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How to program for a wrestler (In-season, off season & pre-season) CSCS Study Prep

Aug 30, 2021


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When designing a strength and conditioning program for any athlete, begin with a Needs Analysis:

1 – Muscles & Joint Actions

2- Injuries common to the sport (prehab / rehab)

3- Bio-Energetics.

For a wrestler (after assuming all liability via a PAR-Q and eliminating any red flags) watch the athletes move in an environment similar to their sport. By observing a session, you’ll be able to develop an appropriate program for the athlete in-season, postseason, and preseason.

1 – Muscles & joint actions: Total body and Unilateral emphasis.

2- Injuries: Knee, shoulder, neck & low back.

3- Bio-energetics: Phosphagen – High. Glycolyti – Mod. Aerobic – Mod / low. Freestyle, Greco & Folkstyle (wrestling variations) all require anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. Anaerobic metabolism is predominantly used during explosive movements and Aerobic metabolism during the recovery periods and length of each round (2-4 minutes.) The two most important aspects of Bio-Energetics are DURATION & INTENSITY.

How to program for an athlete IN-SEASON:

~196lb class: Power, Volume, Metabolic Conditioning (Met Con).

1- Power Day:

  1. Power Clean 3×5 @85% resting 2-3 minutes

  2. Push-Jerks 3×4 @85% resting 2-3 minutes

  3. Squat 3×6 @80% resting 2-3 minutes

    1. Bent over row 3×6-8

  4. Single Leg DL 3×8 resting 2-3 minutes

    1. Landmine press 3×10

    2. Accessory Abdominal work on landmine

2- Volume Day:

  1. Deadlift 3×8-10 resting 2-3 minutes

    1. Planks time

  2. Bench Press 3×10-12 resting 2-3 minutes

    1. Chin-ups 3x max

  3. Goblet Squat 3×15 resting 2-3 minutes

    1. Single arm cable row 3×8-10

  4. Nordic Hamstring Curls 3×3-5 resting 1-2minutes

    1. Close grip push-ups 3xmax

    2. Accessory Abdominal work

3- Metcon Day:

  1. Landmine Clean & Press 10 on 20 sec off x 3-5 rounds

  2. Thrusters 30-seconds 3-5 rounds resting 1-min

    1. Burpees 30-sec

  3. Shadowing wrestling 3-2-2 minutes resting 1-minute

    1. Barbell rollouts (abs)

  4. Jump rope 2-3 minutes 3-5 rounds

    1. Side planks

How to program for an athlete OFF-SEASON:

Start off w/ 2 volume days and a metcon day, and as they get closer to the season and phase into preseason (first transition) would gradually add more power in. The offseason is a great time to lose fat so it would be a great time to focus on this with added volume and HIIT metcon day type training.

Day 1: Volume (Posterior/Pull)

1. Hinge (I’d probably start trap bar deadlift): 3×12 (would progress to 4 after a couple weeks)

a. Abs

2. Chin Up: 3xmax

a. SL Deadlift: 3x8each

3. Bent Over Row: 3×12

a. Abs

4. Face Pulls: 3×15

a. Bicep Curls: 3×15

b. Finisher

Day 2: MetCon/HIIT (so many things you could do w/ this workout but here’s an example)

1. 5 min jumprope OR 1,000 jumprope taps as fast as possible

2. DB Tabata Circuit (20sec work/10 rest, emphasizing muscular endurance/glycolytic here) – 5 rounds

-Squat Thrusters

-Plank pass thru


-V Ups

-Side Lunges

3. Wall Balls: 3x30sec

a. Ball Slams: 3×15 reps

b. Ball Sit up/throw: 3×15 reps

4. Row Machine: 3x500m (If no row machine, could go jumprope again)

Day 3: Volume (Anterior/Push)

1. Squat (Would start goblet then progress): 3×12-15

a. Landmine Press: 3x10e

2. Bench (start DB progress BB): 3×10-12

a. abs

3. DB Reverse Lunge (or step Up): 3x10each

a. Cable Chest Flyes: 3×15

4. DB Front/Lateral Raise: 3x8each

a. Tricep ext: 3×15

b. Finisher

As the athletes get closer to the season, I would start implementing some power exercises. I’d keep the same format as far as days but would add power exercises in and adjust volume down accordingly. For example on posterior day I would start the day with some kind of clean (start more like sets of 5 around 80% and progress from there) and on the anterior day would add things like the push jerk/press and some explosive lower body exercises (Jumps). Would probably take a few sets and/or exercises from the prior program to account for less volume with the higher intensity.

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