The Lift, The Result

Tamdan McCrory landing a head kick in the UFC.

In this post I’d like to detail 2 specific exercises for wrestlers. I’m also going to show you how it applies to an improved performance.

To get started, here’s a video of “The Barn Cat” performing a 276lb Log Clean.

Take special notice of the hip power he uses to blast this weight up while simultaneously extending his upper body to finish the lift smoothly.

Here’s the breakdown with the Log Clean. This and the Sandbag Loading are excerpts from my Strongman for Wrestling eBook which is part of all 3 of my program packages. Here’s a link to the Bronze package.

Muscles Worked: Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves, Low Back, Shoulders

Stabilizers: Core

Setup: Grab the handles, lift the log off the ground while maintaining a flat back and position it against your hips with your knees slightly bent and your hips driven back.

Execution: Drive your hips forward while simultaneously rolling the log up your chest. As the log reaches the top of your chest drive your elbows up toward the ceiling and stand in an upright position with the log resting on the top of your chest. Lower the log back to your hips and repeat for reps. Never bend at the back in an effort to complete a rep that you’re struggling with. This does nothing but put you at risk for serious injury.

Wrestler Usage: The log clean is great way to develop powerful triple extension. Because the weight you’ll be using is going to be considerably heavier than traditional jumps and medicine ball exercises, the speed at which you perform this lift will be a little slower. So the focus of this exercise will be more on strength-speed rather than speed-strength. As a result, the higher weights used for the log clean, it will help to train you to be explosive against large external resistances (ie it will help you be more explosive when looking to lift/throw an opponent).

Finally, here’s a nice snapshot of Kyle Dake doing his thing. Pay attention to the hip power used here. It’s very similar, don’t you think?

Kyle Dake performing a mat return on Donnie Vinson at a home match at Cornell

Sandbag Loading

Here’s a video of me performing a 150lb Sandbag Load onto a 45 inch box.

Pay close attention to the hips and the roll that they play in “popping” the sandbag up to the box.

Even though my upper body is active in directing the sandbag, the power that causes the external object to get to the box is coming from my hips.

Muscles Worked: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Low Back, Lats, Biceps, Shoulders, Forearms/Grip

Stabilizers: Core

Setup: Load your sandbag up with the appropriate amount of weight. Position the bag in front of a Plyo Box, bench, or other machine/platform you may have available to you where you’re performing this exercise. Once you’re ready to go, stand over the bag, bend over while maintaining a flat back, and take a grip on the bag.

Execution: Pull the bag up to the top of your thighs by lifting it both with your legs and arms simultaneously. Once the bag gets to your thighs drive your hips forward and up while pulling the bag up with your arms (I like to quickly re-grip the bag before throwing my hips in). When the bag reaches a height above the platform you’re lifting it to, drive it forward onto the platform. After you’ve successfully loaded the Sandbag onto the platform, take it off and lower it back to the ground under control and repeat. You can also make a quick tweak to this exercise to perform a Rotational Loading. Instead of lifting it straight up while facing the platform, you’ll stand alongside the platform. Perform the same motion to get the bag up, only this time, when it’s reached a sufficient height for you to load it, rotate towards the platform and place it on the platform to successfully complete the exercise. Return the bag to the ground in the same manner and repeat for the desired number of reps before switching sides.

Wrestler Usage: Much like the Log Clean, the Loading exercise is effective at developing the same types of strength needed to help you dominate on the mat. The benefit of the Loading over Shouldering is that because you’re not lifting it to your shoulder, you should be able to handle more weight with this exercise.


So here’s what I need from you to make this work- if you find a video of a move on YouTube and want me to detail the best way(s) to develop the specific strength and/or power needed to successfully hit it, leave a link to it in a comment below.

If you can’t find a video but can describe the situation on the mat that you’re running into issues with then explain it in the comment box below and I’ll do my best to break it down.

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

Want to see what other wrestlers are saying about my training system? Check out my Success Stories page.


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


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


3 Comments. Leave new

  • Gotta love the log cleans… powerful hips are crucial as well

  • Awesome wrestling specific lift. Watching the flowrestling video really helps put it in perspective and shows how important this kind of hip strength is.

    Now my problem is a very simple, basic problem, but i’m sure that wrestling coaches at every level struggle with this: My wrestlers’ necks aren’t strong enough to hold position against cross-faces and other defenses.

    They execute the first half of their shots clean, but their position falls apart as soon as they start to encounter any kind of physical defense.

    What are some lifts/exercises my wrestlers can use so that their neck’s don’t melt when it counts?

  • the log clean is way more effective than the standard clean for wrestlers. no wasted motion through the lift. one of my favorite lifts to help improve hip strength.


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