While there is an array of topics I can focus on in this Exercises For Wrestlers post, I’m specifically going to hone in on core strength.
The idea for this post came from a recent comment left by Chuck.
Here’s what he left me:
“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 is using your 13 week program and getting good results. He is beginning week six on Friday.”
As you know, I don’t feel as though rounding your back is some hugely dangerous thing. For more on that, read my post- Low Back Strength for Wrestling.
However, it does tell me that the core is not strong enough to properly brace against the external resistance.
Being able to brace your core during a match can mean the difference between finishing a takedown and getting sprawled on.
Which scenario does it look like I’m more likely to not finish the double leg?
It also may be the difference between your ability to stand up and get an escape instead of getting ridden out.
Therefore, you must select functional core exercises for wrestlers that are going to carryover to an improved performance on the mat.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally ok with using exercises like Decline Situps, Hanging Leg Raises, and other lifts. However, I feel there are a few core exercises for wrestlers that have a better transfer.
Selecting Core Exercises For Wrestlers
The way that I’ve arrived at the exercises that I’m going to detail is twofold.
1. I actually do them. Even though MMA and wrestling are not exactly the same, the physical skills you need to be successful are very similar.
On top of that, leading by example is very important to me. It frustrates me when people sit behind a computer and make recommendations when they themselves don’t lift, compete, or train anyone.
2. While I do have a formal education in Clinical Exercise Science, I don’t think it takes a genius to look at the pictures above and realize which position is going to produce more success. However, if you don’t have the strength and stability to maintain good position, you will inevitably end up on the losing end of situations like the ones above.
Core Exercises For Wrestlers
After understanding the primary purpose of the core in wrestling, the next thing to consider is the typical duration it’s under stress.
I have yet to see someone get in on a double leg and be able to hold that position for very long.
Either the person shooting gets a takedown or the opponent sprawls. The same goes in a stand up situation.
This means that functional core training should be centered around developing stability by using higher intensity exercises for a shorter duration.
This is the opposite of what most wrestlers tell me they do to “strengthen” their core.
Tons of high rep sit-ups, leg raises, etc.
Does this sound right?
Think about it…
If you wanted to get strong legs would you do tons of squats and lunges, or just a few heavy sets?
Strength is built with heavy weights and lower reps. The last time I checked the abs/low back muscles aren’t any different from the other muscles in your body.
So why train them differently?
Ok, let’s get into some of my favorite core exercises for wrestlers.
Oh, and by the way, if you want to start using a program designed to improve your performance on the mat that includes these core exercises, then check out my Program Packages page…