Hey everyone, I’m Dickie!
When I’m not busy getting my ass kicked in Jiu-Jitsu or fostering little dogs, I like to work with wrestlers at my gym, Ironworks Gym.
In fact, I’ve been doing this little “hobby” of mine for over a decade now!
And, as you can imagine, over the years I’ve learned a lot.
Because I’ve been fortunate to work with so many high level wrestlers (check out my Success Stories page), a few years ago I decided to start this blog.
Anyway, here’s a little bit about me and my experience.
I currently live in Binghamton with my wife, Laura, and our army of little dogs.
Here’s a picture of me and Laura at my brother’s wedding last summer.
And here I am with one of the many dogs Laura and I have fostered. This little girl, Elsa, was with us for about 3 weeks before finding a permanent family.
But before all this…
I was a wrestler, just like you.
I started in 7th grade and had a blast from the start. In fact, if I had kept that attitude I would have been a lot better off.
Unfortunately though, as the years went on I put a huge emphasis on winning, and not learning. Ultimately, this slowed my progress and kept me from reaching my full potential.
On top of that, I struggled with finding the right balance between being strong and athletic and making weight.
And, like clockwork, every year by the time the big tournaments came around, I was much weaker and less explosive than I was at the start of the year.
I couldn’t figure it out, but I guess everything happens for a reason. Fortunately, my struggles led me to pursue an education in Clinical Exercise Science at Ithaca College.
But in the midst of learning all about athletic performance enhancement, I became a wanna be powerlifter.
As such, I ate as many calories as possible (mostly bad) in a quest to gain as much mass as I could.
I got pretty strong and really unhealthy.
Here are a couple videos of me “picking things up and putting them down” back in the day.
But a blessing in disguise came a few years ago when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC).
For those who don’t know, UC is an autoimmune digestive disorder that attacks the Large Intestine. Because of that I was lost quite a bit of weight. Here are a couple of posts about my battles with the disease and how it changed my life:
In a nutshell, since I couldn’t carry the mass around to be successful in powerlifting, I decided to get in shape and give MMA a try. Here is one super intimidating pic from my 3rd fight.
And here’s one with me, Laura and Dick Hoyt from Team Hoyt after my 4th fight.
And of course, what bio would be complete without a picture of me and my dad while I eat a sweet treat! …In case you didn’t know, I love sweet treats which is one of the reasons my brother, Chris, has nicknamed me “Fat Boy”.
Undergradate- B.S. Clinical Exercise Science, Ithaca College, 2006
Graduate- M.B.A., Binghamton University, 2009
Client List- A number of wrestlers use my wrestling workouts including 4X NCAA Champion Kyle Dake, NCAA Division 1 National Champions Troy Nickerson and J.P. O’Connor and All-Americans at all levels, a Junior Greco-Roman World Championship place finisher, State Champions, and State Placefinishers.
Years Of Experience- 10+
Research- 2 Proven Ways To Shoot Faster
If you have any questions on how my training system may be able to help you, feel free to leave a comment below, or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dickie, my son struggles with rounding his back on deads, power cleans, etc.
would it be better to drop weight until his form is perfect or work on form
with the heavier weights.
If you recall he in using your 13 week program and getting good results. He is
beginning week six on Friday.
Hey Chuck, thanks for the update. Other than the rounding back, how is he doing with the program?
To answer your question- yes, definitely drop the weight to ensure his back stay flat/arched. While I am not against rounded back lifting, laying the proper foundation is a big key to success. Here are some old blog posts I wrote that may best address the situation going on:
This is the start of the series of posts. Although it promotes rounded back lifting, it’s still a good place to start- Low Back Strength For Wrestlers 1
Here’s a post on how your son can better neurologically train his body to move from his hips and not his back- Squat Like A Stripper!
Here are some low back exercises I detail that will better train your son to keep his core tight when lifting- Exercises
Start with those and let me know if you have any questions. Essentially what’s going on is that because his core is not strong enough, there is a breakdown in technique in order to complete the lift. This gives me an idea for a blog post that I’ll get to next week. So let me know if you have any questions on core strength and I’ll definitely address them in the post.
Hope this helps, and let me know what other questions you have and be sure to get back to me with how he’s doing with the program other than the back issue. Thanks man.
Dickie, my son just finished week 11 of your 13 week summer program and has made really good progress. He just got back from wrestling camp and wants to speed up finishing by doing the remaining 6 day workouts in 4-5 days, doing a couple doubling days. He is rising HS sophomore. Is this advisable over staying with the current 3 day a week plan.
Also, once he finishes this program which of your programs would you suggest he do next. I have all your programs. He prefers 4 or 5 day a week intense program to build up strength and some size (definition).
He is in a summer wrestling club that wrestles two nights a week also.
Great to hear from you and to hear that your son is doing so well. The 3 options below are in no particular order:
1- The 15 week post-season/summer program. It’s a pretty high volume program so if he starts to put on too much weight, just cut the sets back on each exercise by 1-2.
2- The 16 week Cornell program is always a favorite with pretty much everyone that uses it and does a great job at building some serious strength.
3- Repeat the 13 week program he’s currently doing. What’s great about this is that he’ll be able to see how much his weights have gone up from each week when he repeats it. It also gives you the opportunity to see what’s going up well and what’s not and then address it by making changes to the program.
Let me know what you’re thinking and if you have any questions. Thanks man and talk to you soon.
On the 16 week cornell program. What are the percentages referring to? Is it our 1 rep max and if so are there points in the program where we should re adjust? Just want to make sure that i am trying to progress with it in the right way. Thanks for any help!!
Yeah man, the percentages are for your 1 rep maxes for the exercises. How’s the program going so far?
I love it. I have a bit of mental problem with programs, in that I like them to be set up so that I work a bit of upper body on each day that I lift, so the push/pull set up is perfect in that regards. Thanks for the reply, so do I need to readjust my 1 rep max percentages at any point during the 16 weeks?
Great to hear that the layout was just what you were looking for. Yeah, no need to adjust your 1 rep max at all during the 16 weeks. Keep me posted on it, I always love hearing about how people are doing following the programs.
hey dickie ive tried to subscribe but i haven’t gotten an email in any of my folders and it wont let me try to resubscribe….
Hey man, I just checked my email service and it says “confirmation pending” under your name. Hopefully all that means is that it’s going slow sending out the confirmation email; which it sometimes does. Keep me posted on it over the next day or so and let me know if the email ends up coming through. If not, I can submit a support ticket to see if there’s a way I can delete you so that you can re-enter your email (I can’t delete anyone who’s in a confirmation pending stage, otherwise I would have done that so you could re-enter). Anyway, keep me posted man.
GOT IT!!!!! thanks dickie!
Cool, glad to hear. Sorry about the delay man. Keep me posted with how things are going and if you have any questions.
Your post on protein shakes just recently was great. Email me, I’d love to guest author something for you!
Thanks Alan, will do.
Was searching internet looking for a weight training routine for wrestling strength. Found your information and was curious if you could give me a call. I live in central PA but have a friend in upper New York and we could possibly meet at your location? for a seminar on strength training?
Kevin, I’ll give you a call this evening. I should be done at the gym around 6ish, so I’ll call you a little after 7 (gotta get home and take care of the little dogs, lol).
Hey, we are about 30 minutes West of you. My son wrestles for Athens. He is starting his Junior year, Would love to be able to talk to you get him going. He only has one year experience. Not pretty on the mat. Thanks, man!!
Sounds good, CJ. I’ll send you an email soon and we’ll figure something out.
I sent you an e-mail earlier.
Here is an issue I would LOVE to see an article on. What to eat directly after weigh ins during high school, if you have just cut weight.
I remember last season, me not eating, running in garbage bags the whole bunch of it. And sure a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with Gatorade helps but having to wrestle in about 30 mins does no help at all. I can’t help but think that I am not at where I would be (strength, alertness, energy etc) I have heard all sorts of stuff such as chugging a few monsters, taking a 5 hour energy, whey protein before a match. All sorts of stuff to “try” to get you back to your normal self after you have just put your body through hell to get to your weight.
Any opinions on the matter?
Hey Joshua, thanks for the comment. I actually wrote a post a while back on this and have another post ready to put up next week in regards to research on how to best rehydrate post weigh-ins.
Here’s the post on what to eat- https://www.wrestler-power.com/refueling-post-weigh-ins/
It’s really open ended, so if you have any questions on it, just leave me a comment after it and I’ll get back to you.
Additionally, some things you may want to consider are implementing a few tips from these posts in hopes that your cut goes better:
I’ll plan on getting up the post on rehydrating next Monday and will send out an email then when I do.
Hopefully these posts help. Let me know if you have any questions though and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Thanks man, talk to you soon.
Thanks Dickie, I really appreciate it.
Its nice to be able to talk/reply to you and more so on such a convenient basis. Loving it!
Thanks for the feedback and glad I could help. I really try to be as accessible as possible, so it’s good to know I’m able to help and it’s appreciated. Talk to you soon man.
Hey Dickie, I manage a Facebook site for my kids wrestling team which I created to post the pictures I take at meets. I thought it would be nice to have your emails get posted directly the site if possible, after I let the kids know they were coming,
Also, I am working on strength training with my 14 year old son, I’m not a trainer but did powerlift for a dozen years. Anyway, he really dislikes squats, which is really hard for a formal powerlifter to accept, so I have him doing squats on a sled that is at about a 65 deg angle? Do you think that, along with leg presses, would be ok for him or should I try to push him to do the squats?
I’m not really sure what you mean by the first part of your comment; do you want to post my emails to your Facebook page? Or did you want to do something else with the emails/links I send out?
As far as the squatting, I’d definitely say get him as acclimated and accustomed to squatting as possible. I don’t think too many of the guys I train get really excited and look forward to squatting, but they know it’s necessary. I can’t even tell you the last time I’ve seen a program for wrestlers, or any athlete for the matter, that didn’t include squats. That’s gotta count for something.
What are your son’s primary complaints about it? Perhaps I could help you address those and get him under the bar sooner than later.
Talk to you soon man.
I am going into my senior year of highschool. I am practicing 5 times a week over the summer, what program would you recommend for me?
It depends what your goals are for the summer. Get back to me with what you’d want the lifting to improve and I can give you a better idea. Based on your heavy wrestling schedule though, I can say right now that 3 would be the absolute most times a week I’d recommend. However, let me know what you’re looking for in the program and I can definitely help you out. Thanks man, talk to you soon.
I am definitely looking for overall improvements in strength. At the same time I am also looking to cut down to a lower weight class. In addition that I am chubby, haha. I just want to get rid of my excess body and be more of lean muscle and hopefully due to that change a stronger, faster, healthier wrestler. But strength gains would overall be my main goal. Thanks again!
Hey Josh, sorry to get back to you so slowly. I’d say based on the volume you’re wrestling with the fact that one of your focuses is on losing bodyfat, 3 times a week should be plenty. In addition, regardless of which route you decide to go, I’d suggest reading this post and consider supplementing with beta-alanine.
Anyway, here are some options for you:
1. The various program packages I offer on my site. The Wrestler Strength System packages focus on detailing exercises as well as the way I used to design programs (keep in mind both the training program packages and Wrestler Strength packages were “published” back in 2010). I made these available on my site for a few reasons. First, I was tired of maintaining a separate site for each package. Second, I thought, while I’ve made a lot of changes in how I go about designing training programs, I felt they were still relevant (I did put them together when I was working with Kyle, Donnie Vinson (3rd in NCAA), and many other state champs and current D1 National Qualifiers). However, a good majority of the programs are designed around the specialized equipment that I have access to at my gym; which I came to understand is not common at the average high school gym/commercial gym. So from the perspective of easily putting the programs into action, these packages aren’t necessarily the best. But, like I said, they’re not, by any means, bad or not useful, so I keep them around.
2. A personalized program. Most of the people I work with now/who purchase one of my programs get a personalized plan. That way they get exactly what they want- from exercises, to days a week, to total volume based on their goals, to a program built around the equipment they have access to. In addition, the exercises are all hyperlinked and they go to a short YouTube video of me performing the exercise exactly as I want you to do it, so it helps to eliminate any questions on technique and execution. If you’re interested in that just shoot me an email at email@example.com and I’ll get you more info.
3. I’ve been considering adding a couple other packages to my site that are better representations of my current style of programming (programs designed around basic equipped gyms, more of a percentage based plan to take some guess work out, etc.). If you’re interested in that, let me know. I just started to map it out but basically what I’m thinking is a couple of different year packages, or maybe just a one year package that would include 1-2 program options based on your specific needs (gain weight, maintain weight, increase strength/power, etc.) for different times of the year (in-season, post-season, off-season, pre-season). Let me know what you think of that and if you have any suggestions on it that will help me put it together.
Anyway, I hope this helps man. Let me know what questions you have and I’ll talk to you soon.
Sorry to get back to you so late. I would really be interested in a personlized program and I will give you a holler by Wednesday. Looking forward to it!
My son is 12 years old and a type 1 diabetic. He just picked up wrestling this year and I am looking for a program to help him out. He got beat up pretty hard this year by kids that were bigger and stronger than him. He has never lifted before so this will be a new experience for him. What program would you recommend for him that will keep lifting fun, while adding strength, quickness and size.
I definitely think the various program packages available are pretty solid, or else I wouldn’t still have them up. However, my training system has undergone some major changes over the years and therefore, is quite a bit different from what I detail in the various eBooks and programs. Because of that, I always recommend to people that they go with the personalized plan. However, as far as the best value goes; if you’re into reading and want to see the type of system I implemented a few years ago (when I was working with Troy, J.P., and Kyle, among others) then you may want to check out the Wrestler Strength Gold Package. If not, shoot me an email when you get the chance with info from the Personalized Programs page and I can get started.
Thanks for the interest and talk to you soon.
I sent you message on here a month or so back, about getting a program. You said to send you an email. I did this twice, and haven’t heard back. Hoping my email didn’t get lost. I am still interested.
Hey Layne, sorry I haven’t gotten back to you. I’ll email you directly right now (from my gmail account). If for whatever reason you don’t get it you can respond to the email you get automatically notifying you that I’ve responded to your comment. Sorry again for the delay; hopefully this time things work out. Talk to you soon.
Dickie, I had a question for you about a program you wrote for my son Marky (which is going great), but I could not find your email address. Can you send me your email address so I can email you my questions?
The email I list for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org…but that just forwards to my gmail (email@example.com). So, whichever you prefer.
Also, you’ll get an automated email after I click “Reply” to your comment and you can just respond to that.
Whatever works best for you man.
Glad to hear Marky is doing great; talk to you soon.
Dickie, I have been a big, professional fan of your work and methodology over that past year since finding your site. Since my retirement from U.S. Army in early 2013 and starting my second a career as an fitness and sports performance trainer, I have been privileged to develop a client base that includes several wrestlers from ages 7 -17. While developing their training programs and providing educational nutritional information, I have found your programs, training methodology and assessment protocols a tremendous help to support my wrestlers strength and conditioning development. Your use of metrics data and quantifiable performance based training exercise selection, while writing your articles and programs in an understandable and applicable way, is as Dick Vitale says, “Awesome, Baby.” I have also applied these processes and methodology successfully to my other clients including; football players, track athletes and volleyball players. I wish you continued success and look forward to your continued work in the wrestling and MMA sports performance field. If you are ever in the Tampa Florida area, please let me know. I would be honored to do a professional lunch or attend a seminar where you are participating. Keep up the great work; you have a great gift and talent that is making a difference.
COL(R) U.S. Army
Thanks for the kind words and, more importantly, for your service, Jobie. You just made my week!