Strongman Training

an silhouette of a wrestler throwing another with a belly to back suplex

There are a number of reasons why you should to incorporate Strongman training into your program.

In the next few posts I’ll be talking a lot about the benefits of Strongman training. I’ll also detail how to incorporate it properly.

In this post I’m going to go into detail about the top benefits of Strongman training for wrestling. Additionally, at the end I’ll cover two sample weeks worth of Strongman training workouts for wrestlers.

Strongman Benefits

#1- “Bridge The Gap”

Building strength in a traditional weight room setting is still important. If it wasn’t than every major college/university and the wrestlers at the Olympic Training Center wouldn’t be doing it!

However, I’ve found that strongman training is a great way to “bridge the gap” between weight room strength and strength you can use on the mat.

It requires a lot more reactive strength than traditional training with barbells and dumbbells. It certainly requires a lot more than simply sitting on a machine!

Additionally, the stability needed to complete a heavy carry (Farmer Walk, Keg Carry, Yoke Walk, etc.) or or to lift an odd object like a Keg, Tire, or Sandbag is more than traditional barbell lifts.

#2- Functional Strength

The odd object and unpredictable nature of the implements you will be using are superior for developing on-the-mat strength.

Why?

Your opponent, much like the implements most commonly used is not always predictable. Therefore the training you get while learning to react, stay stable, and apply the necessary force to stay in control have great carryover.

#3- Grip Strength

Almost every exercise in Strongman will challenge and strengthen your grip like you never thought possible.

In fact, some of the most difficult grip exercises, according to the wrestlers I train, are ones that involve the sandbag.

To give you an idea, here’s a video of me performing a Sandbag Loading:

Whether you’re doing some kind of carry with a Keg or Farmers Handles, a Fat Bar Clean, or various exercises with a Sandbag or Tire, your grip will be under constant stress.

#4- Lower Body/Hip Power

In addition to grip strength, a lot of the exercises in Strongman require powerful legs and hips.

Much like grip strength, powerful legs and hips are an absolutely crucial component to wrestling effectively and successfully.

Look at the hip power you can develop with a Log Clean.

The same hip extension is trained in the Sandbag Loading, a Fat Bar Clean and Jerk, an explosive Tire Flip, or a Weighted Prowler/Sled Push.

On top of that, exercises like Keg Tosses and Tire Throws are also fantastic choice for maximizing the speed of your hip extension.

#5- Core Strength

One of the indirect benefits of Strongman training is all of the functional core stability work you get.

This additional core strength and stability will make you more resistant to injury and also provide you with the strength needed to maintain better positions when you’re in on shots, getting off the bottom, or lifting an opponent.

From a personal standpoint- I’ve done a lot of direct core work and have placed my core under a lot of tension before with heavy squats and deadlifts.

But the tension and pressure I feel when performing a heavy Farmers Walk or Yoke Walk is on a different level. I’m not even sure why it’s the case. I’ve never Yoke Walked more than 600 pounds and I’ve had that on my back for squats before.

Similarly, I’ve Trap Bar Deadlifted way more than 500, but a Farmers Walk with 250 in each hand just crushes my core/low back (not in a bad way, I just mean that the tightness and activation I experience seems to be way more with the walk).

#6- Wrestling-Specific Conditioning

Have you ever gassed in a match and wondered how that’s possible considering all of the running you do?

Running doesn’t optimally condition you for wrestling, although it does provide you with a great aerobic base.

You know as well as anyone, when you’re in a match you’re fighting with your entire body, not just your legs.

Because most Strongman exercises are full-body in nature, they are the ultimate way to functionally condition yourself for a match (without actually wrestling, that is).

#7- Full-Body Stability

Strongman is full of exercises that are unpredictable. As a result, you’re constantly having to stabilize your body as you perform the exercise.

This will functionally train your muscles to more effectively stabilize your joints. Ultimately, this will better ensure that you are more resistant to injury.

Remember- you can’t get better sitting on the side of the mat nursing an injury. Strengthening and training your body to stabilize will keep you healthy and training consistently.

High School Wrestling Workout
The functional strength built with Strongman training is perfect for wrestlers.
#8- Free/Cheap

As part of the Strongman for Wrestling System, I begin each section with exactly where to find or how to make the implement.

Some of them you can get for free and others are very inexpensive to make. Improving your performance without having to spend a lot of money is what it’s all about. This is especially important if you’re a high school coach with limited funding available to your team.

#9- Fun Workouts

Strongman lifts are just downright fun.

They’re difficult, they’re challenging, and they’re different.

My wrestling coach always said- variety is the spice of life! These workouts provide the necessary variety and get you unbelievably strong for wrestling in the process.

Now that you know the benefits of adding Strongman to your strength training for wrestling program, here is are 2 sample weeks of training for you to try.

Sample Strongman Workouts For Wrestlers

Day 1

Log Clean (6×3)
Fat Bar Push Press (4×5)
Tire Flip (3×5)
Farmer’s Walk (8 sets:20 on,:20 off)
Superset- Weighted Decline Situp (4×10) and DB Side Bend (4×10)

Day 2

Sandbag Row (6×4)
Farmer’s Suitcase Deadlift (4×5)
Rope Prowler Drag (6x)
Low Bars Prowler Push (6 sets:15on,:30off)
Superset- Reverse Hyper (3×15) and Pulldown Abs (3×15)

Day 3

Keg Throw (8×3)
Single Leg Tire Jump (5×5)
Sledge Hammer Strikes (4x10ea)
Keg Carry (5x)
Superset- Decline Ab Wheel (4×8) and Band Arm Spin (4×8)

4x/week Format

Day 1

Single Leg Tire Jump (6×5)
Sandbag Loading (5×5)
Stone Squat (4×5)
Fat Bar Sumo Deadlift (4×5)

Day 2

Fat Bar Clean (5×3)
Log Row (4×5)
Keg Press (4×5)
Sandbag Carry (5x :20 on, 1:00 off)

Day 3

Keg Throw (8×3)
Keg Lift (4×8)
Fat Bar Zercher Reverse Lunge (4×8)
Farmer’s Suitcase Deadlift (3×10)

Day 4

Fat Bar Push Press (5×5)
Fat Bar Row (4×8)
Log Press (4×19)
Sledge Hammer Strike (5x15ea)

A picture of Kyle Dake and Dickie White.
Hi, I’m Dickie (the author of this blog). Here I am with my good buddy, Kyle Dake. While he doesn't have a nice coat like me, he is pretty good at wrestling. Here's what he said about my training system:

Before I began lifting using Dickie's system my wrestling skills were getting slightly better. I've now been lifting under his guidance for more than 5 months and I have begun to dominating ALL of my competition. At first I had little faith in Dickie and his program, but now I would run into a wall if he told me I would get stronger! I know it sounds insane, but I would. The bottom line is Dickie is an expert and knows what he is talking about. If you want to defeat those kids whom you've always lost to and reach a level you never thought possible, I suggest you start lifting using Dickie's system immediately.

-Kyle Dake, 4X NCAA Division 1 National Champion
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Want to see what other wrestlers are saying about my training system? Check out my Success Stories page.

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Want to learn more about Dickie? Check out my About page.

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Want to get started on a program today? Read this post and download your free program- 12 Week Training Program For Wrestlers.

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