Wrestling For Dummies
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Getting and keeping your body in the best condition possible can help you reach your full potential as a wrestler. If you’re in shape and physically fit, you can better handle moves your opponent may try on you during a match. Here are some fundamental aspects of fitness and wellness that can help you stay fit during your wrestling season:

  • Rest: Getting plenty of good-quality rest is critical to your success on the mat. Take at least one day off a week during the season, and get 8 hours of sleep every night. Practices and training shouldn’t last more than 150 minutes during the season.

  • Disease prevention: Closely check your skin every day for discoloration, swelling, areas of tenderness, and changes in texture. Scrub your body with antibacterial soap and wash your practice gear daily. Never share shirts, shorts, towels, or headgear with teammates. Impetigo, herpes, and ringworm are just a few of the skin diseases common to wrestlers that you can prevent by following these simple steps.

  • Endurance: All wrestlers need to build their endurance if they want to be successful; in other words, you need to build your heart’s capacity for maintaining intense levels of exercise over time. To be ready for competition, you need to be able to run or ride an exercise bike continuously at moderate intensity for 40 minutes.

  • Strength training: You and your coach need to develop training programs that increase the maximum amount of force your muscles can exert against resistance. Your muscles get stronger when you experience momentary muscular failure (the point at which you can’t accomplish any more repetitions of an exercise). The point of momentary muscular failure should occur on the 11th or 12th repetition of an exercise in the 2nd and 3rd set of a 3-set/12-repetition strength building plan. Some great fundamental strength training exercises include the bench press, shoulder press, triceps extensions, upright rows, pull-ups, leg extensions, leg curls, and arm curls.

  • Flexibility: To become an agile wrestler with quick feet, you need to increase the ability of your muscles and joints to move through their full range of motion. You can develop your flexibility by doing light dynamic loosening exercises followed by stretching exercises before and after each practice. Dynamic loosening exercises include lunges, walking toe touches, high-knee jogging, lateral jogging, carioca jogging, and arm circles. As for stretching, focus on stretching the main muscle groups (hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back, shoulders, gluteal muscles, and neck); hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

  • Nutrition: You need to understand how carbohydrates, proteins, and fats affect your wrestling ability and training during exercise, after exercise, and before exercise. While the dietary needs of each athlete depend on a variety of factors, including age and gender, a good rule of thumb is to try to eat a diet consisting of 50 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, and 20 percent fats.

  • Hydration: Approximately 75 percent of your body is water. Because of the weight classifications in wrestling, you need to make sure you get the right amount of fluids before, during, and after exercise. Drink 2 to 3 cups of water four hours prior to exercise, 2 cups two hours before exercise, 2 cups 30 minutes before exercise and 1/2 cup of water every 15 minutes during exercise. After exercise, drink 2 cups of water for each pound lost during exercise.

  • Concussion: A head injury is a brain injury. So make sure to have a medical professional check you out right away after you suffer any type of head injury. Your doctor must also clear you before you can take to the mat again.

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Henry Cejudo won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In so doing, he became the youngest American — at the age of 20 — to ever win a gold medal in wrestling.

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