…when I’m not busy eating my brother’s leftovers, I’m pretty good at thinking…sometimes.
Anyway, if you’ve been reading my blog over the last few of months, you’ve seen me make a shift in my posts. More and more I’ve been trying to support my posts with solid research.
And while I’ve started running out of wrestling-specific research to incorporate; I’ve at the same time come to the conclusion that there really isn’t a whole lot out there.
For instance, a few weeks ago I purchased a product that details over 300 of the most relevant research studies pertaining to sprinting. You would not believe the studies out there dealing with increasing sprinting speed and jumping ability.
And while this information is great for team sport athletes, due to the unique demands of the sport, the research is not directly specific to wrestlers.
So that got me thinking and I began to realize that strength coaches, like me, who work with wrestlers, are designing plans under the assumption that they will improve performance.
And in a way, I suppose, we know performance is improving through the increases in strength and power in the weight room.
But do we really know that increasing a squat, a clean, or any other exercise will specifically transfer over to increased shot speed? Stand up speed? Mat return power?
Unfortunately, we really don’t.
All there is to go on is feedback from the wrestler and looking at whether or not the wrestler is winning more.
But other than that there is no solid data that says “do xyz program and you will see, on average, x% increase in shot speed, force produced when finishing a shot, etc.”
Well, my friends, that’s all about to change.
Starting this week I’ll officially be using a Tendo Unit to test the effectiveness of the programs I’m implementing with wrestlers.
Rather than do what I’ve done in the past, which is simply design programs to build the squat, bench, weighted chinup, etc. (under the assumption that increasing strength in those exercises will improve performance on the mat), instead I’ll be designing and testing programs specifically aimed at increasing qualities like shot speed, force produced when finishing a takedown, stand up speed, and force produced when performing a mat return.
To my knowledge, this will be the first time anything like this has ever been done and I’m really excited and fortunate to have such committed wrestlers to help with the project.
What The Tendo Does
Essentially a Tendo Unit is a small computer meant to measure both average and peak velocity and power.
Normally it’s been used in a weight room setting to measure the speed of the bar during a specific exercise and the power generated from it.
Here’s a quick video showing how it’s been traditionally used:
I’ve known about the Tendo Unit for a number of years, but it wasn’t until recently that I started wondering why no one (to my knowledge) has ever hooked it up to a person, specifically a wrestler, to measure the speed and force of their specific sporting movements.
And so, after gauging the interest level of the wrestlers I work with, we have officially started to put things in motion.
To give you a better idea of how I’ll be using the Tendo Unit for wrestlers, here’s a quick video of Christian Dietrich (4th at 170 at FloNationals earlier this year) demonstrating the setup I’ll be using.
Of the 6 trial shots he took, his best numbers were as follows:
Average Power- 1908 Watts
Peak Power- 2827 Watts
Average Speed- 2.14 meters/second
Peak Speed- 3.17 m/s
Now, through data collection over the next few months/years I’ll have a much better understanding of how to address specific needs like “Dickie, I need to improve my shot speed” or “Dickie, I’m getting in on shots but don’t have the horsepower to finish.”
Ultimately, my thought is that by testing wrestlers with the Tendo, I can start to better understand what components of their program are contributing to actual improvements in specific wrestling movements, and what they could probably go without.
The first phase of the testing that I’ll be conducting is simply measuring the shot speed and force produced.
From there, I’ll use that information to compare how each wrestler performs in various other tests (squat, deadlift, sprint, vertical jump, etc.).
The goal of this first phase is to get a basic understanding of what fast and explosive wrestlers do better than slower ones.
Can they sprint faster? If so, then I’ll have at least an initial direction on how to program to increase shot speed and force.
Maybe, because the movements are so much different than a sprint or a jump, that there isn’t a direct correlation that initially stands out.
I’m really not sure what the first phase of testing will produce, but either way, I’m confident that as time and trials continue, I’ll be able to gain a much better understanding on how a training program should be structured to develop specific qualities for wrestlers.
So, if you have any questions on the new Tendo testing I’ll be conducting please leave your comment below.
And, if for whatever reason you’re not signed up to receive my emails, do so by clicking here to stay current with everything going on with the testing.