown” and Kinesthetic Awareness:
Wrestling matches are often won, or lost, in positions that defy normal gym workouts – bench, squats, curls (for the girls), etc…

Cradles are cinched in scrambles, takedowns are defended in mid air, and a strong bench press is only good when fighting off your back.

Many of the world’s best wrestlers will tell you that they’ve always been strong, or quick, or had the ability to always land on their feet. But, certain workouts and training methods can help develop many of these attributes.

Kettle bells are a great example of a simple tool that, when used properly, can help develop full body strength and explosiveness. And, in my opinion, the single greatest way to help acquire super-human athleticism is to train and learn simple gymnastic techniques - if you can walk on your hands, land a back flip, and lift your body on a pair of rings, the chances of winning a scramble or fending off a series of high level attacks will be surely be greater with these skills developed.

The short: learn
to walk on your hands, be able to do 20 pull ups and develop your simple gymnastic skills.

3. Quickness, Flexibility and Injury Prevention:
In most every sport quickness is a parameter for recruiting or signing an athlete:

Bat speed in baseball, 40 yard dash in football, a quick first step in basketball and hands like lightning in boxing are just a few examples of how quickness defines a great athlete. And, the secret key to quickness is flexibility…

The ability to touch your toes and even do a split are common in the world’s greatest athletes and wrestlers. In generations past stretching was often over looked and only considered a small part of ones workout regimen. That isn’t the case any longer at the most elite levels.

Strength and conditioning programs at colleges and universities are putting lots of time into band training, and yoga instructors are being contracted out in nearly every professional sports organization around the country.

More over, and possibly most important is injury prevention. If you can’t play, you can’t win. Injury prevention and life fitness are directly correlated to ones ability to stay loose and limber.

The short: if you’re strong but not flexible than you’re operating below your potential. Go stretch.

4. Endurance, Endurance, Endurance:
It’s simple – in order to win at the highest level, you’re allowed to get tired, but not more than your opponent.

We were told in college that we should get as tired as possible (by doing sprints) and then to wrestle live.

Running, swimming or cycling – it doesn’t matter….expand your lungs and have your body get used to processing lactic acid before any competition takes place.

The best wrestlers get stronger as the matches go longer and are more tired during practice than after any competition. Train yourself to be in great shape.

The short: If you’re new to the sport and don’t know what you’re doing, go for a run. If you do know what you’re doing, go for a run.

5. Training = Confidence:
When everything is equal, the man with the bigger chip on his shoulder typically wins.

Confidence is built by winning and winning is accomplished by training. Train hard and you’ll fight harder to win. And, the more you win, the more confident you get.

The short: Stretch, Run, Lift, Wrestle and REPEAT.

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Aug 03, 2011
Great Stuff!
by: Coach Briody

Great article Mike! Thanks for the contribution!

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