How To Get Better at Wrestling At Home
By Rebecca Li
For some states, wrestling season has already begun and is well on its way. For the rest of us who live in states with high spread of the virus, our outlook on the season may be bleak as wrestling keeps getting pushed back. To make the matter worse, wrestling hits all the marks for being a highly infectious sport:
- Face to face ✓
- Indoor sport ✓
- High exertion ✓
- High Contact ✓
- Hard for the mask to stay on ✓
However, it’s not the time to despair. Opportunities will come, and it is up to us to make sure we are prepared for it. As someone who has not been to real wrestling practice or a match in 10 months, I like to share some strategies that keep me mentally motivated and in shape for wrestling.
Included in this article:
- Keep up the routine
- Strength training
- Interval training
- Grip Training
- Mindset- Stay Sane
- Watch some wrestling videos (or your old videos)
- Drill Wrestling move
- Get Creative
Keep Up the Routine
Last year in march, I was feeling quite the unmotivated to workout or eat healthy after the wrestling season was over and we were all in lockdown. I realized that it was critically important to keep a routine of exercising (especially since there might not be as much collective physical activities going on).
To keep yourself motivated, it is important to set a workout schedule and make it a routine to have workout time each week. At the very least, it is good even just to do some light active workouts that can help you feel better (especially if you feel sluggish from that time of the month).
No time better than now. In the off-season when you don’t have to cut weight, it is the best time to load up that weight and gain some muscle. There are many YouTube videos out there that just need a simple dumbbell or even no equipment to do some body weight workouts.
It may be hard to find equipment to workout with if you don’t want to go to the gym. You can try to contact your coach to see if you can borrow some equipment from the wrestling room or the school.
While you may not be conditioned for the wrestling season yet, it might be a good idea to do some interval training instead of cardio if your season is still pretty far away. This is because wrestling focuses on explosiveness and short periods of high burst energy.
Remember those sprints that the coach makes us do in the wrestling room? Well, there’s bound to be a reason why we do these so much (and I know no one really loves those sprints). They do simulate the explosive power that we would need when we go for a shot or try to hit a move.
Flexibility is an important part of wrestling. Not only will stretching prevent injuries, it can also help with your performance on the mat. There are many positions in wrestling that only a flexible person can get out of.
During the off season, it is a good time to do some stretches after workouts to improve your flexibility. Don’t worry if you can’t reason your toes or do a split the first time. Just keep trying. You have time on your hands to improve.
If you’re someone who has to sit through online classes and many Zoom meetings like me, you may find that it is hard to stay still in your chair for the whole day. A little hack that I found to be helpful was to keep a hand grip or squeezable ball near my desk. I am able to kill two birds in one stone by being able to have a thing to fidget with and train my grip and fingers at the same time.
Surprisingly, using it has allowed me to focus in class better because I can get distracted easily by going on my phone or zoning out. However, being able to squeeze something in my hands has allowed me to sit still for a longer period of time and actually pay attention (gasp!).
Mindset- Staying Sane
In your spare time, you can also do some mindset exercises, plan your goal for next season, and reflect on what you need to work on.
When I asked my coach what I should work on in the beginning of the quarantine, one of the things that he reminded me to do was to take care of my mental health and work on my mindset.
We might be a little more used to quarantine now that it’s been almost a year. Or, we could be feeling even more fatigued. Either way, remembering to stay sane is important for all wrestlers and non-wrestlers alike.
Watch Wrestling Videos
You can get better by watching your previous wrestling videos. I know, I know. You might cringe at your past mistakes. I do that whenever I watch my past matches too. However, we need to reflect on our mistakes in order to improve.
Other than our own wrestling video, you can also look at others wrestling videos on YouTube. For instance, I have been enjoying Cayden Henschel’s videos lately and DPS Breakdown’s technique explanation.
Drill Wrestling Moves
Even at home, you can still drill some wrestling moves to hit 10,000 reps and still have the muscle memory when you get back on the mat. For example, you can do some standups, sit-outs, shots, sprawls or whatever you have space for at your house.
You can get more creative at home with limited space, equipment, and wrestling partners. I found that just doing some stance-in-motion with my little brothers challenges me to keep my stance low. If there are workouts you cannot do because you are at home, think about modifying them or DIYing your own workouts.
Remember guys: have fun and keep your eyes towards your goal.
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