GRIPMASTER EXERCIZERIf you want to improve as a wrestler, then you have to commit to training all year round. This is especially important in the spring and summer months when you might be tempted to just sleep in or hang out with friends instead of running or lifting. But the more you let yourself fall out of shape during the offseason, the longer it will take to get back into wrestling form once official practices resume.

Offseason training works best when you have a specific plan of action. While putting on your wrestling gear, calling a teammate, and practicing random takedowns moves and defensive tactics is better than nothing, those sessions will only get you so far. For your workouts to be most effective, follow these tips:

Set goals

Gaining a few pounds of muscle so you can wrestle in a higher weight class next season, learning new tie-ups, or improving escapes and counters are all concrete goals that can be attained in a single offseason.

Build endurance every day

Prolonged running (two miles or more) is a great way to increase endurance. Adding hills and intervals to the equation will make you faster and stronger, too.

Go heavy on the weights

Lower repetitions of heavier weights will help you develop the strength you need without gaining mass that you might not want.

Strengthen your core

A strong core helps stabilize your body when grappling with, lifting, and pinning your opponent. Planks, deadlifts, lunges, presses, and squats are all great for the core.

It’s easy to hit the weight room and wrestling mat during the season when the coach and your teammates are there to motivate you to attend every practice. But it’s a whole different story in the spring and summer when you have only yourself to rely on. Following a specific program like the one outlined above can help make your offseason training more productive and rewarding, so don’t let these months go to waste.