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Wrestling Tips to Become a Better Wrestler

By Cliff Montgomery,
Whatever their style, wrestlers have a special need for overall strength and stamina. These quick tips give you the best-proven techniques for strength training and nutrition used by wrestling trainers, whatever their stripe.

Squats--Most trainers agree that squats are one of the finest exercises you can do. Squats work your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves.

Stand with feet hips-wide, toes facing straight forward or angled slightly out. Gradually bend the knees and lower hips towards the floor, keeping your torso straight and abs drawn in tight. Keep your knees behind your toes; make certain everything's pointing in the same direction. Do not bend lower than 90 degrees. Perform 12-16 reps of this motion 2-3 non-consecutive days every week.

Lunges--Lunges use most of the muscles in your legs--especially your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.

Stand in a split-stance (one leg forward, one leg back). Bend knees and lower body into a lunge position, keeping the front knee and back knee at 90 degree angles. Slowly push back up to starting position, maintaining the weight in your heels. Don't let your front knee bend past your toes, and never lock your knees at the top. Variations: front lunges, back lunges and side lunges. Do this exercise 2-3 times per week for 12 to 16 reps.

Push-Ups--Push-ups, like squats, are compound motions employing almost all the muscles in your body. You'll use your chest, shoulders, triceps, back and abs.

Place yourself face down on the floor, resting on your toes/knees and hands. Your hands should be wider than your shoulders, body in a straight position from head to toe/knees. Inhale, slowly bend your arms and lower your body to the floor, stopping when your elbows are at 90 degrees. Don't sink in the middle; don't stick your rear up in the air. Exhale and push yourself up. Variations include incline, decline, wall pushups or, for the brave, one-armed pushups.

Perform this action 2-3 non-consecutive days every week; add a rep each time you do it.

The Plank--'The plank' is an isolation movement employed in Pilates and Yoga. It targets the abs, back, arms and legs. The plank also works your internal abdominal muscles.

Lie face down on the mat, with elbows on the floor next to your chest. Push your body off the floor in a push-up position, resting on elbows or hands. Constrict the abs and keep the body in a straight line from head to toes. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat as many times as you can. Novices should first do this move on their knees, and work their way up to balancing on their toes.

Lat Pulldown--The lat pulldown uses all the major muscles of your back (the latissmus dorsi), which helps you burn calories and, of course, strengthens these muscles.

Sit on the lat pulldown machine and grasp the bar with palms out and wider than shoulders. Pull your abs in and lean back slightly. Bend your elbows and draw the bar down towards your chin, working the outer muscles of your back. Do this exercise 2-3 times a week using enough weight to complete 12-16 repetitions. If you don't have access to a gym, you can substitute the well-known chin-up, which can be employed in a wider variety of places.

Use these in your fitness program at least 2-3 times/week. They will strengthen your body and burn calories. Don't forget to also do some cardiovascular activities.

In order to increase lean muscle mass, you should mix a solid muscle strengthening program with a wrestling diet encompassing the essentials:

Carbohydrates--Carbs are the supreme energy source for strength training. Stored as glycogen in the muscles, it's the fuel used to supply energy for short, intense bursts of power.

You can base your personal need on the following formula:

3.6 carb grams x body weight(lbs)= carb grams per day

So a 140 pound person needs 504 carbohydrate grams per day; a 200-pound person needs 720 grams.

Protein--The basic building element for muscle tissue; strength trainers need to consume more than others. Your protein needs are a reflection of your increased volume of training and your efforts to build muscular endurance. Daily protein recommendations for serious strength athletes are about 0.6 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.

Calories--Both your energy needs and calorie requirements increase as you continue to build muscle mass. Energy needs for subsistence can be based on your total training time if you currently work out twice daily:

12-14 calories per pound: Mild activity/ no purposeful training or exercise (day off).

15-17 calories per pound: One hour training at moderate intensity

18-24 calories per pound: One to two hours at moderate intensity

25-30 calories per pound: Several hours of training daily

Fat--Unsaturated fats will round out your intake, at no more than 0.5 grams/lb. body weight.

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