Dumb, Dumb & Dumber

I don’t even know where to start!

Number one: You have these coaches in wrestling who don’t understand or even begin to comprehend how important strength is to the sport.

Number two: They don’t understand the importance of giving strength work dedicated training blocks of at least six weeks at a time.

Number three: Some wrestling coaches don’t understand the importance of having a smart taper program that involves strength work to help maintain their athletes’ strength and power going into a competition.

Do NOT pull your athlete out of the gym a month before his or her competition to do copious amounts of cardio to lose weight.


Mindless running saps your athletes’ of their strength and power.

A smart wrestler could lift right up until their competition, easily three to five days no problem, and this lifting (smart lifting) will help the athlete stay strong and sharp.

A wrestler needs tremendous pulling strength to help with such things as snapping an opponent’s head down, amongst other grappling moves. Pull-ups of different variations, barbell pulls, and deadlifts are a must.

A wrestler with a strong base of support is hard to move or throw which is why leg strength is a must.

It’s not rocket science but I find coaches who don’t understand strength work that can support the work done on the mat is hindering the athletes’ full potential.

It’s literally mind-blowing to me that I come across wrestlers as weak or weaker than a stamp collector.

This goes for every weight class except for the super heavy.

If you can’t do a pull up with at least 50% of your body weight strapped to you, you are weak.

If you can’t power clean 1.5x your bodyweight, you are weak.

If you can’t back squat 2x your bodyweight, you are weak.

Here is a snippet of German Wrestling Strength Standards posted by Dave Draper:

Strength Standards (1RM)

52kg Weight Class:
Bench Press: 90kg
Pull Up with added Weight: 50kg
Squat: 160kg
Barbell Row lying on a Bench: 90kg
Clean: 95kg

57kg Weight Class:
Bench Press: 95kg
Pull Up with added Weight: 55kg
Squat: 170kg
Barbell Row lying on a Bench: 95kg
Clean: 100 kg

62kg Weight Class:
Bench Press: 100kg
Pull Up with added Weight: 60kg
Squat: 180kg
Barbell Row lying on a Bench: 100kg
Clean: 105kg

68kg Weight Class:
Bench Press: 105kg
Pull Up with added Weight: 65kg
Squat: 185k g
Barbell Row lying on a Bench: 105 kg
Clean: 110 kg

74 kg Weight Class:
Bench Press: 110 kg
Pull Up with added Weight: 70 kg
Squat: 190 kg
Barbell Row lying on a Bench: 110 kg
Clean: 115 kg

82 kg Weight Class:
Bench Press: 115 kg
Pull Up with added Weight: 72.5 kg
Squat: 195 kg
Barbell Row lying on a Bench: 115 kg
Clean: 120 kg

My humble advice to the wrestling community is finding a qualified strength coach who can help achieve these basic norms.

The thing is once a wrestler achieves these basic levels of strength, he or she should spend more time elsewhere, maybe speed and for sure more time on the matt.

How can you tell a wrestler at the national or so-called international level (depending on the country) who have not achieved these basic strength norms to tap into their full potential on the mat? It’s ridiculous.

All you have to do is maintain these strength levels. It’s easy to do and takes as little as two to three days of 40-minute strength sessions per week and the rest you do with as you please.

But a coach with some sense will see if you need more speed, power, or technical work on the mat, or a combination of all three, and you spend more time on that.

Stop getting your athletes to cut weight like they have no sense.

If your athletes lose too much muscle mass, especially from doing copious amounts of jogging before their competition, you are sapping their strength and power! That’s a fact.

Why not have your athletes diet properly, train within two kilos of their competition weight all year round, and use various combinations of low and high-intensity interval training to make them battle-ready and sharp for their matches.

Seems logical to me, but I’ve noticed that wrestlers don’t like to change their cutting routine no matter how ridiculous it is, due to superstition among other silly things: “Oh, this is the way we’ve always done it and I’m not about to change.”

Well, how is that working for yeah?

Don’t get me wrong hey, do what helps you get into to the right mindset, but there is a good saying that’s applicable here: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

In my opinion, athletes need to play, test, and tweak things to get that right tasting soup that grandma used to make.

If your wrestling coach is not a strength professional, I recommend they stay in their lane and keep their opinions, or the last articles they’ve read, to themselves.

Unless they have been in the trenches working with athletes for at least five years on the strength and power side of things, then they should really NOT be giving advice, because it can be detrimental to your careers.

99.9% of the time these people know nothing about the intricate mechanisms involved in particular exercises, as most coaches are looking from the outside, and we are looking from the inside out.

There are certain exercises that have a tremendous, and I mean tremendous, carry-over to athletes’ performance but that’s hard to see right away.

It takes time, commitment, consistency, and vision.

We have a saying in our gym: THEY THINK THEY KNOW, BUT THEY DON’T KNOW.

To be frank, I can’t believe some of the stupid exercises or methods I see some North American coaches recommend for athletes. It literally makes me sick to my stomach to watch, hear, or read this shit.

The Internet or YouTube has a way of making shitty coaches and methods look cool.

But I guess the athletes and coaches are not educated enough to see through this mountain of crap, so they get sucked into it.

I am not giving these coaches a pass because it is their duty and responsibility to put their athlete on the right path and give them the right tools and information to do so.

My father always said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”

At the end of the day, you can say you tried and that’s all that matters.

Three very important things athletes should be on the lookout for in a strength and conditioning program:

1) YOU MUST squat, and the squats must gradually get heavy,

2) You must pull, and the pulling must get heavier, and

3) You must stand and press overhead, and the pressing must get heavier.

This is as simple and dumb-proof I can make it.

I can write a whole book on what not to do, but I like to focus on what athletes should do.

You must front squat, back squat, and pull – pull from the ground, and pull yourself over a bar, and stand on your feet and press overhead.

And the load must get heavier! And I mean heavy.

When the time is right, the load will make you feel like your eyeballs are popping out of their sockets!

Welcome to the development of real strength and power.