I get asked this question all the time…
What age should my son start lifting?
Although I’m not a parent, I’ve learned from the parents who bring their wrestlers to come train with me. In every case, all they want is the very best for their kids.
So, it’s very important for me to address this concern in as much detail as possible.
Between this post and some of the ones I link to at the bottom, I hope to address any and all of your concerns as parents of young wrestlers.
However, I know I won’t be able to cover everything. So if you have any questions at all, leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I read and respond to every email (usually way too thoroughly). I promise I’ll get back to you.
Benefits Of Weight Training For Youth Wrestlers
Benefit 1: Decrease Risk of Injury
A properly designed program will strengthen and evenly develop the body. As a result, there is a decreased risk for injury.
If you’ve ever gone to a Physical Therapist, think about what they most likely did.
They probably identified an imbalance around the area causing you pain and gave you exercises to strengthen the appropriate muscles.
It’s very similar to if you’ve ever visited a doctor for back pain. What do they almost always say if they can’t find anything wrong via testing or images? Strengthen your abs and low back!
Stronger muscles support the body better and absorb force better. Therefore, there is a decreased risk of tearing and straining.
Stronger muscles also provide better stability around joints. This decreases your risk of dislocations and sprains.
Benefit 2: Better Movement
Training the body to move properly by focusing on precise execution of lifting technique will help your wrestler to move more efficiently on the mat.
For example, exercises like Box Squats, Deadlifts, and Ab Wheels prepare the body to stay in better position when looking to finish a takedown and get off the bottom.
Additionally, the strength gains through a well designed program will lead to a decreased risk of injury. This is due to the simple fact that the wrestler will be stronger and more stable in awkward positions.
Benefit 3: Increased Strength and Power
This is kind of a no brainer and is the reason why wrestlers begin lifting in the first place.
However, there are a number of questions surrounding this benefit including what the focus should be on.
The primary focus of the programs that I design for young wrestlers is on developing strength.
Because with strength comes speed.
Which wrestler has the ability to finish a shot faster by lifting their opponent?
One who squats 135 or one who squats 315?
In my opinion, the benefits of developing strength far outweigh the benefits of developing speed, especially in young wrestlers.
A few years ago, Tom Dilliplane (Olympic lifter and wrestling strength coach at Cornell for over 15 years) brought up an important point.
He asked me to think about some of the fastest and most explosive athletes on the planet. He suggested sprinters, Olympic lifters, and throwers in track.
He then asked me to think about their physiques, especially the ones competing at a high level.
He said that they’re all jacked, and I agreed.
Tom always liked to make the argument that developing your technique will only get you so far. After that it’s all about getting as big and strong as possible.
Think about it- steroids are running rampant throughout the Olympics and professional sports. They’re even used at in collegiate and high school sports now.
Because everyone’s starting to realize that in order to improve their game they need to get bigger and stronger.
Granted, it’s not the most ethical way to do things. However, it does support the idea that becoming stronger can make a HUGE impact on your overall performance.
Alright, I think you get the point with the benefits.
Be sure to check out some of the posts below where I go into more topics surrounding weight training and young wrestlers.
Youth Weight Training Program For Wrestlers
Wrestling Workouts For Youth Wrestlers