With spring lifting starting in earnest next week, I thought it would be a great idea to let you all in on the “why’s, what’s, and how’s” of our program.  I think there’s a lot of excitement on the team about getting stronger; a lot of Capo wrestlers have expressed a goal of improving in the strength area.  This is good, and hopefully you’ll get a little farther in that endeavor with the proper understanding.  No matter what your fitness goals are for the spring, knowing where we’re going and why will help.

First, you all have heard me talk a lot about Crossfit, and that our lifting program is patterned after that fitness philosophy, but I have only communicated in part why we’re adopting that outlook.  Actually, we are only adopting the C.F philosophy in part.  I’m no Crossfit zealot, and I know there’s more than one way to skin a cat, if you catch my drift.  C.F is good for some things.  For example, it is a great method for getting in ridiculously good shape.  However, its primary aim is for “general physical preparedness.”  Emphasis on the “general” part.  That means that the age ol’ phrase “jack of all trades, master at none” applies here, and we need you guys to be “masters” at some aspects of athleticism that are big in wrestling.  C.F will get you part of the way, but in order to get you all the way in these areas, we need to tweak the program a bit. 

One of those areas is strength.  To get strong, in a nutshell, you simply need to be lifting heavy stuff.  There are plenty of strength programs out there that are proven to work: Starting Strength, Westside Barbell, the Burgener Method, Wendler Lifting…the list goes on.  We need to focus on strength to get stronger.  Doing only Crossfit style workouts that often feature lifting (relatively) lighter weights for many reps (though in some workouts, the weight is quite heavy) won’t get us there.

This is why, if you notice, our workouts have 2 components: a strength part in the beginning, and a “met-con” Crossfit style part near the end.  This gives us the best of both worlds.  While the strength part helps us get stronger, the met-con part has the following benefits:

1) It builds mental toughness.  I have noted many times that this continues to be our achilles heel, and it must change.  Our trip out to Ontario for CIF showed that in spades: those guys were tough.  Us, not so much.  Doing these met-con workouts builds mental toughness in you because you get quite used to the feel of, well, dying.  Not literally, of course, but the workouts are so taxing that you often feel like quitting or giving up.  I feel that way daily when I do my workouts.  The bar, which contains relatively light weight, suddenly feels like a million pounds, and you have to pick it up 30, 40, 50  more times.  That is a daunting task when your lungs are on fire, sweat is in your eyes, your arms feel like noodles, and your back is locked up.  Pushing through that discomfort makes you tough.  It is a  daily challenge and you often (at least this is the case with me) doubt you can get through it, so you get used to meeting challenges and doubts head on. 

Remember, life is a habit.

2) It is competitive.  Most of the workouts feature either getting the work done as quickly as possible, or doing as many reps as possible in a given amount of time.  Either way, you can compete against fellow teammates.  This is good. And this is fun.

3) Speaking of fun, that’s another characteristic of these workouts.  Despite the fact that you always feel like you’re on the brink of death, somehow, being on the brink of death is a blast.  The met-con portion of the workout is never the same…it is constantly varying, so not only does that keep your body constantly adapting, but it also keeps the monotony bug away.  This functions as powerful motivation to keep entering the weightroom.

4) As previously mentioned, it builds a well-rounded athlete.  The movements required of you and the tasks asked of you hit many domains of fitness.  Not just cardio vascular ability or physical strength, but power, speed, agility, and flexibility too.  Each one of those is necessary to the physical success of a wrestler.  Furthermore, it hits more than one at once.  Why just go for one when you get get them all in a quick amount of time?

5) It builds team camraderie.  In these workouts, it is necessary for everyone to cheer each other on.  Sometimes you need that extra kick in the rear to keep picking up that bar.  Plus, for some reason, “suffering” together forges a powerful bond. 

So there you have it.  Out of all those benefits outlined, 1) is the most important for us at this time.  I have confidence that if followed consistently, our weight workouts will bring us immense gains in areas that need much improvement.

  1. ED CORDI says:

    I LOVE this Coach…the guys must habitually push themselves harder than they would be pushed in their toughest matches, (along with, of course, proper rest and nutrition), so when they’re in those tough matches against those mean studs, they aren’t intimidated because they’re weaker or tired…..losing from lack of conditioning sucks….losing for ANY reason sucks…

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