To the right is a picture of Greg Kliensmith, Jr. after winning his first Section 4 Championship as a 9th grader (for those who don’t live in New York, Sectionals are the qualifying tournament for the State Championships). Greg has worked with me since he was in 5th grade and was dominating pee wee tournaments throughout the country.
Anyway, one of the topics I’ve posted a lot about in the past few weeks involves the right way to structure lifting workouts for youth wrestlers.
Within the last few weeks I started training 4 new wrestlers. Three are in 7th grade, and one is in 2nd grade!
The mother of the 2nd grader has attended Laura’s (my wife) Women’s Bootcamps for many months. Her son, Nathan, apparently heard about me through some of the Varsity wrestlers at his high school and regularly asked both of his parents if he could start training with me.
Eventually there was some down time in his hectic sports schedule and they were able to set up some time to meet with me twice a week.
Here is the lifting I had him do:
Triset 1: Kettlebell Squat 6×8, Rope Pulldown 6×10, Situp 6×12
Triset 2: Kettlebell Deadlift 5×10, Bar Pushup 5×8, DB Side Bend 5×10
Superset 1: Single Arm DB Overhead Press 4×10, Kettlebell Curl 4×10
Because he was new to working with me, each exercise began with a couple warm-up sets to gauge a good working weight for him.
On top of that, because he was using light weights, the higher number of sets he performed was much less fatiguing than it would be for a stronger individual.
The focus on both days was full body lifts and multi-joint movements. These are two important focuses when dealing with strength training for wrestlers, regardless of age or experience level.
As with any new client, I was more focused on proper execution of each exercise than increasing the weight. I did have Nathan move up in weight, but if I felt his form began to suffer, I would have him lower the weight.
As you can see, the principles behind working with a young wrestler are not much different from working with a more experienced one.
Triset 1: Split Squat 5×8, Ab Wheel 5×8, Blast Strap Row 5×10
Triset 2: Kettlebell Swing 5×12, DB Bench 5×10, Russian Twist 5×12
Superset 1: Reverse Hyper 4×10, Kettlebell Row 4x10ea
Again, another full body lift. I just switched up the exercises to give him something different to focus on and to keep things dynamic.
The exercises are primarily compound movements, they are just focused on slightly different patterns. This will help his overall development as well as provide a different stimulus on his body.
So there you go, another sample program showing how I’ve been working with some of the younger wrestlers I train.
On a quick side note, I do have some young wrestlers who have been lifting with me for a couple of years and are therefore performing lifts at the level that I have my experienced high school and college wrestlers doing.
In fact, last week a 7th grader, Christian Dietrich, deadlifted 400 pounds!
With the proper base, wrestlers can progress through strength training programs and reach high levels in the weight room well ahead of “normal” schedule.