The Most Effective Wrestling Workout

First and foremost, the most vital thing when you are working out for wrestling is simply to wrestle and drill, and not necessarily in that order. Whenever there is an opportunity to get on a wrestling mat, seize it. Although let’s face it, there are not many pickup wrestling matches going on at your local gym.

Have no fear; there are other ways to improve your wrestling. The jumprope for one is very important when you are working out for wrestling. I credit it with giving me all of my speed. Build your ability over time until you can go for thirty minutes with no problem. When that becomes too easy for you increase the intensity by sprint jumping rope for thirty seconds and rest at your normal speed for a minute. Repeat until you’ve done it for thirty minutes. Progressively increase the sprint to one minute and the rest to only thirty seconds.

As for the gym when you are working out for wrestling, general principles include: Doing exercises that are explosive, focusing on technique not strength, doing a maximum of twenty sets per muscle group per day, always warming-up before and stretching after your workouts, and probably most importantly working hardest in the areas where you are the weakest. If your legs are as thin as piano wire, make that your number one priority in the offseason. If your neck is the same size as it was when you were seven…well you get it.

Important muscles when you are working out for wrestling

Ranked in order:

1. Legs (for speed, explosiveness and defense)

2. Forearms/wrists (for strength in a tie up)

3. Back (for everything)

4. Everything else

Key exercises when you are working out for wrestling

Leg exercises:

Box jumps (every week jump a little higher)

Sprint jumprope


Walking lunges

Forearm exercises:

Towel Pull-ups

Weight Pinch with fingers (start with two 5lb plates in each hand)

Pull-up hangs (keep your chin over the pull up bar for a minute)

Back exercises:


Hang Cleans

Dead Lifts

Remember to change-up your exercises at least once a month. Your muscles get used to the same thing over and over again. You have to keep them off-balance. A great indicator is soreness. If you are not sore at all the following day it is time to change-up your routine when you are working out for wrestling, especially in the offseason.

In the offseason build muscle and during the season sustain that muscle with maintenance lifting. Maintenance lifting involves lighter weight and higher repetitions.

The following is a four-day workout routine I came up with my brother, who is a NASM-certified personal trainer; use it as a guide more than anything else. If you have any questions about how to do a certain exercise described below leave a comment and I will try to respond ASAP.

Sample weekly routine when you are working out for wrestling:

Day 1

-10 minute warm-up – Any of the following; jump rope, active stretching, light jog, planks

-Single leg squats with dumbbells

-Plank/Pushup on stability ball- hold plank for a minute then perform 15 pushups engaging your core

-Box Jumps with medicine ball


-Any forearm strengthener (i.e. forearm curls, reverse grip bicep curls, rope twist, hanging towel pull-ups)

-Reverse Crunch (legs) on Stability ball until exhaustion

-Jackknife sit-ups until exhaustion

-5 minute cool down stretch

Day 2

-10 minute warm-up-, jump rope, active stretching, light jog, or planks

-Squat-Curl-Shoulder Press- Back Row (as in one exercise movement)

-Pull-ups until exhaustion superset (SS) with light Lat Pull downs

-Rows on Unstable Surface SS w/Reverse Flies

-Incline Dumbbell bench press SS w/dips until exhaustion

-Leg Extension

-Oblique exercise your gym has

-Side planks

-Bicycle Sit-ups until Exhaustion

-5 minute cool down stretch

Day 3

-10 minute warm-up-, jump rope, active stretching, light jog, or planks

-Barbell squats


-Forearm Pinches (pinch two plates smooth side out for as long as you can)

-Barbell body row

-Spiderman Pushups (Alternate by bringing one knee in at a time to the same side elbow as you perform a pushup while your leg is in the air)

-Squat with forward Shoulder Extensions

-Chest Cable Crossovers

-Back Cable Crossovers

-Back Extensions

-Explosive vertical jumps

-5 minute- Cool Down stretch

Day 4

-10 minute warm-up-, jump rope, active stretching, light jog, or planks

-Dumbbell snatches (if available use a cowbell)

-Towel Pull-ups

-Calf raises into shoulder press

-T Pushups (alternate raising arms high after each rep)

-Seated Twists with medicine ball

-Cobras (Extensions on ground or medicine ball while lying on your stomach)

-Jump squats with Dumbbells

-5 minute- Cool Down stretch