…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 a shift in my posts. More and more I’ve been trying to support my posts with research.
Unfortunately I’ve started running out of wrestling-specific research to incorporate. There just 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 studies pertaining to sprinting. You would not believe the studies out there dealing with increasing sprinting speed and jumping ability.
This information is great for team sport athletes. Unfortunately, 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 who work with wrestlers (like me), are designing plans under the assumption that they will improve performance.
We know performance in the weight room is improving through the increases in strength and power.
But do we really know that increasing a squat, a clean, or any other exercise will transfer over to specific wrestling skills?
For instance, do we know improving those lifts will increase shot speed?
What about getting off the bottom?
Or how about mat return power?
Unfortunately, we really don’t.
All there is to go on is feedback from the wrestler and looking at their record.
But 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 use with wrestlers.
In the past I designed programs to build lifts like the squat. This would all be under the assumption that increasing certain lifts like the squat will improve performance on the mat.
However, now I’ll be designing and testing programs specifically aimed at increasing qualities like shot speed.
To my knowledge, this will be the first time anything like this has ever been done. 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 designed to measure velocity and power.
Normally it’s used to measure bar speed during a specific exercise and the power generated.
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. More specifically, to a wrestler to measure the speed and force of their specific movements like a leg attack.
So, after gauging the interest level of the wrestlers I work with, I have officially started to put things in motion.
To give you a better idea of how I’ll be using the Tendo Unit with wrestlers, here’s a quick video demonstrating the setup.
Of the 6 shots he took, his best numbers were:
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 need. For instance, I’ll have the knowledge to design programs to deal with situations 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 will better understand what components of their program are contributing to actual improvements in specific wrestling situations.
The first phase of the testing that I’ll be conducting is simply measuring the shot speed and power.
From there, I’ll use that information to compare how each wrestler performs in various 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 design programs to increase shot speed.
Maybe, because the movements are so much different from a sprint or a jump, that there isn’t a direct correlation that will initially stand out.
I’m really not sure what the first phase of testing will produce. 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.
It’s been a little while since I wrote this post.
Click here to read about the findings and conclusions.
To read about my favorite lower body exercises for strength and power read- Lifting Program for Wrestlers.
WOW! This is exciting and ground breaking research. I will be very interested to see the results. Thanks for leading the way to better training for wrestlers.
Thanks so much for leaving a comment. Hopefully as time goes on it will really help to improve how wrestlers spend their time in a weight room.
Sounds awesome dude!!! This will truly be even more sport specific lifting/training for wrestlers.
If I may I do have some requests…can you and your team test wrestling movements as it pertains to greco too? i.e. rotational speed/power on am arm throw/spin, and greco lifts off the mat.
Yeah I can definitely look into it…or you can come up for a day or two if you want.
I’m down to come up. When and where?
You’re in NYC, right? I’m up in Binghamton. Let me use this thing for a couple months. The “second phase” is going to be designing a training program built specifically around the weights for certain exercises that show the same/similar force and/or speed outputs as the person’s leg attack produce. Once I get a good, predictable way to go about selecting percentages and exercises I’ll let you know and we’ll set something up to measure you’re lifting speed/power and other movements in Greco you want to improve on.
Yup, NYC. Sounds awesome, looking forward to it
I think that this is really going to be innovative and thank you for undertaking this work as most training prescriptions have no basis whatsoever other than subjective impression, tradition or copying what is presumed to be done by the best..
Of course when talking about studies it is always going to be difficult to set up a scientific experiment to demonstrate that group A with training method X fared belter than Group B with training method Y compared to control group C, managing to account for all possible interfering variables.
I guess that even if the tendo unit does show that there is some correlation between certain qualities such as 10m speed or vertical jump we still do not know for certain that training such qualities will improve performance but it is definitely going to be illuminating.
Just one final point on the clip you showed as the wrestler did not complete the takedown. I think that if possible the takedown should be completed as otherwise the necessary force requirement may be distorted and there may also be some deceleration in the movement.
I look forward to the results of your work with interest.
Hey Peter, thanks for leaving such a great comment.
I definitely don’t have plans to have distinct differences in training between a “Group A” vs. “Group B” only because I don’t want some of my guys to benefit more than others. In addition, like you mention, it’s nearly impossible to account for all of the possible interfering variables (for instance, some of the guys I train start football practice next week, some aren’t doing any fall sports, and the Binghamton University guys will start their pre-season in another couple weeks). So, because of those reasons I’ll be looking to measure % improvements in various exercises and see if there is a direct correlation to speed and/or power when shooting (at least to start, but I also want to test what happens when training at weights and exercises that produce similar/same power and velocity outputs to see what affect that has).
Yeah, I agree, although the first portion of this testing will evaluate certain exercise performance and the shot speed/power, only time will tell if there is a positive relationship between the two. However, one thing I will not do is focus on improving the tests by providing specific technique to improve their performance (ie I’m not going to go into the finer points of jumping to make them better jumpers, I simply want the test to measure lower body explosion), so that should at least provide better info on the potential relationship(s).
And yes, the big problem I’m finding with the Tendo so far is the cable that comes out of it is only 3 meters in length. I’m going to email the company to see if I can get an extension, because I definitely agree that deceleration occurs (you can easily see it in Christian’s second shot). As a result I’m finding some shots that produce the highest peak power and velocity for a wrestler, but the average power and velocity are both lower compared to other trials.
Anyway, there is constant learning to be done, but I’m always open to feedback and tips; I’m just as new to this as everyone who reads this.
Thanks so much for the constructive comment and keep me posted with your thoughts on everything going on; it’s a big help.