Last week I put up a post on stretching.
However, like most strength and conditioning research out there, it wasn’t specific to wrestlers.
So, I decided to recruit a few of the D1 wrestlers I work with from Binghamton University to do a mini-research study. Specifically, I wanted to see the impacts stretching had on peak shot velocity and power.
The 3 wrestlers I recruited are all starters. Other than that, I won’t be giving out any more info so as to keep their identities anonymous (so this post stays “NCAA legal”).
One wrestled in a tournament the day before, but more on that later.
The first thing I had the guys do when they came in was measure 5 of their shots for both peak power and peak velocity.
I then had them move around for 5 minutes. I told them to warm-up like they would before a match.
I staggered the start and finish times for each guy so there wasn’t a period of time where one or more of them were hanging out between the warm-up, the stretching protocol and the testing.
This was super casual and I didn’t put together a set warm-up plan for them to follow.
When performing research it’s good to account for variables like this and systematize them so that only 1 thing is being tested (in this case stretching on shot speed/power), again, I just wanted to do something quick to give you an idea of the effects of stretching on your performance.
Anyway, after the 5 minute “moving around” period, the guys then went into a stretching routine.
Each stretch was held for 45 seconds. There was a total of 6 stretches.
Here are the 3 stretches I had them perform (one to each side) in this order:
I then re-tested 5 shots for peak velocity and peak power.
After that, I had them start another 5 minute warm-up.
The same parameters, or lack thereof, were used.
Again this was staggered so there was minimal to no down time between completion and shot re-testing.
After the warm-up was complete I had the guys perform 1 set of 5 reps of each of the following jumps:
Upon completion of those 15 total jumps, I then re-tested 5 shots measuring both peak power and peak velocity.
Wrestler 1 experienced a decrease of .78% in Peak Power after stretching.
Wrestler 1 experienced a decrease of .77% in Peak Velocity after stretching.
Wrestler 1 experienced an increase of .46% in Peak Power after jumping.
Wrestler 1 experienced an increase of .46% in Peak Velocity after jumping.
Wrestler 2 experienced an increase of 9.76% in Peak Power after stretching.
Wrestler 2 experienced an increase of 9.77% in Peak Velocity after stretching.
Wrestler 2 experienced an increase of 2.64% in Peak Power after jumping.
Wrestler 2 experienced an increase of 2.08% in Peak Velocity after jumping.
Wrestler 3 experienced a decrease of 4.3% in Peak Power after stretching.
Wrestler 3 experienced a decrease of 4.3% in Peak Velocity after stretching.
Wrestler 3 experienced an increase of 2.23% in Peak Power after jumping.
Wrestler 3 experienced an increase of 2.21% in Peak Velocity after jumping.
Both wrestlers 1 and 3 experienced a decrease in performance after stretching and an increase in performance after jumping.
Wrestler 2 experienced an increase after both because he’s just that amazing.
But seriously, this is the wrestler who competed in a tournament the day before. When he arrived, I could tell that he was banged up and stiff.
So I think the fact that the 5-minute period of moving around and stretching was the first real activity he had done all day woke up his system more than it did for the other 2 guys.
Regardless, I’m not here to make any drastic conclusions as to whether or not you should be stretching immediately before a match.
I just thought that a quick “mini-research” study may help provide you with a small example of how your warm-up routine may be impacting your speed and power when taking a shot.
Just like the conclusion of any research paper, but especially in this case, obviously A LOT more research has to be done. Sorry, but the results of 3 guys doesn’t cut it. But again, I thought you, as a wrestler, coach, or parent, may find this info useful.
Let me know what thoughts/questions you have by commenting below.