Strength training for wrestlers is vital to becoming successful in wrestling.
I think strength training should be started as young as six years old.
Strength training has significant benefits when done properly. One of the benefits includes a reduced potential for injury.
Strength training is even a good idea for kids who simply want to look and feel better. Let’s Explore weight training for wrestling.
How Strength Training Benefits Wrestlers
I recently read an article by Mayo Clinic that basically says when done properly, weight training offers many bonuses to young athletes.
Age appropriate strength training has the following benefits.
- Make bones stronger
- Can help prevent sports-related injuries
- increase performance on the mat.
- The increased confidence will serve you child well into adulthood.
Here’s the deal:
I think strength training and chain wrestling are extremely important to becoming a great wrestler.
The New York Times has an article that says:
Weight training has many benefits. I believe it helps build self-confidence and self-assurance for your wrestler on the mat as well as in real life. I will cover specific benefits of weight training for wrestling in a future article.
Age Appropriate Strength Training for Wrestling
What do I consider age appropriate weight training?
I think strength training for wrestlers should be broken down into four age classes when I’m talking about the youth wrestler.
6-8 years old
at this age, the focus should be on light weights and high repetition. The major focus should be on doing a certain exercise correctly.
Appropriate exercises are push ups, squats, medicine balls, kettlebells, box jumps etc… I would recommend that you find a gym that is certified to resistance training with young kids.
Here is a great video that shows some great strength training exercises for kids.
9-11 years old
We are still focusing on light weight. At this age, you can start introducing weight lifting. The focus is improving strength while applying a good technique. When using free weights a child should be able to do a set of 15. If they can do a rep of 15, it’s too heavy for them.
I recommend starting out light and increasing the weight only when a child can easily do a rep of 15. In my opinion, a child should never bench or squat more than 90% of their body weight.
12-13 years old
at this age, you’re dealing with 7th and 8th graders. The strength training exercises should be quite a bit more intense. How much a child lifts at this age will depend on the child. I would recommend that a kid this age lift more than 15% over his body weight.
14 years and up
At this point, they should be under weight lifting program. If your high school doesn’t have a dedicated strength coach, you should consult a professional weight trainer to develop a strength training plan.
Strength Training Workouts You can do at Home
There are numerous strength training exercises you can do right from your home. In fact, strength training is so crucial to the sport, that every serious wrestler should incorporate a weight training program at home. We have done our research to find to find exercises that will help strength training for wrestlers.
Children can improve strength by 30% to 50% after just 8 to 12 weeks of a well-designed strength training program.
My son is lucky and his school has a full-time strength coach, but I realize that a lot of wrestlers don’t have the luxury of a strength training coach. Let’s explore some exercise that any wrestler can do at home.
We have broken the exercises down into categories. Most of these exercises either don’t need equipment or the equipment is cheap enough that you can buy these at most sporting goods stores.
I am a big fan of kettlebells. Kettlebells are cheap and can be stored anywhere. Kettlebells come in a large selection of weights also. A kettlebell can weigh as little as two pounds and as much as 100+ pounds. The kettlebell is great for truly getting stronger.
How to choose the best kettlebell for strength training
Choosing the correct kettlebell is important. There are no hard and fast rules to choosing kettlebells based on age. If your wrestler is just starting with kettlebells, we recommend that you start out light. Kettlebell weight can be increased when an athlete shows improvement with some basic exercises.
Kettlebell Strength Exercises
There are hundreds of different kettlebell exercise for strength training. Here is a list of the most common exercises to get stronger.
- Kettlebell swing
- Goblet Squat
- 1 Arm Swing
- Military Press
- Sit-up press
- The Clean
- The Snatch
- Upright Pull
- Tricep Extensions
Strength Stack 52 has a great infographic on kettlebell exercises. It’s called the Periodic Table of Kettlebell Exercises It has a picture of 52 kettlebell exercises with a link to a video to demonstrate how the exercise should be done.
Kettlebells on Amazon
I did some research and found some really good equipment on Amazon. If you’re looking for kettlebells, I would recommend the Kettlebell Kings Partial Set. Each set has nine different kettlebells that range from 9lbs to 70lbs and has a lifetime warranty.
The versatile medicine ball is an affordable and effective piece of equipment that can help you with getting stronger. While the medicine ball is similar to the kettle ball, they are used differently. The medicine ball is great for explosive exercise.
The medicine ball comes in varying sizes and weights. The medicine ball can be a small as a kids soccer ball or can be larger than a basketball. As with the kettlebell, it’s important to start off light and progress to heavier weights when your wrestler become proficient with a medicine ball. If you want to see some really good medicine ball exercises, check out functionalpatterns.com. I went to their youtube channel and he had some exercises that will definitely build strength.
Here is a list of medicine ball exercises for strength training.
- wall ball
- chest pass
- Med Ball Crunch
- Medicine ball push-ups
- Side Toss
- Seated Side Toss
- Squat Toss
- Rolling Pushups
- Medicine ball slams
Medicine Balls on Amazon
If you’re looking to purchase some great medicine balls, you should take a look at the Titan Fitness 10 – 60 lb. They sell durable medicine balls from 10 to 60 pounds.
Weight Training Doesn’t need to be Boring
your strength training program doesn’t need to be boring. Improving your wrestling strength can be fun, but will require a little planning and some imagination. One of the best things about weight training at home is that you can add variety to your weight training regimen. Make your strength-training exercises more efficient by keeping your body out of its comfort zone and trying new routines.
Speaking of being creative, I found a box jump routine that will build explosiveness and increase strength in your legs. I think this routine could help you take better shots on the mat. Your home strength program is only limited by your imagination.
Looking for a box jump set
I found a great box jump set just like the ones in the video above(but better). We recommend the j/fit Plyo Box. The set comes with a 12″, 18″, 24″, 30″ box. It is made of Solid steel construction and has 4 non-slip pads on all 4 corners.
Additional Strength Training Resources
Team USA – has a great article on strength training for wrestling. They talk about the physical makeup of the athlete is different for each kid and some key factors that should be considered for strength training.
Stack.com – has a video that shows a few strength training exercise that can be used by wrestlers. After watching the video, these same exercises can be used for all age levels.
Hunt Fitness – has written a great article on offseason wrestling training programs for wrestlers. He breaks the offseason into phases and gives a sample weight training workout plan.
FloWrestling – has an awesome page on wrestling strength. They have a bunch of videos that show what colleges across the nation are doing for strength training. Most of these are for college level wrestlers, but a lot of them can be applied to younger wrestlers.
Waubonsie Wrestling Club – has created a PDF file that outlines some basics for youth strength training as well as a sample program.
SKT Wrestling – put together a great strength training video on YouTube. It shows what strength training exercises they are doing for their youth wrestlers. It should give any parent or coach some good ideas to incorporate into an age appropriate strength training program.
What Are Your Thoughts on Youth Strength Training?
I hope you enjoyed the article and give some thought to getting your child into an age appropriate weight training program. If your wrestlers will stick to a consistent strength training program, you will see that the increased strength will translate into a more confident wrestler.
Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!
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