Wrestling is an old sport practiced in various forms all around the world that is known for its strong athletes. Many people get involved in it at school ages and have a lot of dedicated time each day for training. As a result, they develop skills and physical attributes that make them better and better at the sport.
Wrestlers are so strong because they practice strength and weight training, cardiovascular fitness, and good dietary habits. Another reason wrestlers are so strong is that strength helps them to succeed. Without strong muscles and proper technique, a wrestler is unlikely to win.
This article will discuss all the reasons wrestlers are so strong, including the necessary training and lifestyle choices a wrestler must maintain.
Why Wrestlers Are Such Strong Athletes
The main reason wrestlers are so strong is because they highly prioritize strength and conditioning. Wrestlers will spend time in the weight room as an integral part of their training. They engage in specific exercises rather than just lifting heavy stuff and hoping for the best, but weightlifting is an essential part of their success.
Because a big part of wrestling involves trying to move an opponent physically, brute strength is integral, but there are specific muscle groups wrestlers must heed. After all, muscular calves will only get you so far on the mat or in life.
One reason that wrestlers are known to be so strong is that they need full-body strength. Upper body strength gives the wrestler holding and throwing power. Lower body strength gives them the power and strength they need to pick up a move their opponents.
Many weightlifters live by the “Never Skip Leg Day” motto, and wrestlers would do well to heed this, too. Quads and hamstrings need attention, as do the glutes. With strength in these three spots, a wrestler will be able to put some driving power behind his grip. All the upper body strength in the world will do no good if, once the wrestler has his opponent in his grasp, he lacks the lower body power to propel the opponent in the direction he wants to send him.
Core and neck muscles get attention, too. The weight training a wrestler undertakes must include these muscle groups because a strong core contributes to and enhances the other groups’ work. The neck muscles need the power to keep the wrestler’s head in the right position throughout a match. Not to mention helping the wrestler avoid injures.
Because wrestling is such a physically demanding sport, wrestlers need to become strong all over. Sure they might not be trying to get bulging biceps just for the look but a wrestler needs their whole body to be as strong as possible while staying lean.
Wrestlers Need Strong Grips
Many people have shaken hands with someone with a firm grip and, somewhere in the back of their mind, thought something like, “Wow, that dude is strong.” Grip strength can convey a message, especially when a wrestler is lining up, feels a powerful grip on him from his opponent, and realizes he’s up against someone powerful.
Beyond psychological benefits, simply being able to hold onto an opponent is important. In something like jiu-jitsu, where holding onto an opponent’s clothing or gi is part of the technique, maintaining that grip for an extended period is crucial to success. This is very important for wrestlers as well. Wrestlers rely heavily on having strong grip strength to control their opponents.
Getting your grip strength where it needs to be takes work, like anything, and there are tools outside of the weight room to help with this. But the way you lift weights can also impact a wrestler’s grip strength as well. Try and avoid using wrist wraps when doing compound lifts like deadlifts and barbell rows.
Another great way to increase grip strength is to take the same path many rock climbers do, using hang boards. Wrestlers often have exceptional grip strength because of this kind of exercise focused on it and because they know they need it to win their matches.
Wrestlers Take Nutrition Seriously
No matter how much time a wrestler spends on the mat, in the weight room, or on the hanging board, he is putting himself at a disadvantage if he is not eating well. Its hard for a wrestler to get strong with a poor diet. There are many diets different people swear by for different results, but the basics always apply.
A healthy diet includes:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and legumes
- Plenty of water
- Lots of good protein
A healthy diet does best when it does not include:
- Junk food
- Processed Foods
- Empty calories
Wrestlers Have Strong Cardiovascular Systems
Another strength a successful wrestler has is in his cardiovascular fitness. Wrestling matches last a few minutes, but they are intense minutes, during which he will ask his body for some extreme power and endurance.
Jogging for, say, six minutes may not be that difficult, but chasing (or being chased by) an opponent and then grappling with him requires lots of oxygenated blood to be moved through your system. Once your cardiovascular system stops being able to keep up, you can’t go much harder for much longer.
Cardio training– whether it’s jogging, jumping rope, doing burpees, or any other form of good cardio– will build endurance and stamina that a wrestler must have to keep up with his opponent, who will have similar levels of cardio training under his belt.
Wrestling Requires Mental Strength
When you say someone is strong, you usually aren’t talking about their mind, but mental strength is just as important. Wrestlers cultivate this mental strength by engaging in disciplined regimens of training, which requires a work ethic and high concentration levels.
There are also many rules and holds and techniques that a wrestler must know and know well. Keeping all that straight requires mental acuity because forgetting a rule can result in a loss that has nothing to do with being physically bested by an opponent. He must be able to call to mind all the information he has access to prevail; It does a wrestler no good to be late in remembering a technique for escaping from an opponent.
Maintaining Strength Helps Prevent Wrestling Injuries
Another reason wrestlers must be strong is that wrestling is hard on the body. Even if you win every match, you’re going to spend time putting stress and strain on parts of your body. Strength training will go a long way to keeping you injury-free because when the muscles around a joint are strong, that joint is less likely to be forced to move in a direction it’s not designed to go. That translates to less chance of an injury.
In fact, Dr. Bert Mandelbaum of the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute published a study in 2008 in which female soccer players who participated in specific strength training saw an 88% drop in career-threatening injuries to their anterior cruciate ligaments. Simply strengthening the surrounding muscles prevented those injuries.
Strong Wrestlers Have an Edge Over Opponents
Most people familiar with wrestling are aware of weight classes. No two wrestlers will face off in scholastic or Olympic wrestling unless they are closely matched in weight. The idea is that the winning wrestler will not be the bigger one, but rather the one who is better at the holds, throws, and other techniques. However, strength is a variable the wrestler has in his control. The stronger wrestler simply has a better chance than the weaker one.
Two short answers come up when someone asks why wrestlers are so strong. Number one is that they train to make themselves that way. They work hard because wrestling is demanding. The other answer is that they are so strong because it allows them to excel. After all, wrestling is one of the toughest sports in the world.
Wrestlers and their coaches know the value of strength in their discipline, so they train accordingly. A wrestler who knows all the tricks in the world will be no threat to his opponent if he is vastly outmatched in strength. Wrestlers are strong because that’s part of wrestling.